Kayak Rudder Install

Kayak Rudder Install

This is how you install a rudder on a sit on top kayak. The model we use in pics is the Gremlin 9X “Pocket Rocket” fishing kayak by Dream Kayaks. For more info on this excellent kayak click the image below.

To get a kayak rudder kit from Dream Kayaks click here.


Step 1

Drill two holes near rudder for the two rudder cords.

I found a 5mm hole was a good tight fit for the sleeves we use.

Step 2

OK so this is kind of two or three steps here.

First attach bracket to back end of kayak using two bolts. (If not Gremlin 9X Kayak ensure there is a mount for rudder).

Force protective sleeves into the holes drilled in Step 1. They must be tight. Then pass the rudder cords through the sleeves. Be sure you have at least a metre or so of rudder cord inside the kayak hull once done.

Step 3

Pop on the rudder module.

There is usually a protective spacer between the kayak and the rudder module.

Step 4

Secure the rudder pin with a split pin.

Step 5

This one is very important. In this step we grab the rudder cord inside the hull and get the cord ready to feed it through to the foot pedals.

Make sure the cord is passing through the hull in a straight line, without tangling or detouring around scupper columns or flush mount rod holders.

This is to minimise friction in the rudder system and therefore maximise responsiveness.

TIP: If you can’t get your head in there take pics with your phone using the flash.

Step 6

Drill exit holes for the cords, close to the foot control pedals.

For the sleeve we use a 5.5mm hole is good. Otherwise use something about half a mm smaller than the sleeve diameter so its tight. Make sure the cords are not going to get in the way once done. Make sure the position of the exit holes allows the rudder cord to remain in a straight line (or nearly) thus adding minimal friction.

Step 7

Jam the sleeve into the hole then open the hatch and grab the cord, and feed it through the sleeve and hole you just drilled in Step 6.

Step 8

Put an extra bolt in to secure the foot pedals more strongly.

In the Gremlin this means taking off the pedal locking rod so you can access the bolt hole in the main pedal frame.

I use a bolt with nut and washer on the Gremlin – because the big hatch allows me to get my hands behind the drill hole. Secure the bolt tightly.

This third bolt avoids a situation where the foot pedals feel flimsy.

Step 9

Burn the end of the cord so it doesn’t fray.

Resulting fumes will be toxic so wear a protective mask and ensure excellent ventilation.

Step 10

Run the cord through the foot pedal in an S shape.

The cord enters at the top and exits at the bottom after following an S shape.

Step 11

Then pass the cord through the bottom hole in the end of the foot pedal bracket.

Then it comes back in through the top hole and you tie it off. I use a simple slip knot but make sure you grab the loose end so the knot doesn’t slip when you push the pedal.

Make sure the cords are tightened correctly. They are correct when the rudder blade is in its centre position when the two foot pedals are in their neutral position and are symmetrical to one another.

Your rudder steering system is done. Congrats! Now for the rudder blade entry system.

Step 12

Screw the blade entry cord bracket into the kayak hull. I pre-drill 3mm then screw in a 6mm stainless screw. Don’t over-tighten.

Step 13

Then screw on the second guiding bracket in the same way.

Step 14

Then screw in the 3rd and final guiding bracket after positioning the red balls using knots.

IMPORTANT: The position of the 3rd bracket must be right. It must be in the right place for you when seated in the kayak.

Also Important: The red balls go between the 2nd and 3rd brackets. They need knots on either side of them. A final knot is needed in each cord after the 3rd bracket so the cord doesn’t slip back through.

You’ll have to play around with it to make sure all the knots are in the right places. Tie them very loosely until you get the positions right, then tighten away!

Check out Dream Kayaks for the best yaks on the planet!

by rusty

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