I just bought a 16’ Old Town Loon without a rudder. I usually paddle solo in a CLC 17 but needed a tandem so that my wife and some rarely-paddling friends could go on longer trips with me. Took the “Loon” out for a test drive this AM and to me the tracking is pitiful. Long term solution will be to add a rudder. However, I have two relatives traveling long distance in two days for an all day paddle trip and I hate to have them spend the day trying to steer this thing. So…What if I were to attach a non-moveable rudder just for the day. I know this might make turning more difficult but would it help with the tracking issue? And if so, how large should it be?
Two things you could do
If the boat already has a rudder mount on it, you could make a non-moveable one out of plastic or thin plywood, which would actually qualify as a skeg.
Or, you could make a strap-on skeg, like the one Feathercraft sells. Check out their website to see what I mean.
Either way, I wouldn’t go too large, because the effect on tracking could be more than you want. The rudder style one should be the size of a regular sea kayak rudder, and the skeg, I wouldn’t start any more than 3 inches wide from the bottom of the boat. But in the end, the amount of effect is up to you.
Have fun either way!
you said it’s a tandem…
maybe it would track better with 2 people paddling? I don’t have any experience with tandems, but just a thought.
Thanks for the reassurance. I have fabricated a non-movable rudder from thin wood and hinged it so I can lift it up when in shallow water. The tracking seemed worse when I was in front with the wife in back. Perhaps an issue with weight distribution? Haven’t tried paddling it solo yet.