While working on the rudder at home, I noticed that I had quite a bit of slack in the portside control line. I could move the handle to port about 3/8" before the rudder started to move. I'm thinking that's too much slack and maybe the rudder got moved around more than it should have and that contributed to the failure of the pin. I had noticed that I had a slight weather helm problem but since the wind wasn't very strong consistently, I didn't think it necessary to reef the sail. Do you think the slack was a probable contributing factor
No, but the slack does limit your rudder throw and controlability. There should be no slack with the rudder down and centered. Using the "tiller", you should adjust both sides to have equal deflection in either direction.
Also I noticed that the rudder had a bit of a bend in it about a third up from the bottom. I realized it was caused by the bungee tiedown that holds the rudder against the top of the kayak. I think I need to loosen my bungee when the AI's just sitting around. Bill
That's very common and caused by warping as it comes out from the mold, not the bungee. But you can ease the tension considerably by slipping only one side of the bungee loop over the rudder (the other slips underneath) like this: