Smart Track Rudder Install

I have not installed my deck yet. I am curious about running the rudder cables before the deck gets installed. I see pictures in the CLC product catalog that show the cables coming through the rear deck in plastic sleeves. I image that the cables are run from the foot braces high and inside the kayak, through holes drilled on each side of the aft bulkhead and after the hatch is cut, they are fitted through holes drilled in the rear deck. I also image that the cable coming through the rear deck in the middle of the deck that raises and lowers the rudder can be attched to the top (inside) of the rear deck as long as it does not take a sharp turn.

Is this correct? Are there better options? Are there cockpit considerations that I should be aware of? Do you worry about the holes in the deck?

Thanks for the help!


4 replies:

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RE: Smart Track Rudder Install

black plastic cables (I think you call them ‘sleeves’)

RE: Smart Track Rudder Install

Sorry about the above mis-posts!   Aaarrrggghhhhhh!


I have fitted the excellent SmartTrack rudder system to my recently-completed (March) Chesapeake 17LT, and it is about to be transferred to my almost-completed Shearwater 17S&G.   (If you wonder why I don’t just buy another SmartTrack, by the time I’ve converted my Aussie dollars to US, and added far too much for shipping, I’m looking at well over AUD$400, which is a lot for a retiree like me!)

   But onto your question.   On the Ches I drilled holes into the deck about 20” from the stern, and threaded the black plastic cables (I think you call them ‘sleeves’) through the aft bulkhead before fixing deck to hull (the craft does not have any deck hatches).   In your case you can do the whole job through the hatches once the deck is fitted.   The cables run from the cockpit through the aft bulkhead and inside the hull, loosely held with a wire twist or zip-tie to the sheer-clamp at a couple of points along the under-deck space just to keep them straight and to avoid them dragging on the hull bottom.      You describe perfectly in your third sentence the in-cockpit arrangements as I did them.   In addition, inside the cockpit I secured each length of cable to the hull side panel between the end of the slide and the bulkhead with 2 (on each side) of the plastic clips supplied, just so as to avoid snagging the cables as I enter and exit.   The deck holes need to be at a very shallow angle as the cable or sleeve supplied is extremely stiff and doesn’t like to bend at all sharply.   Therefore the exit holes are more like elongated slots than simple more-or-less round holes – I simply made the slots with a rat-tail file after drilling the holes.   Make them 3½” apart at the deck as this is the width of the rudder assembly holes where you will swage the ends of the wires.      I improved the look and efficiency of the entire cable-exiting area by making some ‘shrouds’, which sit over each hole.   These look like a long cone cut in half down the middle, with a routered cable recess along the bottom flat surface that’s epoxied to the deck later.   Leave the cable coming about ¼” past the aft end of the shroud.      These shrouds are simply 6” or so lengths of broom handle cut at an angle of about 8:1 (like scarfs), through which the cables run at that very shallow angle from inside the hull.   The control wires can be easily threaded through the cables after the deck is on.   The shrouds were then epoxied and varnished with the deck and look pretty good, if I say so myself – streamlined and all that!   I will be repeating all this exactly the same on the new Shearwater.   I have seen other (simpler) arrangements, where the cable exits the deck through a simple hole and is bent downwards through a small plastic, wood, or metal fairlead, which holds its end in place.   Something is necessary to hold down the very stiff plastic cables – my solution, this one, or others – or they will want to point skywards all the time!   The fit between the outer cable and the inner control wire is pretty snug, so no need to worry about any large amount of water entering (unless you plan to operate as a submarine!) – any small amount that does enter will simply end up inside the cockpit.   So far as the rudder uphaul line is concerned, on the Ches I ran this at an angle across the top of the deck from beside the cockpit, with only one aft fairlead just in front of the rudder assembly to straighten the line there – it works perfectly.   But for neatness, in the Shearwater I will also be running this rudder uphaul line through a cable under the deck, also through a shroud, all exactly as above.   Finally, if you care to take a look at some photos of my craft under the ‘Sneak Peek’ heading on pages 101 – 150 of this Forum (thanks again, K-K!) you may get some idea of the above.   Enjoy the experience!      Wordsmith 


ps - if this reply comes out all as one long sentence, and not as typed, blame the system, not the writer please!   Another aarrrggghhhhh!

RE: Smart Track Rudder Install

Thank you very much for the detailed help! I'll definitely use this information today! I am very gratefull for your kind help.

That is a gorgeous kayak in your post "Sneek Peak".

Thank you. WCGW

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