NAVIGATOR RUDDER SYSTEM (long blade design) - DIY Kit
This long blade design has a significant portion of the blade suspended below the kayak keel. As with all long blade rudders this can add drag and snagging issues, but the design can be useful for lightly laden kayaks (e.g. light weight paddlers) or those trimmed nose heavy (e.g. a full size live bait tank installed at the front of the cockpit). In these situations short rudder blade designs may be less efficient. The single line up-haul for retracting the rudder in shallow water is simple and less cluttered than traditional systems. It’s also brilliant for single-handed operation when clearing weeds etc.
- Now with 'Toe Tab' foot controls for superior control.
- The long 'Navigator' blade suits smaller paddlers on lightly laden Viking Profish kayaks.
- Not recommended for the Profish GT (there's little room for the up-haul to operate correctly).
- For installation instructions go to the 'How To' section.
- A rudder system will make your kayak much easier to manage in windy conditions
For kayaks with rudder tubes already fitted click here for an installation guide
For the final step of the long blade rudder installation process click here for a guide to installing the up-haul mechanism
For kayaks without rudder tubes start with the rudder tube installation guide (click here) before proceeding with the above instructions
Short rudder blade or long – which should I choose?
The question of which rudder blade concept is better: the short Angler style or the longer KS system has created plenty of discussion. Unfortunately there's often more to this simple seeming question than many realize.
Here are a series of bullet points based on my test paddling over the years that will hopefully help:
1. The Profish Reload has been designed with a full length keel strip and a swept back stern to assist with tracking, making the kayak comparatively easy to control without a rudder if needed. This might be by choice (e.g. kayaking from bigger mother ships where rudders can cause havoc on deck) or by accident (e.g. if a rudder has been damaged when on remote expedition - I've been in this situation myself and had no problems completing the rest of the trip without a rudder on the Reload).
2. The short Angler rudder blade offers adequate turning capability - the slower turn rate sometimes commented on is more a function of the keel and stern of the Reload resisting the turn than the shortness of the Angler rudder blade. Standard turn testing on a neutrally trimmed Reload with a normal weight paddler and fishing tackle load showed similar turn radius's and rates of turn for both blade styles unless the long blade was made excessively long (600mm or longer)
3. The short Angler rudder blade offers a number of benefits:
- requires no up haul mechanism
- easy to operate in weed / lily pad / kelp / shallow water areas without snagging or requiring lifting from the water. This is significant as it allows us to use a rudder in conditions where paddle blade control and railing the kayak may not provide the assistance needed
- since the blade rides in the turbulence at the stern of the kayak when in the neutral position it adds no significant drag, especially valuable when covering long distance trolling lures at speed. The long blade rudder designs measurably slow a kayak, especially when the paddler is already using considerable effort to overcome the drag of diving lures
4. The long blade offers benefits too:
- may work better for smaller/lighter paddlers, especially those paddling an unladen kayak in windy conditions
- the long blade definitely works better for those with their kayak trimmed bow-down e.g. at the beginning of the day with gear loaded in the bow but no fish yet added to the stern well. This is more a function of kayak trim than rudder performance, most commonly seen with using a full sized Tackle Pod (not the Twin Pod) as a live bait tank for game fish baits - this adds considerable weight in front of the paddler and lifts the rear of the kayak
There's much more that could be added to the discussion, but hopefully this gives an insight into my thought processes with the designs of both the Reload and the short bladed rudder system. The key is that everything kayaking is about working compromises, whether it's hull shape, waterline length, paddle type, rudder length, etc., etc. I find I prefer the short blade design for its simplicity, that I can use it when in kelp zones or hunting weed banks, and that it doesn't add drag during some of the sometimes considerable distances I cover each day.