So, Whilst researching and saving, I've also been renting kayaks to spend time on water, and work on technique (to the degree that you can work on technique in a sit on top, which isn't much, but my forward stroke is getting better)
Yesterday I went from messing about on shore to paddling out to a platform 3nm off shore, (with friends, buddy boated, handheld vhf just in case, etc). The waves were in the 1-2 ft range, and the temps were in the low 70's, with warm water. The marine layer burnt off early, leaving us with almost perfect conditions all around. It was a great first paddle out in the open ocean. We got there just in time to watch the sailboat races circling the platform, so, staying out of the way, but still within earshot, I got to answer the sailers questions about where I paddled from etc. It was a bit of an ego boost. That being said, by the time I got back in, I was sick and tired of dealing with all the waves and current both at a near 45 degree angle to my intended course both ways. It consistantly pushed my bow off going out, and then pushed my stern off coming back. These are the prevailing currents in my area, and I seldom see them as calm as they were today. I can only imagine the entire situation magnified greatly under "normal" circumstances, with larger waves and more wind.
My left arm is far worse off than my right, from all the sweeping turns and the edging to the degree that it can be done in a SOT has left me feeling rather unsymetrical.
Is a rudder the magical cure which will make this all a non-issue?
Will just a skeg do it?
Should I put my boat together first to see if it will magically track through these type of conditions without me needing to attach any additional doodads.
Should I do something like setting the footbraces up to work with a rudder, but not getting an actual rudder untill I've tested the boat, but then, if I do decide to go with a rudder, I will have already done the tough work?