Renovating an old Nordkapp HM^

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nickcrowhurst
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Renovating an old Nordkapp HM^

Post by nickcrowhurst » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:03 pm

As a labour of love, I've just obtained an old Nordkapp HM, with the Chimp pump on the stern deck, the ocean cockpit, the round Henderson hatches, with the added bonus of a brush painted layer of something all over it, and a crack across the keel strip under the seat area, leaking water. Prior to starting renovation, I've taken it out for a couple of trips. I'm very happy with how the kayak handles, and rolling, bracing and paddle float re-entry was fine. However, I would appreciate some advice on specific points before I cause too much destruction. My basic plan is to produce a day boat for solo use, so load carrying is not important, but efficient self-rescue is vital:

1. Remove the hatches, pump, deck lines and elastics, etc. Use Removall 610 paint stripper all over the exterior to expose any horrors. Repair all holes, gouges and imperfections with WEST epoxy system. Fit a new keel strip. Re-paint with two pack epoxy paint system.


2. Remove the foot bar, and replace it with a 4 inch thick sloped foam bulkhead for comfort and to reduce flooded volume.

3. Install a new bulkhead just behind the seat. I plan to use a 1 inch foam bulkhead (or a thin marine ply), covered with glass cloth. This is again to reduce flooded volume.

4. Fit a 19cm day hatch to the area where the old pump was bolted.

5. Fit an integral battery powered water pump behind the seat and in front of the new bulkhead. I also have a hand pump stowed in the knee tube. I want a system where I can empty the righted kayak after a failed roll, and before doing a paddle-float re-entry. In training, I have found the portable pump useless as even the slightest weight on the cockpit coaming will cause waves to flood the cockpit while I'm swimming alongside and trying to pump.

6. I'm not sure what to do about a backband. I don't seem to need one, but specialist advice is that it helps tilt the pelvis correctly. However, when I fitted a backband from an old Dancer, it made a re-entry and roll impossible. Even getting into the cockpit at the start of a trip was no use. I'm just over 6 foot, and the ocean cockpit is just feasible, now I've taken a saw and cut away the first inch of the bottom portion of the knee tube. I read that some backbands have a ratchet that enables them to be tightened after entry, but this would not help a re-entry and roll, unless one has to feeel under the kayak and release it before re-entry. I'm wondering about making a foam support for the pelvis, incorporating, somehow, the electric pump. One advantage of a backstrap would be that it would keep me away from the sharp edge of the back of the cockpit coaming when rolling or bracing.

7. The first time I practised wet-exit I got four cuts on my legs. Modifying and padding the knee tube reduced this to just two from the sharp edge at the front of the cockpit coaming. Has anyone tried grinding this to a rounded profile and re-gelcoating? Any padding would have to be very thin to enable me to wriggle free.

I would be grateful for any comments and suggestions before I get started on renovating this beautiful classic kayak.(Yes, I know it would be much easier to buy a new one with a keyhole cockpit, skeg, day hatch, bespoke bulkheads etc)I just enjoy pouring love into derelict boats and restoring them to their proper condition.
Nick.

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paint stripper

Post by surfkayaks.com » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:19 pm

is an absolute no no.
Get a decent orbital sander and work thru the grades, start at around 240.
Work thru to 1500 and then compound.

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Re: paint stripper

Post by nickcrowhurst » Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:04 pm

surfkayaks.com wrote:is an absolute no no.
Thank you for your reply. According to its manufacturer, Removall 610 is especially formulated to remove paint from GRP hulls of vessels without damaging gelcoat. It is non-caustic, and lifts the coatings by creating a layer of oxygen at the boundary between gel-coat and coatings.It is used by many marine companies for this purpose. One reference is
http://www.paint-stripper.co.uk/removal ... marine.htm
Do you have any experience of problems with using this product according to its data sheet?
Nick

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Post by Jon Wood » Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:26 pm

Repair all holes, gouges and imperfections with WEST epoxy system
I assume the boat was originally laid up with glass and polyester resin, so I'm guessing that you could save your money and do an equally good (or better) job using the same sort of material. Can a 'professional' boat fixer comment?

Does the boat need a new paint job, or could the original gel coat be re-buffed once you have removed the current layers. (How much weight will the paint add?)

Regarding the hand pump, I don't worry about getting the last bit of water out of the cockpit until I'm back in the boat. Get the worst out by dipping/lifting the boat. And this should be made easier with your planned volume reduction and a new rear bulkhead

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Post by Jim » Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:32 pm

My first comment is that the Nordkapp HM is an excellent expedition boat but many people find them too tippy when only loaded for day tripping. Otherwise your restoration plans look fine with a few things to think about:

- Presumably the 4" foam footrest/bulkhead is exactly what you need for your leg length from the existing bulkhead? I have more space and can fit some storage in behind a foam footrest.

- The skin fitting for the chimp pump is probably near the pump, you will either need to run a hose through the bulkhead (keeping it watertight) or remove/blank off the existing fitting and move it forward. Personally I would remove it, tape over the hole and lay some glass cloth inside, finishing the outside with a mixed epoxy filler later.

- On the other hand fitting the pump in the day hatch with the inlet through a bulkhead fitting is a possible way to keep it in a much drier location (seems to be what rockpool are doing on their latest boats). Electrics don't like water ingress.

- Forget about pumping before re-entering, it really is a waste of time. You will drag more water into the boat as you re-enter, but in any circumstances you should aim to get out of the chilling water ASAP and then deal with pumping.

- If your physique does not suit the knee tube carfully cut it out and find somewhere else for your hand pump - mine lives under the rear elastics with my split paddles. I would be very careful around the sharp edge of the cockpit coaming, you probably won't have to grind very much to separate the coaming from the boat, so perhaps try a gentle rub of some sandpaper - it will still dig in as you get in and out but hopefully not cut you.

- If entry and exit really is difficult, and you could do with slightly more initial stability because you aim to use it as dayboat, you might want to consider removing the seat and fitting a foam one directly to the hull. This will lower the seat improving initial stability and access, you might find you need a backstrap more than you do now and of course you will catch the edge of the coaming more when you roll. Basically personalise until the boat is comfortable - choose your backstrap if you need one based on what feels right not what you read!

- Consider fitting a closed cell foam bulkhead with sikaflex and not glassing over it.

JIM

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:19 pm

Thank you Jon and Jim for your very useful and speedy replies. I've used epoxy resins rather than polyester in boat building for the last 30 years since I first came across epoxy in the early 70's when I was building a 27 foot sea-going wooden sailing cruiser to get my young family to sea. One reference for the superiority of epoxy is at http://www.redrockstore.com/resin.htm
I won't know if the gelcoat is good enough to restore until I've stripped it, but judging from the deep scratches and multiple bolt holes from old fittings, I suspect it will be a paint job.
I'm concerned that if I'm tired and in rough water, I won't be able to lift the bow and spin it upright and almost empty. The Nordkapp is heavy at the driest of times. The last time I tried this in training I ended up righting the boat by spinning it at the cockpit, and scooping it full of water. That's the day I started thinking about an electric pump. These kayaks are so unstable when full of water. I've found that to be a serious problem with a re-entry and roll. When I roll up the kayak cockpit contains so much water that it's very difficult to prevent another capsize. I'm going to try a paddle-float re-entry and roll to try to get over that issue. (If I can manage to wiggle into that ocean cockpit when upside down.)
I'm enthused about the Sikaflex and foam bulkhead with the electric pump in the day compartment. I assume the inlet tube can just pass through a cut hole in the foam, with sikaflex to seal it.
I actually like the knee tube. It gives a positive lock for the knees when rolling and bracing, and now I've covered the sharp end with some slit plastic tube Gripfilled in place, it doesn't cut me. The knee tube has a row of small holes drilled round the cockpit end. What are they for? Elastics in a net pattern?
I haven't had any concern about stability, but I've only been out in the Nordkapp in small chop so far. Strangely, I found myself turning round and looking behind me with less concern for stability than in my Capella RM. Certainly the Nordkapp leaps at any waves like an excited puppy. I just love the way it handles and how little affected it is by cross winds. Does the percieved instability when unloaded occur in the rough stuff, or all the time? Perhaps I will find out the wet way!
Many thanks for your help.
Nick.

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Post by Jim » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:09 am

Stability issues are in the mind of the individual, if you find it OK, then you find it OK! Nordkapps are great in rough water, it's in still water where most people first try a boat and try to make a comparison that they seem less stable than others.

I'm not 100% certain if running a hose through a foam bulkhead is the best option for that arrangement - my thoughts are that if you continually knock the hose putting things in or out of the day hatch you are more likely to break the seal, so it may be better to go for a solid bulkhead with a fitting screwed through it in that case, although you could think of other methods like gluing a strip of wood in the bottom of the boat and screwing pipe clips to it to stop the hose from waggling if knocked.

