Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Replacement of Classic Kayak Rudders

by Tom Holtey Copyright TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2019

By reading this article you will be able to understand your rudder replacement options for older classic kayaks, and how to identify the proper replacement rudder. A rudder assembly is simply the rudder unit that moves on the back of a kayak. A rudder system, or rudder kit is the entire collection of parts, including; foot controls, rudder, cables and related fittings. I will be discussing rudder assemblies, aka replacement rudders, on this page. The other parts of a rudder system will not be discussed here, but understand that nearly any type or brand of rudder assembly can be used with nearly any type or brand of foot controls and cables. I will not be discussing later model kayaks or rudders.

Typically you Do Not need a rudder kit to replace a rudder assembly. Nor would you need a rudder kit to replace foot controls, cables and other rudder parts.

A key concept is that individual rudder assembly components are not typically available as replacement parts. What this means is that it is unlikely that you will be able to find a metal blade, a  plastic block or wheel to rebuild your old rudder. It would be much like the power steering unit in your car; while a leaking seal (presumably a low cost O-Ring) might the problem, your auto mechanic will not be taking apart your unit to replace just a small seal and put it back in, but will replace the entire unit.

See my Forum Post on Rudder Black and Pin for more information.

Another key concept is that rudder blade shape and size is all about looks, kind of like the tail fins on classic cars. You do not have to make an exact match to put a new and fully functional rudder on your older kayak. Some trends you may see is that some older kayaks may have been outfitted with overly large rudders (better suited to tandem kayaks) and that some two-man kayaks have been outfitted with smaller solo size rudders. A tandem size rudder is preferred for double kayaks, and solo sailing kayaks. A solo size rudder on a one-man kayak might actually be an improvement from an over size rudder on a classic solo kayak.

The Replacement Rudder Assembly must match the Rudder Bracket (aka Gudgeon) on already your kayak.

There are several groups of common rudder types; Long Pin, Mid Pin, Short Pin, Rear Mount and Bayonet. These rudder types are found on many brands of kayaks, more brands of kayaks than there are types of rudders. For the most part ALL these Pins are 3/8 inches in diameter. There are other rudder types not listed here. Long Pin and Mid Pin type pins need 1/4 inch exposed below the bracket to accept a Rudder Pin Ring. A Threaded Pin (aka long pin) type will need the same for the nut.

See the Smart Track Video to get a basic understanding of the common rudder (pin) types.

To use this page, find your brand listed below and read up on that brand, using the links to the suggested replacement rudder options. If your brand is not listed explore the four pin types more carefully and look for the same or similar replacement rudder.

Please bear in mind that many of the products described on this page are discontinued and published here for your reference. There are many brands listed on this page, but it will certainly not encompass all possible kayak rudders!

Aquaterra, Perception and Dagger kayaks

Aquaterra-Perception used Feathercraft and "Feathercraft-like" rudders during the 1990s (see Feather Craft below). These early rudders were very similar to the classic rudder below, metal construction, three screw block, often called a Surf Rudder. The Aquaterra Sea Lion was outfitted with a unique boot-like rudder bracket. Sealion kayaks with this bracket can be outfitted with Long Pin

The Classic Perception Rudder Assembly (shown to left) was a common Long Pin Rudder, metal construction, two screw block, and was used for nearly all Perception touring kayaks made circa year 2000, straddling the years of the turn of the century, circa 2000. The rudder blade was 20.5 inches long by 3 inches wide. The vast majority of all Perception and Aquaterra kayaks can be replaced with any of the Long Pin Rudders (or the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly while available) as your replacement rudder. The Smart Track Long Pin with a blade, sold separate, can also be used.

During this same time frame 1990s and into the first few years of the 21st century Dagger Kayaks was also using Long Pin Rudders, metal construction, sometimes called the Tru-Track Rudder. Some of these rudder blades had an unusual shape by today's standards. That shape is more about looks. Any Long Pin type Rudder can be used for the vast majority of Dagger kayaks, including the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly (while supply last). Some Dagger kayaks were outfitted with the Integral Rudder, that is not fully discussed on this page. Please Contact Tom, direct via email for more info on the Dagger Integral Rudder.

