- Sat May 30, 2009 11:20 am
Ron: Length is not the determining factor for when you need a rudder. Design, shape, and intended use are the factors to consider. Many people feel that A rudder is for turning the boat. I don't. True--it can turn the boat but I don't think that should be it's primary use. The primary use of a rudder should be as a trim tab. A trim tab is for directional stability through waves, wind, etc.. You can keep paddling straight without all the correction strokes. More efficient paddling in this case.
First lets talk about rudders on shorter fishing and recreational boats. I think all new paddlers should start paddling without a rudder. Learn how to paddle a boat before you add a rudder--and then understand the uses and limitations of a rudder. The best use I found for a rudder on a fishing boat was to orient the position of the boat while drifting. That way I could always be in position to best present the lure. In other words--I'm facing the way I want to face and I can stay facing that way. Other factors are viable for fishing boats to greater or lesser degree.
Ok...a long, fast boat is designed to slice through the water with minimum drag. I shape the bow and stern for different things, but for the stern I want the water to leave the back of the boat with nary a ripple. Such a shape may not necessarily be good for directional stability. The bow may be deeper than the stern--which is usually contrary to shorter recreational boats--and might make the boat a bear to paddle. So--I design a boat for one specific task--go fast forward--and add a rudder to help with some deficiencies.
Just wait till I write a long article on paddles. That ought to stir up a lot of controversy...