To be honest my electric pump and battery box just go behind my seat and get wet occasionally - but I have arranged the whole thing to be taken out easily to be cleaned and stored. I could have spent a bit more and actually used a waterproof box for my battery housing. I have to admit there is something neat about the idea of keeping the pump in a day hatch ot separate compartment, the issue is that my Sea king doesn't have one......

JIM

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:14 pm

Jim, thank you. I value greatly your comments. Nick

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Post by Owen » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:04 pm

Hi Nick,

I fitted an extra bulkhead as you are planning to do. I made mine out of fibre glass, the 6inch wide woven cloth type. I first waxed a bit of hardboard and laid 3 layers of the glass onto this. I then made a cardboard template and cut out the bulkhead with a jigsaw.

I was advised against using foam as you loose to much space, and their a nightmare to seal. Also they don't tend to stay sealed.

I glassed the bulkhead in place from the cockpit side and ran a bead of slikaflex around the inside. I fitted it last winter and have had no problems with it so far. It makes emptying out after a capsize dead easy, just lift up the bow enough to stop your cockpit scooping up any more water is all that's needed; then flip your boat over.

I put in a small screw in hatch (15cm diameter) this isn't 100% waterproof; I didn't have enough room for a 19cm VCP type hatch.

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Post by Chris_Headleand » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:10 pm

Bit of a sidetrack but im actualy looking for a renovation project at the moment.. If anyone knows of somone with a bust old sea kayak can they send me a PM

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:00 pm

Owen wrote:I fitted an extra bulkhead as you are planning to do.
Owen, thanks for those details, they'll be useful very soon. Nick.

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Post by ian.miller » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:07 pm

Nick
I've been paddling an old (70's) ocean cockpit HM for the last 10 years and can put your mind at ease about any stability issues. If your boat has Henderson hatches it will probably have a relatively low back deck and should be more stable than most. The weight they were built at will also contribute to the stability. I recently tried out a newer ocean cockpit HM with a valley oval hatch. The rear deck had been raised to accomodate the hatch and the resultant angle change to the cockpit meant that I found it vitually impossible to get into. It was also an unstable pig by comparison. I also had the same stability issues with a newer HS I had for a while. I rarely paddled it and went back to my old HM. I suspect a lot of the tales of tippy Nordkapps stem from the models with raised rear decks.
I took out the rear deck pump and fitted a small hatch and a third bulkhead. My boat has no knee tube but does have the original foam knee grips just forward of the cockpit rim giving the most comfortable position I have met in any boat. I am waiting on the delivery of a LV Nordkapp and will miss this feature. I may sacrifice a bit of the keyhole to create a knee grip. Two things I won't miss are the knee buckling weight and the waywardness in a stern quartering wind. The handling in any other wind direction is impeccable. Have fun with your boat. I still think that particular model was a classic.

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:50 pm

Ian, that certainly helps me understand what I'm experiencing with the HM, and you're also spot on about the weight. I've now got a nasty acute tennis elbow problem (a chronic issue) from lifting the HM off a 7 foot high Discovery roof rack. I may end up using a trailer. Nick

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Seat support bracket queries

Post by nickcrowhurst » Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:39 pm

I've stripped the hull, but not yet the deck. I'm hoping to restore the gelcoat, rather than re-paint, but I will experiment next week. The only structural issue is a 3 inch crack right through the hull across the centre of the keel under the seat, causing a leak. When I slid my hand under the seat to see if a repair had been attempted internally,I found, to my surprise, a GRP bracket connecting the seat and the hull at the site of the crack. I assume the crack was caused by the localised stress at the bracket edge. I have two queries:
1. Was this bracket fitted at the original build, or has it been added later?
2. Regardless of the answer to 1., should I get rid of the bracket when I repair the crack?
Thanks in advance.
Nick.

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Bracket

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Aug 13, 2006 5:07 pm

Nick,

I can't answer (1) but my answer to (2) is yes, get rid of the bracket.

Chris

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Re: Bracket

Post by Jim » Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:12 am

Chris Bolton wrote:Nick,

I can't answer (1) but my answer to (2) is yes, get rid of the bracket.

Chris
Definitely! It is possible also to get similar transverse cracking at bulkheads, and it can be very difficult to spot since they only open up as the boat flexes in use and not when you are inspecting it!

If you think the seat may need a little support, use a block of closed cell foam underneath it which will flex a little and avoid building up a stress concentration.

