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 Post subject: In Quest of a Rudder
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:34 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
It is interesting that in their design of the Quest, rather than using an in-house version, Hobie chose to go with an independent rudder design, that of the Navigator Rudder System by Global Outfitters. This rudder has been around for about three years now. See the review in the Dec. 2002 issue of SeaKayaker Magazine:

http://www.gokajaksport.com/Pages/reviews5.html

My local dealer, The Wilderness Way, here in Tallahassee just happened to have a factory-rigged Quest on the floor with this optional rudder installed. If you were to buy the basic rudder independently and install it yourself, the cost for the Navigator is about $125. The identical Hobie Quest version goes for about $150, and that includes the factory installation.

1. The “traditional” kayak rudder design (other than the Hobies) is the “over-the-stern” type with a blade that rotates 270 degrees from vertical, up to horizontal, and then flips up and over to stow on deck, as in the Wilderness Systems' Tarpon 140. In the background of this pic you can see the Quest Navigator rudder.

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2. The Quest/Navigator rudder, on the other hand, moves in only a 90 degree arc, and is manually pulled forward directly up on deck by means of a long rudder retraction line that extends forward to in front of the seat. This pic shows the Navigator rudder in the normal underway, down position.

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3. Here the rudder has been retracted almost completely to the stowed position on deck. As the Sea Kayaker review states, the rudder sort of “slithers” up on deck as it goes thru its 90 degree rotation from full vertical to full horizontal.

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4. This a view of the top of the rudder in the down, underway position. Note the slack black cord or line towards the top of the pic. This is the rudder retraction line that is used to raise and lower the rudder. I labeled it as “main” just to differentiate it from the other lines present. Note also that the retraction line comes around thru the rudder blade and attaches by means of a metal pressure clamp to a short strip of bungee line or cord. You pull the main rudder retraction line forward with your hand, and the rudder blade itself is rotated up 90 degrees and forward in one smooth motion, while stretching the bungee cord to which the retraction line is attached. In this way, the bungee cord stores the energy needed to return the rudder to the fully down position when the retraction line is released from the jam cleat. You are actually pulling the rudder blade itself up and thru a rotating plastic sleeve that is a part of the fixed portion of the rudder assembly that is actually attached to the stern. This whole rig is neat, clean, very easy to operate, and takes minimal strength and energy on the part of the paddler to get the rudder up on deck. This is in contrast to some of the more traditional rudder assemblies that may require a good deal of effort to manually rotate the blade thru a 270 degree arc without the blade slamming down hard into a chock, handle, or on deck at the end of the rotation.

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5. The rudder retraction line runs from the rudder along the starboard side to a jam cleat just to the right, and slightly behind the seat. This is a close-up of the jam cleat where the rudder retraction line is held in place by the cleat's internal ridges. A simple pull on the retraction line, and then a push down into the cleat is all that is required to lock the retraction line in place. The rudder can thus be locked fully down, part way up, or completely up, depending on how far forward the retraction line is pulled.

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6. When the rudder is retracted on deck, note the rudder retraction line is now taut, and the bungee cord is stretched. This stores energy that will pull the rudder aft and, along with the weight of the rudder itself, will return it to the vertical underway position when the retraction line is released from the jam cleat.

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7. The rudder is controlled from the cockpit using the foot pedals. The rudder control lines are attached to the hull just forward of the foot pedals, and then threaded up thru the various small sheaves on the pedals.

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8. Note how the port and starboard rudder control lines run from the foot pedals aft to enter the hull, and from there aft to exit the hull just forward of the rudder assembly itself, as shown in pic #6. Only a very slight foot/toe movement is thus required to activate the rudder and turn the boat.

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9. CRITIQUE AND SUGGESTED CHANGE: All in all, a very neat, clean rudder assembly from the inventor of the Navigator. There is no major change that I can detect between Hobie's version and the original design. However, I do have one criticism of the Hobie version that should be very easy to correct. The rudder bungee seems to be a tad too short, and does not permit the rudder to be retracted as fully as possible. If one were to add about 6-8 more inches just to the bungee portion itself, this would allow one to retract the rudder much more completely, so that only about 2-3 inches of it was sticking out from the rotating sleeve, as opposed to about half of the rudder, as at present. Thus, there would be less chance of the retracted rudder being banged around during loading, unloading, launching, and returning. Note how far the rudder extends out past the rotating sleeve in the last pic below. This is not just an isolated occurrence on the particular boat that I photographed. All of Hobie's pics on their Web site of the Quest underway with the rudder retracted show a similar problem, although perhaps not as extreme. Now Hobie may have their reasons for doiing it this way, but IMHO, it seems to be mainly a function of the bungee simply being shorter than it could, or should, be on the production boats. Just my $.02 worth.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:09 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Apalach, excellent report! Owning a Quest, I like the virtually care free rudder and I have developed a strong liking for the non-sliding pedal control. After putting a bit of thought into your longer bungee idea, I am not sure 6 to 8 inches would work but maybe two or three would. The purpose of the bungee as you stated is to give the oomph to jet the rudder out the back past the point of balance so gravity takes over and the rudder drops down. I'm not sure this would happen with a lot of bungee and not much spring action. I might try your idea (adding a piece 2 to 3 inches longer) on my boat although since I load the boat from the side no problem with the rudder has ever presented itself during the loading process. However, I have had persons, not paying attention, walk into the rudder while supposedly looking at the boat!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:31 pm 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
Hey kyt.
Thass what I'm talkin' about--having the rudder stick out that far can be just asking for trouble. I know that is my problem with the present OB and Sport rudders when they are in full "erection" (so-to-speak!). Either me, or the wife, or the kids, or the grandkids walk into them from time to time. Or I whack them when loading or unloading them from my trailer or roof rack. So far no damage to either, but I would rather not tempt my luck any more than necessary!

Couldn't post this direct link to the Sea Kayaker article before for some reason--let me try it again.

http://www.seakayakermag.com/2002/02Dec/navigator1.htm

If the link works, you can see how far to the right the original rudder could be pulled in the pic at the upper right. Bungee (located on the right side of the rudder in this pic) seems to be a bit longer than on the Quest in my pics.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:08 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Apalach, I have a kayak fishing tourny this weekend so I might rig something up next week. I'll let ya know how it works out. It's probably just a matter of time before I forget and crease my sparsely covered pate anyway. llt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:50 am
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Location: Florida Panhandle
Nice review of the rudder Apalach, and also a pretty simple solution it seems. While not yet damaged, I have had several close calls with the over protruding rudder. I store my Quest in a hanging strap system, I have to use extra care when doing this as my storge space is a little limited. The rudder tends to bang against the rear wall of the storage shed if I am not careful in the process. When loading the Quest on my truck (using the Yakima loading bar) I have to load the rear end first to keep from damaging the rudder system. True, its not a HUGE problem, but if the fix can be as simple as a couple of more inches on the bungee, it wouldn't be a problem at all.
I'll wait to hear from kytflyr......


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:33 am 
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Location: Sandy Eggo
Just a thought but if you wanted to extend the retracted (forward) position of the rudder blade but still maintain adequate tension to the point of deployment here's an idea. Referring to Apalach's #6 photo, instead of having the bungie secured directly to the rudder frame at the rear, consider this. Using a longer piece of bungie line, run it through a deck loop or pulley attached to the rear at the rudder frame and then up forward to attach to the deck of the kayak. The deck loop where the carry handle is attached would probably work. Using a longer length of bungie line would allow greater retraction distance but would pull the rudder blade back to the same point when deploying.

There's probably some practical flaw involved but hey, it's just a thought! :wink:


