Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?^

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tom_kayak
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Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?^

Post by tom_kayak » Sun May 09, 2010 8:34 am

Hi,
the skeg-rudder system is already a couple of years on the market.
After finding only some postings thru the boardsearch I would like to start a
new topic ONLY on experiences with this system.
I am very interested in the stability of the system.
Please no pre /con about skegs or rudders. There are many postings on that.
My purpose: Use on an NDK Triton
see: http://www.kari-tek.co.uk/SkegSystemsSRS.html

thanks a lot!
tom (from germany)

Graham T
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Re: Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?

Post by Graham T » Sun May 09, 2010 11:25 am

Hi Tom I don't have experience with this system but would like to ask what do you maen by stability of the system ? do you mean whether they break ?

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun May 09, 2010 12:14 pm

Hello Tom,

I thought I had a review on my blog but must have deleted it accidentally. Here it is:

The Karitek Hydro Skeg Rudder system is very well designed and beautifully engineered. It is fitted in a skeg box in the normal place. It is controlled by a cockpit slider which moves the high aspect blade up and down. When only partially deployed, the blade is aligned straight ahead but when fully down the blade is fully exposed and it can be turned side to side, on its axle, using foot pedals. These are attached above the footrests which can still move back and forwards for adjustment. Because the system is controlled by flexible hydraulic hoses, no adjustment is required when moving the footrests back and forward. If the rudder hits an obstruction when fully down, it self centres in its first few degrees of retraction then it is able to retract fully into the skeg box automatically. The high aspect rudder, like all high aspect skegs can be damaged if it is left down and hits an obstruction when the kayak is being carried or launched stern first. My own Hydro Skeg required bleeding after 4 years and my friend's Hydro Skeg Rudder required bleeding after 3 years. A simple bleeding kit is supplied and it is filled with a solution of antifreeze and water. During the last severe winter weather, it continued to operate when various cable and wire skegs on a Cetus, Quest, Explorer, Expedition and Nordkapp froze solid.

I have used the system on a Quest, Explorer and Menai 18 both loaded and unloaded. A friend has had one in a Quest for three years. It was also paddled alongside a kayak with a Valley C-trim rudder. Using the Hydro Skeg Rudder as a rudder, downwind from 120 to 240 degrees, it worked incredibly well, even in strong winds and swell. The faster the kayak went, the better it worked. It was a lot of fun. I think it would make a fantastic partner to a down wind sailing rig. Unlike a conventional stern mounted rudder blade that often comes out the water in steep waves, the more forward position of the Hydro Skeg Rudder kept it in the water. The blade was not really big enough to prevent broaching in surf landings. The Hydro Skeg Rudder was much easier to deploy, retract and maintain and was less susceptible to damage than the Valley C trim rudder. Unfortunately it was only possible to compare performance of the Hydro Skeg Rudder fitted to an Explorer with a Valley C trim rudder fitted to a Nordkapp. The Hydro Skeg Rudder was more effective downwind, the C trim worked better as a rudder in fresh winds going upwind.

Note that the Hydro Skeg Rudder is marketed as a SKEG rudder. When used upwind in winds from force 4 and above it is best used as a skeg and not as a rudder. In a fresh wind, paddling at 45 degrees to the wind, if you put it fully down in rudder mode, the kayak leecocks, despite trying to use it to steer into the wind. If you partially retract the blade, it then operates perfectly in skeg mode and you can adjust it so that you have neither weather cocking or lee cocking. As you retract the blade it cunningly self centres, even if you do not have the foot pedals pointing straight ahead, very clever! If you retract the blade completely, then the kayak will weather cock as expected. In force 6-7 wind on flat water, I found the Explorer easier to paddle at 45 degrees to the wind with Hydro Skeg Rudder in skeg mode than the Nordkapp with C trim rudder which was now lee cocking.

When using the Hydro Skeg Rudder in rudder mode, I attempted to make the relatively non manoeuvrable Menai 18 turn sharper by edging and using the rudder. Unfortunately edging caused the rudder blade to loose its turning effect. It is most effective when the kayak and the blade are vertical in the water. For this reason it works better with shorter and/or more rockered kayaks than the Menai 18. Paddlers used to edging and applying pressure with the foot to the outside of the turn will find it counter intuitive to resist edging and apply (a little) pressure to the foot pedal on the inside of the turn. This would apply to any rudder system and would not affect a beginner.

In conclusion, I found the Hydro Skeg Rudder to be an expensive but very well designed and engineered bit of kit. It is much more versatile than a skeg (and it still functions as a very good one) and is especially great fun to use (in rudder mode) down wind in strong wind and swell. It is much more reliable and easy to use than a rudder. However, it is not a rudder and purchasers expecting it to be so may be disappointed when using it upwind in fresh winds.

Finally, as it worked as a rudder better on the Quest and Explorer than on the Menai 18, I expect it will be too small to work as a rudder on the Triton (I have not paddled a Triton but have paddled an Aleut Sea II with C trim rudder). Based on our experience, we would not dream of replacing the large version C trim rudder on the Aleut Sea II with a HydroSkeg Rudder.

Hope that helps,
Douglas

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tom_kayak
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Re: Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?

Post by tom_kayak » Mon May 10, 2010 8:54 am

Hi Douglas,
thanks a lot for your very comprehensive posting!
Nigel offers the Skeg Rudder as an option for the Triton.
I think simply because the NDK skeg does not have enouth area to stop
leecocking in stronger winds. Do you know how big the area of the Skeg Rudder
is compared to the "normal" NDK Skeg?
I simply need some advice before swapping my Aleut for a Triton. The Aleut
simply is getting to heavy for touring the coast (multiday trips).

happy paddling

tom

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nickcrowhurst
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Re: Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?

Post by nickcrowhurst » Wed May 19, 2010 5:04 pm

tom_kayak wrote: I think simply because the NDK skeg does not have enouth area to stop
leecocking in stronger winds.
Should that be "weathercocking", rather than "leecocking"? The larger the skeg area exposed, the greater the tendency to leecock, in my humble experience. To stop leecocking in a double sea kayak, I sometimes lift the rudder or skeg completely out of the water.
Nick

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Kari-Tek Skeg Rudder System: your experience?

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed May 19, 2010 5:50 pm

Yes in the Aleut Sea II, that I have spent some time with, in force 5 winds paddling at about 45 degrees to the wind, the large ruddder causes lee cocking which can be prevented by raising the rudder. It just goes to show that on a sea kayak, except perhaps in windless conditions, a rudder is just a trimming aid like a skeg and cannot be used to steer a kayak like a steering wheel on a car.
Douglas

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