Near the turn of the century the Aquaterra brand name was dropped. Perception and Dagger were merged under the holding company Watermark, that also owned Yakima car top racks.

For a short period of time (1999-2002) Perception produced a unique rudder for only four kayak models; Vizcaya, Napali, Caretta and Mandalay. All these models have a slope shape stern. The same rudder was used on both tandem and solo models, metal construction with a large plastic block that is venerable to decay over time. The Rear Mount Smart Track Performance Rudder Housing (And the Smart Track brand blade, sold separately) is the only known replacement rudder part for these Perception kayak models; Vizcaya, Napali, Caretta and Mandalay.

If you have an older Perception composite kayaks (Kevlar or Fiberglass) such as the Eclipse and Shadow it is best to use the Smart Track Long Pin with a blade that is sold separately.

The Yakima Rudder assembly, part number 9810049, was a Threaded Pin type, same as a Long Pin. The Yakima rudder blade (5020982) was the replacement flat blade for that same original all-plastic construction Yakima rudder assembly.

There were two type of Yakima rudder head housings, original (see rebuild link below) and streamline (Photo Link), that are completely interchangeable, using the same blade. These were common on Perception and Dagger kayaks made 2004-2005. The blade was 20 inches long by 3 7/8 inches wide, with a ½ inch diameter hole, 5/8 thick at the top end. See the related article Rebuilding the Yakima Rudder. Use any of the Long Pin Rudders as a replacement to the Yakima rudder assembly, including the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly while supply lasts. The Smart Track Long Pin with a separate blade can also be used.

The pointed blade Expedition Rudder Assembly was common on Perception kayaks circa 2006-2009. It is also a common Long Pin Rudder style, metal construction. Blade shape has very little bearing on performance, it is all about looks. Use any of the Long Pin Rudders as a replacement to the Yakima rudder assembly, including the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly while supply lasts. The Smart Track Long Pin with a separate blade can also be used.

Around 2005 Watermark was out of the picture and Confluence Watersports became the owner of Wilderness Systems, Perception and Dagger + many other paddle sports brands. Among them are some other sub-brands of note; such as Islander and Mainstream (same as Perception and Dagger, Long Pin) as well as Trinity Bay (same as Wilderness Systems, Mid Pin) . These sub-brands will not be discussed in detail, but do take note of the relations. Look below for info on the BTS Rudder Assembly and Wilderness Systems rudders.

The BTS Rudder Assembly was a Long Pin rudder assembly (17060016) that pre-dated the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly (that is a viable replacement option while supply lasts). The Blade Tracking System (BTS) Rudder Assembly was common on Perception, Dagger and Wilderness Systems kayaks, circa 2010 to 2014. The BTS was fully compatible with Mid Pin Wilderness Systems brackets (both metal or plastic). The BTS pin length was 3.5 inches from bottom of block to the tip of the pin. The pin had two rudder pin ring holes to accommodate common long and mid pin rudder brackets. The pivot pin was 3/8 in. in diameter. The blade was 3 inches wide by 20 inches long (18.5 inches from main bolt hole to the tip). The distance from the leading edge of the block to the leading edge of the pin is 7/16 in. Made of anodized aluminum. Any of the Long Pin options could be used to replace a rudder on a Perception or Dagger kayak outfitted with a BTS, as well as the Smart Track Long Pin with a separate blade. Any of the Mid Pin options can be used to replace a rudder on a Wilderness Systems kayak, as well as the Smart Track Mid-Pin with a Smart Track blade (sold separately).

More on Wilderness Systems below.

FYI: It is possible to use Long Pin rudders on Mid-Pin Brackets, but not the other way around.

Boreal: Expect mostly Short Pin type and some Mid Pin rudders. See FeatherCraft below.

