Now, this causes a slight difficulty that I have yet to surmount – the stern carrying handle is now in a really poor position (was never a great location in the first place) as it is effectively blocked by catcher and rudder blade. The additional weight makes it more desirable than before as well so I need to think of a way around this. For now I have removed it and just make sure I get a good hold of the stern when carrying it with two people. I can’t tow it backwards on the C-Tug though and that is an issue with the alleyway behind the house – I must go to the bottom and turn when walking it to the beach.
The next stage is where I had a few head-scratching moments. You must feed bits of cord and bungee here and there, around this and that and tie them off just-so. My description is intentionally vague as there is no easy way to describe it – just follow the photographs on the instruction sheet and you’ll find the way. Be aware also that as you move the rudder blade so changes the position of the line – which is why it looks all wrong when you do it.
Knot the line and bungee together, using the strap eyes you installed, and check that they are as they should be.
I would suggest leaving the line uncut until you have tested it on the water and ensured that they are correctly done. To be honest I found this to be the worst part of the rudder installation. It looks untidy and a bit of a liability for catching with hooks or yourself, especially when combined with the rigging lines already fitted and the anchor trolley if you have them on the port (or both) sides (like I do). There is the need for a simplification and modification here and I will set my mind to it at some point in the future. As it is I find that deploying/retracting the rudder needs a disproportionate amount of effort so I’m keen to fiddle here.
Now for the last bit. The metal steering cables need to be looped at the stern end and attached to the rudder body via the nuts provided so it can do this:
Easy enough and crimping these, melting the shrink tubing around them and cutting off the loose ends completes the job. As long as you ensure you cut the LOOSE end of the cable and NOT the piece that carries on through the hull the job is complete…
So, installation complete, using the rudder was the next stage. First attempt was aborted. I was on the Broad and after fishing for a while decided to deploy the rudder – only to notice that the bungee retainer had not been removed and so I’d have to land or clamber over the tankwell to undo it. No matter, conditions didn’t warrant the rudder any way and a lesson was learned. I waited until I went offshore a few days later to try it under normal sea conditions but encountered a couple of obstructions to my plan. First of all the sea was running ideally – I had no need to deploy the rudder on either leg of the days fishing. I did have a play with it to get used to the feel of things and to position the pedals where I wanted them but the rudder itself served no purpose on this day.
In fact I was stalled for quite a while as for various reasons I was land-bound for weeks. But then the day came when things all came together to provide the perfect opportunity to put it through its paces on the Broad. It was windy, it was choppy, there was a current (it’s tidal) and, more importantly, I had fitted my new Pacific Action sail (of which more later).
I launched and spent the first hour paddling around without either sail or rudder deployed, getting used to how things were on the water in order to better make the comparison. Then it came time to deploy the rudder. First thing I found was that you have to keep it centrally positioned so with feet on the pedals I began pulling on the cord. Hard graft that turned out to be. I tried again, still no joy – just raising the rudder off the catcher slightly. It actually took both hands to pull the rudder blade up over the rudder body and down into water. It takes just as much effort to raise it again too (landing on the catcher with a hefty thump!). Now, it’s possible that I have things tightened up too much or a cord running incorrectly and this I need to check but I am also trying to come up with an easier system of deploying and retracting it as it would be no fun turning half around and tugging with both hands over one side in a heavy swell.
Deployed, I discovered that the Trident turned as tightly, it seemed, as a Frenzy which is half the length and has a different hull shape. For some of the inland waters I fish this is of great benefit as not only are they at times fairly narrow but also rather congested for the summer months. It was a very tangible difference and one which had me sold on the idea immediately regardless of its effects on general paddling. Had I tried this in the sea it would not have made such an impact nor would I deem it as important as I only need that manoeuvrability when in the surf zone or when going through the harbour mouth in swell. Definitely a small water benefit!
It was actually quite easy to get used to as well – left foot down turns the kayak left and vice versa so it soon became instinctive allowing me to steer subconsciously, paddle subconsciously and spend more time checking rod tips for the signs of snags.
I took things further. I usually fish quite close to the margins but when the water is as low as it was on that day and the wind is up I tend to stay further out as I cannot control my drifting accurately enough. I tried doing that with the rudder, following the slight contours in the margins on the finder and although it really was too shallow to not snag the lures I was able to trace a precise route with far more accuracy and ease than previously. Again, an inland benefit rather than one I’d use on open sea around here but if coming through an area of sub-surface rocks it would be of benefit.
As to general steering – and this was backed up a few days later on the sea when I did indeed need to deploy it because of my nose turning – it made a vast difference. I could paddle equally on both sides (more energy efficient and faster) and keep on my course heading with ease. Threading my way between moored boats and mooring buoys was a doddle too and traversing the broad above the narrow (slightly) deeper gulley was simplicity itself.
The rudder really came into its own when I deployed the sail though but I will describe those together in the sail section. Suffice to say it really makes the Trident a superior paddle without question. As a side note all attachment points were fitted in my usual choice of well nuts rather than rivets, screws etc as I find them a very good way of fitting things to the hull.
Pacific Action Sail.
About six months ago I got myself a 1.5 square metre Pacific Action Sail as Richi had made it look like a great and useful accessory. I must confess that my initial acquaintance with it was somewhat overshadowed by a lack of decent wind and a lifeboat being scrambled to ‘rescue’ me as it was presumed that I was in distress. Granted, the sail wasn’t doing anything and the fish weren’t biting but I was hardly distressed about it! I’d fitted it largely as per the instructions onto my Prowler 15 and it all fit quite well:
The next time I tried it was a bit windier and I got a mate (experienced kayaker and windsurfer who incidentally works for CEFAS as an oceanographer and is amazed at my fishfinder) to show me how to use it a bit more effectively. He popped the sail up:
manoeuvred it into the sea
and sailed right off the beach, a few hundred yards downwind, across a few hundred yards and back again, sailing a triangle off the beach. For a downwind sail I found it surprising and had a go under his direction finding myself able to do it. I figured I’d cracked it – but sadly I was mistaken. Yes, I had been taught the rudiments of sailing with a PA sail (it’s dead easy by the way) but hadn’t actually had a problem beforehand – with the wind’s power large being blocked from the land and quite gusty because of it throughout most of the summer I just wasn’t getting enough power to get a steam up. I did, however, stick with it and when conditions were favourable I was able to do quite well, shifting at a nice speed and enjoying the experience:
but I didn’t like some of the rigging on it. Mostly only minor things; the small jam cleats I found almost impossible to deal with; I fitted carabiners instead of the supplied snap clips as they were easier to use on the attachment points I fitted to the hull and the trimming line crossed the deck where my feet were which could prove an obstruction in a capsize (incidentally, recovery when the mast is stowed is no more difficult than without)
Edited by Mark Crame, 03 January 2008 - 09:52 PM.
Wetter than an otter's pocket.