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Submitted: 10-10-2006 by Anaguma
I just purchased a rudder after 2 years of not having one because on windy days, the waves would guide the boat and I would be wasting all my time sweeping instead of forward stroking. The installation wasn't too bad except that the old foot brace holes didn't align with the pre-drilled holes on the ST braces. A couple of holes and a thread cutter later, the braces mounted firmly in. The length of cable was easily adjusted using the little jammers attached to the tiller. You just push the cable back and pull it through a bit more or back to adjust the position of the pedals.
After taking it out on the first trial run, I discovered the right pedal was a bit too far forward. A stop and shortening it a little more and the pedals were even.
I went through weeds and at the tension I had the pedal set, I just got startled by the pop when it snapped back into place.
The pedals were much more comfortable than the old flat ones. The rounded peg is much more comfortable and would be worth having without the rudder. The rudder controls over the top just needed to be located somewhere between the ball of your foot and your big toe. Smart-Tracker supplies a vertical adjustment device where you can shift the foot braces up or down to adjust this. You then just need to push with your toes to turn the rudder. For correction, this is all you need, and that is what I bought this for. If you want fast turns because you can't handle your boat, you'll have to lift your foot and push a bit farther. It wasn't that bad to do either.
It was really nice to paddle with the foot braces not moving, only touching the controls when needed.
The single string rudder lift was simple to use and an easy pull. I found that if you pull it up half-way, enough of the rudder is still in the water to add steerage but is shallow enough not to plow through sand.
The Smart-Track rudder is now it's own company, Smart-Tracker LLC, and it distributes the rudders out of the Wenonah Co. of Minnesota. It was hard to find during this transfer from Seal-Line period, but compared to the other rudders out there, this one is great. If you want a huge rudder to turn fast, get a sailboat.
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