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 Post subject: Quest Rudder Cables
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:09 pm
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Location: Strongsville,OH
I'm new to this forum but have been looking in on other forums concerning the Quest. Has anyone experienced any difficulties with the rudder cables stretching? Others are of the opinion that stainless line is otimum to cord. I find it hard to believe that anyone who can build such a fine craft as well as install a great rudder (Navigator) would penny pinch on the steering cable. By the way, to all who have supplied photos of the Quest...great job. Showing the various colors available as well as the Navigator system is helping me decide on this kayak. I don't know why I wasn't able to get this info off the Hobie website.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:28 pm 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
Hey Chuck,
Welcome to the Hobie site!. As you have already noticed, we have some good stuff here that Hobie has not yet gotten around to on their Web site. But they are working on it. They have so many new models this year that it has been difficult to get the info out fast enough, so some of us are trying to lend a hand. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:23 pm 
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Location: Sandy Eggo
ChuckR... I believe I read a post by Matt Miller of Hobie who said the control cable material used on their kayaks is Spectra. If so, stretch is not an issue. Anybody that uses Power Pro Spectra fishing line will attest to that. Also, I believe it was stated that Spectra was selected over Kevlar and other materials due to its resistance to UV deterioration. Have faith... these guys usually do their homework.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:58 pm 
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Ok guys, I completed the discussed modification on my Quest's rudder this past weekend. It did work. I changed the attachment point from the rudder frame forward to the Kayak itself. The bungie now makes a big u turn from the rudder attachment point with the retracting line thru a newly drilled hole in the rudder frame then forward to an attachment point at the rear of the kayak. This more than doubled the length of the bungie. I am working on pictures. Will get them posted this weekend. I can retract the rudder all the way inside the housing if I want to and it still has enough zip to deploy upon demand! later llt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:05 pm 
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kytflyr... Glad to hear the concept actually worked! Look forward to pics.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:16 am 
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" I am working on pictures. Will get them posted this weekend. I can retract the rudder all the way inside the housing if I want to and it still has enough zip to deploy upon demand! "

Okay, you now have hero status, 'cause I've been racking my brains on this one, and haven't come up with anything.

The only thing I did contemplate, was to attach my bungie cord to the rudder frame with a small plastic quick release thingy-ma-jig, then when I go home, I can REMOVE the rudder, and store it elsewhere, and not have to worry about the wind factor whilst driving, vibrating the rudder against the boat.

I'm sure there must be a small plastic clip for this purpose, and if there is, I'll make it my mission, my destiny, to find it, and stick it on my Quest. Yeah.... the Quest for a Quest!!!

See ya..

Wolfie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:42 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
WTG kyt,
Glad to hear it worked--I thought it might. Will be looking forward to the pics. Did my info on pic posting help? Feel free to PM me again if you wish.
Best,
Dick

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 10:39 pm 
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Yep, bought the bits to make my rudder fully removable.

Also, because I work right next door to a Chandlery, I bought some Ronstan A Cleats with eyes. Now, these cleats...

Image

Will take the place of the gay little things that were supplied with my Hobie. This way, I'll be able to fine tune the pedal angle each time I change the pedal length if different people are using the kayak.

Cheers

Wolfie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 3:51 am 
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Okay, I've just come upstairs, after doing some mods to the rudder.

1) If you undo the shock cord at the rudder, and simply attach a stainless steel carabiner to the cord, so it clips onto the rudder, it works a treat. The dropping down of the rudder is NOT reliant on the tension of the shock cord, it works on sheer weight of the aluminium section.

By using my method, and the same piece of shock cord supplied, I can FULLY retract the rudder, AND let it down again. When it's time to load and go home, I simply undo the s-steel clip, and slide the rudder fin out of its housing, and store it else where.

2) Using four of the above Ronstan cleats, I managed to make some good sense of the pedals. 2 of the cleats are fitted adjacent to the small cleats that were supplied to tie the rudder lines onto. The rudder lines (Spectra) now pass through the Ronstans, and are infinitely adjustable, but really easy, the remainder of the rudder lines is tucked into the side pockets, and a small spring clip is attached, so the can't fall out again.

The other 2 Ronstan cleats are mounted just below, and slightly forward of the first set. These hold heavy duty shock cords, which run to the front, then over a pulley each, then up to their respective pedals, where a small hole has been drilled up at the top of each pedal. The cord is then simply tied off. Tension is then infinitely adjustable through the Ronstans, and the tails of the shock cords also reside in the side pockets, inserted through the mesh sides.

Now, this shock cord arrangement, it keeps the pedals under tension at all times, so there is no pedal flipping loosely towards you. It DOESN'T self centre, but it keeps everything nice and tight, and it feels really good to move, no slack whatsoever.

Photos will come, but I'm tired, and it's dark....

Other rigging was also done, but this thread was about the rudder.

Cheers

Wolfie


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