Since you are familiar with epoxy boatbuilding I won't go into details, but just to let you know that grinding that bracket out is going to be a real pain, but essential :-(

JIM

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:28 pm

Thank you, Jim and Chris. As a result of your advice, the bracket will soon see its last sunset. Tomorow I'll employ the services of my half inch tall friend with his miniature angle grinder.
Nick.

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What compass for this recess?

Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:56 pm

The Nordkapp has a small circular recess, presumably for a compass, on a sharp central angle on the deck. Is there a compass that will accomodate this recess and the angled deck line, or do I have to get creative and fill up the recess? It is not only ugly, but also it will fill with water. I could put a small pot plant in it, but are there are any other printable suggestions?

The under-seat bracket has gone to the under-seat bracket graveyard in the sky. I fed an electric reciprocating saw, handle first, under the stern deck with the motor locked on (dodgey), waved it in the general direction of the top and bottom of the bracket, and the job was done in 10 seconds.

The Removall 610 softened the 2-part paint without damaging the gelcoat, and I have been busy with a sharp scraper, then wet-and-dry by hand, starting at 60 (!), then 80, 180, 600, 1200 grade, and then cutting compound on an electric buffer. The 2-part paint had been ladled on with a brush, and there were deep brush marks, and many curtains and runs. It was thick. I am amazed at the final polished finish. It is as new, and it's a tribute to Valley's workmanship and the quality and thickness of the gelcoat.

If I could work out how to post a photo I would do so.

The bare hull weighs 51 pounds, so my stripping away of the paint, a worn-out keel strip and superfluous hunks of GRP have saved 5 pounds, nearly 10% of the kayak's weight.

I'm currently sourcing some matching gelcoat. I'm going for Brilliant Red, code CB03605A from West and Senior, Milltown Street, Radcliffe, Manchester, tel. 0161 724 7131.

These details are posted to assist anyone in the future with a similar project.

Nick.

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Photos

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:07 pm

Nick,

Photos would be interesting. For how-to, see

http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/po ... _links.htm

Chris

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu Aug 17, 2006 7:05 pm

Thanks Chris. One of my pals has an allotment. I'll see if I can borrow his dig-it-all camera.
Nick.

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Re: What compass for this recess?

Post by Jim » Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:19 pm

Good work!

I had a split under the seat of my sea king (and everywhere else) so had to remove the foam block and found I was left with sharp ridges of resin (possibly previous attempts to repair, possibly even done by me when I fitted an internal strip a few years ago). My initial solution was use the electric spokeshave (angle grinder with sanding disc) on it. I couldn't get far enough under the seat with it and ended up using bits of sandpaper and wooden blocks and battering my knuckles to hell to smooth the mess out so I could lay up over the top. Your vibra-saw sounds like a godsend! I was thinking I should invest in a dremel for silly little jobs like that!
nickcrowhurst wrote:I'm currently sourcing some matching gelcoat. I'm going for Brilliant Red, code CB03605A from West and Senior, Milltown Street, Radcliffe, Manchester, tel. 0161 724 7131.
Did you try asking Valley for some gelcoat? Chances are the exact colour of pigment is no longer made, but if they have kept their colour range fairly similar over the years they might know what it was, know what the closest modern equivalent is, and just possibly might even send you some pigment or gel coat. All of which said no matter how much you polish even the original colour will never match perfectly now but hopefully on something as complex as a kayak you won't notice.

Compass recess - have a look at Knoydarts online catalogue and see if there are any photos of valley boats with one, and then see if it looks the same as yours - if so they should be able to put you onto a compass that will fit. Have to admit the only ones I've noticed in the chandlers recently have had flat bases for surface mounting on yachts or dinghies rather than the low profile part recessed fittings of yesteryear, but that's not to say Silva or Plastimo or someone don't still make one and only kayak shops stock it...

Jim

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:45 am

Thanks for those ideas, Jim. I've e-mailed Valley, and checked the Knoydart catalogue. As a result, I'm going to adapt an old flat base Silva compass from my spares box, and jigsaw out the flower pot holder. I hope to take some pictures on Sunday. Thanks again.
Nick.

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The restored gelcoat.

