rudder woes

I have recently bought a kayak that came equipped with a Feathercraft rudder, probably circa 1998, since that is when the kayak was made. Dearly love this kayak, and she is nimble and fast without the rudder, very easy to turn with a slight weight change, yet still tracks quite nicely. Still, thought I should give the rudder a go to see what its all about. Up until now, have never used a rudder since my other boats have either had nothing or had a skeg. Now to my problem: I cannot believe the strength it takes to deploy the rudder. And when it goes down, whoa, better have your fingers out of the way. Same with coming up. (Obviously, this was done while on set up blocks, not in the water.) Am I that weak? Am I too tentative? Right now I am contemplating having the old metal pegs and the rudder system replaced this winter, but would that fix my problem? Or is it me that needs to be fixed? Thoughts, even snarky ones, are appreciated. Thanks.

That IS a GOOD Way
to approach it! :slight_smile:

" Or is it me that needs to be fixed? Thoughts, even snarky ones, are appreciated. Thanks."

No suggestions but a prop to you for good humor. :slight_smile:

Just leave it or
If you really love the boat , and are going to keep it forever, have it removed. If you think you may sell or trade it someday, leave on the boat., future owner may want it, if it came with the boat. It will paddle the same, be retracted, or removed, all you would gain would be a loss of a pound or two of weight if you car top it. As for the amount of effort required, system might just need a good cleaning or possible component replacement. Tkamd

2nd on cleaning it up.
It’s unlikely that you need to do anything but clean it up and make sure everything is in proper working order. Rudder systems are very simple. Follow the lines from the deck to the rudder. Anything holding up the lines? Is the rudder blade rotating freely?

Don’t overcomplicate it. As an example, a carabiner on a tow line can get frozen up pretty easily when toted along in the ocean regularly. Plop it in a glass of water for a bit until you can start to move it. Start squeezing it open, and snapping it closed a number of times. In very little time with no chemicals and nothing but a fresh water rinse, it’s as good as new.