Builders' Forum Archives
Re: Chesapeake 16 Rudder
Posted by Chris on Jul 8, 2007
Ian, I'm sure you will find the rudder useful in any case, and it will look fine. Kayakers tend to fall into 2 camps on this subject. Many, who view themselves as purists, would never have one. They would advocate that if one learns to paddle properly and learn all the corrective strokes, a rudder is not necessary. They may accept a small retractable skeg at the most. Others say it would be crazy to spend hours making corrective strokes on a long crossing when a rudder would do the work. I understand it also depends on where you are from. For example, I have heard that in the UK you will see very few kayaks with rudders, while in the US and Canada, it is quite the opposite. It also depends on the boat and how it handles. Some are strongly affected by wind and are just not enjoyable without a rudder. If you look at the CH16 hull you will no doubt remark how steeply the stern enters the water. Other boats have much more tapered stern entry. This extension of the keel on the Ches acts a lot like a skeg, giving great tracking characteristics; hence less need for rudder. As for my experience in big water, it is rather limited and largely confined to the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay). I have paddled in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, but the seas were not very steep (maybe 1 to 2 ft). Last summer in northern Georgian Bay I would guess we were out one day in 4 footers fully loaded. Because the Ches has nice forward volume, it takes the waves really well without the bow digging in a lot. Even in these conditions the deck remained relavitely dry compared to my sleaker companion boats. I would add that I believe this helps the Ches move quickly through the water. While by no means the stongest paddler in the group on this particular trip, I found myself setting the pace and regularly having to wait (much to the surprise of my campanions). In all conditions and directions relative to the wind, my boat pretty much goes where I point her. In cross and following seas, I am correcting, but not where it becomes tiresome. On surfing, taking 4 foot swells on the stern can give you a hell of a ride if you can keep her pointed downwind. Leaning and correcting on the crests (rather than in the troughs) is relatively easy, but you really have to focus. My ruddered campainions certainly did not work as hard at steering in those conditions, but rudders still tended to pop out of the water as the waves crested, causing them to want to broach just the same.
In Response to: Re: Chesapeake 16 Rudder by Ian Colledge on Jul 8, 2007