Post by nickcrowhurst » Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:41 pm

Here's the HM after the polishing - Nick

Image

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First sea trip in the renovated boat

Post by nickcrowhurst » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:11 pm

Today I took the Nordkapp offshore for the first time. The Channel sea and swell was moderate from the south-west off Plymouth, with Force 3 winds and no white-caps with the lee-going tidal stream. The kayak handled superbly. No slamming when going to windward, and surfing on rails downwind, with twin jets of spray shooting out from the stem. No tendency to broach. What a blast!
The down-wind benefits from the fixed skeg have their consequences, of course. With wind and sea on the quarter I tried changing course slightly. Stern rudders and sweep strokes had little effect, thanks to that big fixed skeg. Do I really have to edge the boat when it's surfing downwind and my primary aim is to avoid a swim, or have experienced HM users any tips for steering in such conditions. Is a bow rudder feasible, or would I be asking for instant immersion?
My lower back and upper legs were very unpleasantly painful throughout this 10 mile trip, so I'll be experimenting with a backband. I've not experienced this before in any kayak.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Nick.

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Post by Jim » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:41 pm

I don't claim to be an experienced Nordkapp paddler, but I borrowed and HM for a week last year and spent most of it stormbound on Staffa.....

I also found that it felt brilliant on the water however rough it got, including ferrying accross some small races between the Treshnish Isles. I do recall that it held it's line very very well compared to my sea king and that plenty of edge was required for turning, but I struggle to remember exactly what I found running downwind. On our last day we abandoned Staffa in F4 wind with the remains ofthe swell from the F8 behind us so I definitely got to use it down-sea in fairly big conditions. As I recall I took up the rearguard position and ended up paddling fairly slowly keeping my eye on an Easky that was struggling to hold it's line and a Qarsuut that was actually doing fine but too busy chatting to the Easky.... like father like son? So although I had good surfing sea I wasn't really able to let the boat loose and surf very much, I do recall expecting to find the boat difficult at such low speeds from a stability point of view, but in fact I was just fine, and I was definitely able to avoid slamming into other boats as they broached in front of me on the previous wave :)

A backband will I think be really important. On the first day of that trip mine was a bit twisted and not effective and it was pretty painful after an hour or so. I don't know if this is definitely needed or if my abs are weak from always using a backband in other boats. I guess without a bankband you are likely to pivot your back on the cockpit edge which as noted before can be a bit sharp. I'm not sure what boats you have had previously but the seating position in one of those old ocean cockpits is a bit different. I found I could spread my knees a bit like I do in my sea king (nowhere near as much as a river boat) but the most efficient position is actually with the knees together wedged under the deck in something approaching a racing K1 position. It will of course take some time for your legs and lower body to get used to this different way of sitting, but I reckon I had sorted within a week so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

I don't know if that helps much - you will need to edge a lot for turning, I just can't say if it should be easier when surfing. I would expect not because as you surf the bow will lift slightly and the stern sink relatively, thus anchoring the skeg even more firmly into the wave.

Jim

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Turning the Nordkapp

Post by Wenley » Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:06 am

Do I really have to edge the boat when it's surfing downwind and my primary aim is to avoid a swim, or have experienced HM users any tips for steering in such conditions. Is a bow rudder feasible, or would I be asking for instant immersion?
Congratulations on the Nordkapp's work.

As for turning by edging the Nordkapp - a Jubilee-, I find it specially forgiving in spite of the legend that assures otherwise. The secondary stability will give you as much support as your breakfast table.

For turns that avoid edging, in serious conditions the bow rudder is an osteopath's dream. I use the high stern rudder for less drag and the cross bow rudder in moderate following seas.

Enjoy.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:30 am

My understanding is that the Jubilee differs considerably from the original Nordkapp - the former has secondary stability but the latter doesn't (much).

Dave Thomas

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Post by Wenley » Mon Aug 28, 2006 5:37 pm

The Jubilee differs considerably from the original Nordkapp - the former has secondary stability but the latter doesn't (much).
True, Dave. I have heard the same but never had the chance to try one. I read this spring "Obscured by Waves" by Paul Caffyn, and the original Nordkapp seemed like a wild ride. Yet, both turns should be stable.

So much for the utility of my advice. Down would go Nick!

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Post by nickcrowhurst » Mon Aug 28, 2006 10:57 pm

Well thank you, Jim, Dave and Wenley. That gives me some ideas to try out on my next trip. I may put my nose clips on before trying the cross bow rudder! Nick.

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Cross bow?

Post by Chris Bolton » Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:16 am

I can see why you might want to use a bow rudder, although personally I'd stick with stern rudders (if the waves are steep enough for control to be an issue, slowing the boat down a little helps keep the bow out of the wave in front).

But a cross bow rudder seems extreme? As a C1 river paddler, I use the cross bow for the sole reason that I don't have a blade on that side.

Chris

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