surfski rudder line and pedal mods

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #8944 by Bill L
A Rudder Line Adjustment and Pedal Centering Method

pics: picasaweb.google.com/1147859305585606869...dderLineAndPedalMods

I have two Think surfskis, an Evo and a Legend, and, while I like the spectra rudder line used on them, I have never been a fan of the adjustment mechanism for it. It is basically a plastic turnbuckle that only allows “micro” adjustments. While it is lightweight,durable, and does the job, it takes a bit of time to adjust the pedals when moving to a new position so as to get the rudder straight. Anything that requires a “macro” adjustment, like changing a rudder, is a pain as you go back and forth between tying knots at the rudder and adjusting the turnbuckle up front.

In the new method, each pedal has an independent adjustment cleat. I move the pedals to a new position, cinch the line on the cleat, and wrap up the excess on two protruding mounting screws. This combined with the adjustable bungee pedal centering method makes the steering system seem more in control.

Back at the rudder, I tied bowlines on the spectra and use zip-ties to attach to the yoke - no more knot-tying, just a snip of existing zip-tie and replace with a new one when changing a rudder. On another topic, the plastic suction cup with the ring (secured in place with silicone adhesive) is where I would attach a small bungee to the yoke to allow steerage in the case of a rudder line break.

I have used the system for over 100 hours now in all conditions. The pedals never flop around as they formerly did. In terms of performance, as there is some increasing resistance as I push on a pedal and thus some positive feedback, I think the system helps to keep me from over-steering when on a big wave in a broach situation. The natural inclination is to push hard on a pedal to correct the potential broach; however, pushing too hard on the pedal puts the rudder into a stall, slows the boat, and then makes the broach even more likely.

I am in process of converting my Stellar SES to the same scheme, using the same spectra line that Think uses (Q-power spectra) - It has less stretch than the stock rudder line (dyneema) that Stellar uses. While synthetics will never be as tight as a steel cable, I prefer them as while you can usually see abrasion on a synthetic and know when to change it, stainless steel cable can suffer from corrosion that is not easily seen.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by Bill L.

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12 years 2 months ago #8946 by cdo
Hi Bill,

I must admit I don't get the need for this at all. In the third photo you state you used cable ties so no more undoing knots to change rudders. I change the rudders on my Thinks on average about twice a week and I have never undone the knots on the rudder bar to do so. I suspect you alter paddlers often (one being tall the other short)? Otherwise I can alter the Think pedal setup via the microadjustment in under a minute.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #8948 by cdo
Just to add to my reply above: in the case of a rudder line breakage, then the Thinks (like most ski's) have a bungee storage system behind the seat. If need be you can simply undo one knot, pull this bungee line out, tie a large bowline in it, place the bowline loop around the rear point of the ski, tension as required and tie off onto the broken line hanging from the rudder bar (tie bowline loop also on remaining rudder line to achieve this). If unlucky enough to have the line break right at the rudder bar then I carry a strong cable tie to go in the existing bar holes to tension the bungee on. This approach provides a potential 'get out of trouble for free' without having to modify anything nor needing to carry anything except a cable tie.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by cdo. Reason: typos

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12 years 2 months ago #8952 by Dicko
cdo, what a brilliant idea. Never thought of simply pulling out the line. Shame my vault doesn't have the bungy cord. Mind you, it has stainless steel rudder cables so hopefully line breakage isn't a concern.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #8957 by Bill L

cdo wrote: In the third photo you state you used cable ties so no more undoing knots to change rudders. I change the rudders on my Thinks on average about twice a week and I have never undone the knots on the rudder bar to do so. I suspect you alter paddlers often (one being tall the other short)? Otherwise I can alter the Think pedal setup via the microadjustment in under a minute.


You are correct - it was developed initially to allow quicker adjustment for different paddlers. But also, several of my rudders have different yokes (earlier think boats had some different yokes) which would force me to tie a knot as I can't just simply keep the same yoke in place. I can also now interchange my think and stellar rudders which have different yokes.

The other issue you bring up is the line breakage issue, which happily has gotten a lot of attention in these forums recently. While I have been fortunate enough not to have a line break at sea, if it does happen I would expect it to do so in heavy seas when the equipment is being stressed to the max. While I agree with your method if it works for you, I have practiced my repair at sea and satisfied myself that, with the small bungee I carry, I can make the repair with one hand in breaking seas at 6 foot (2 m), when it is difficult to hold onto the boat, let alone work on it (I forget who said it first, but the expression about "working on a ski in heavy seas is like holding onto a bar of soap" comes to mind).

Regards,
Bill
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by Bill L.

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12 years 2 months ago #8970 by cdo
Thanks Bill,

Now I understand the issue......the older rudder bar vs the new bar. Does the Think rudder shaft fit the Stellars?
I agree with you about how hard it is to work on a ski in large waves....at least some manufactures (Think etc.) have a sensible handle right near the end of their ski to aid the process and personlly I think a body leash (not a leg leash) is a must.
The Q-power spectra is a great product and by its ratings it could be 1/2 frayed and still in theory have excess reserve capacity in a ski steering application.

Cheers

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12 years 2 months ago #8977 by Bill L
cdo

yes, the think and stellar rudder shafts are the same diameter, albeit with slightly different shaft heights sticking out when they are in the yoke compartment. The steller(SES) has a yoke compartment with less height, so the plastic cover will not fit on when using a think rudder, but I am working on some alternate type of cover to use when using the think rudder.

And I am in total agreement about some type of body leash also. I use a PFD to paddle leash, and then a paddle to ski leash. Early in my "learning phase"(which of course never ends), I was out in my evo in 6-8 foot seas and 20-25 knot winds and fell out on the downwind side. As the wind was strong enough that I could not get to the upwind side of the ski to remount, I ducked under and flipped the ski over my head to position myself on the upwind side. As I did so, I must have been up on the crest of a wave as the ski was pulled from my slippery grip and started tumbling away. While I had mentally “trained” myself previously to never let go of my paddle, it happened anyway. Had I not been attached to the boat it would have kept going and I would have had to swim home, and who knows where the boat was going.

I have a few hundred hours on each of the Q-power lines on my skis, and I am somewhat amazed at how well it has held up. I am changing some now, not because they show any appreciable wear, just because I know nothing lasts forever.

Bill

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