How important is a rudder on a kayak?
A rudder gives you the ability to ‘crab’ to the wind, meaning that you turn the rudder to counter the winds push on the kayak. This allows you to paddle with normal strokes versus multiple strokes on one side of the kayak to correct for the wind thereby allowing you to maintain your momentum, making you more efficient.
How much does a rudder help a kayak?
A rudder works by creating drag. When kept straight, like a skeg, it ensures that the stern of the kayak will want to move slower than the bow, keeping you from “fish tailing.” The rudder also turns the kayak when the blade pivots to one side.
How do I make my kayak track straight?
Deploy the skeg or rudder when winds are pushing the kayak from the rear. Tail winds push the kayak around, making it hard to track and stay in a straight line. Push the rudder slightly to the opposite side the kayak is being blown. Use slight paddle strokes opposite the rudder to maintain an even track on the water.
How long should a kayak rudder be?
In your case you only need a flat rudder. Something about 4″ wide and that extends into the water 7″ or so would work fine. That would probably mean 3 to 4 inches below the bottom of the boat.