Cobra Kayaks

The older Cobra Tourer and all Cobra Expedition Rudders take a Long Pin Rudder style. These Cobra rudders came as both Metal construction (see below) and Plastic construction (see to right) sometimes with combination of both materials, typically with a 2-scew block same as the Perception 2-screw block. Material changes were intermittent, metal to plastic and back to metal again. Blade length was typically 19 or 20 inches from pivot point to tip. Blade would be about 3.5 inches wide. The pin on a classic Cobra rudder is 3/8 diameter, pin was 3 3/8 inches long and must have the clip hole exposed for the rudder pin ring.

Older Cobra kayaks were outfitted with control ropes made of knotted and tied spectra cord. Use this link to  Cobra Rudder Control Cables. The modern Tourer Rudder Assembly was changed at some point in the 21st century and is no longer a long pin style. It is now a unique "super short threaded pin" found only on modern Cobra Tourer kayaks. The older Cobra rudders were secured with a Cobra Rudder Pin Clip (Photo Link), aka retaining pin or 1.25 in. stainless steel hitch pin. A common Rudder Pin Ring can be used instead. Replace these classic Cobra Rudders, on older Tourer kayaks or all Expedition kayaks, with any Long Pin type rudder, such as a Smart Track Long Pin with separate Smart Track blade. or the Perception Dagger Rudder Assembly while available.

A Mid Pin Rudder can be used as replacement on some of the later model years of the Tourer.

Use the Cobra Tourer Rudder Assembly for the latest model Cobra Tourer kayaks that are outfitted with the unique "super short threaded pin". There may be a need, or possibility, to replace with a new bracket).

Cobra Eliminator Replacement Rudder Assembly (use link to see) and the Replacement Blade (right) for the older version Cobra Eliminator are both discontinued. The older Eliminator Rudder Assembly was a simple rudder system with an Elastic Shock Cord to tension the blade down and a Lifting Line to raise the rudder part way up. Most of these are assumed be the unique "super short threaded pin" style similar to the modern Tourer rudder. The wide plastic blade was 16 inches long by 7 inches at the widest, with a quarter inch pivot hole and a small hole for lift line. Some versions of the Eliminator were outfitted with a different blade shape such as a Narrow Long Plastic Blade or a Short Wide Metal Blade (remember that blade shape and size is mostly about looks). To replace a rudder on an Eliminator you can consider any of these options depending on the rudder bracket; the "super short threaded pin" Tourer Rudder Assembly, the Mid Pin, a Long Pin Rudder, or a Smart Track a Mid Pin or Long Pin style (with separate blade). There may be a need, or possibility, to replace with a new bracket.

Current Designs

See Feather Craft below. Expect mostly Short Pin type rudders, and some Long Pin aka Threaded Pin.

Easy Rider Kayaks: Expect Short Pin type rudders.

Eddy Line kayaks: Assume Long Pin type rudders, but research carefully!

FeatherCraft

FeatherCraft was a kayak manufacture with a top of the line rudder assembly that was used on a very wide range of kayak brands and models, for decades, available in several pin types. See the Smart Track Video to gain some insight into the Pin Types found on common kayak rudders. FeatherCraft rudders typically came in Long Pin or Short Pin styles. Long pin will be described in detail. Look below for some info on short pin.

FeatherCraft stopped production of kayak rudders and is more or less out of business. While we hope that some rudder parts will become available again that hope is dim. FeatherCraft rudders can be replaced with a Smart Track Rudder (or other Long Pin, Mid Pin and Short Pin rudder assembly as applicable).

The Feather Craft Solo Rudder Assembly Long Pin aka Cotter Pin (most recent version shown to left) was used on a very wide range of kayak brands and models such as the Boreal Inukshuk and Muktuk. It was standard on older Hydra brand kayaks, such as the Sea Runner. To replace a Long Pin, use any of the Long Pin style rudders, including the Smart Track brand Long Pin with a blade (sold separately).

Retrofit kits (use link to see) were available to rebuild a FeatherCraft Rudder with a Long Pin or Cotter Pin type. Retrofit kits came with lifting rope, pulley disc, rudder block and pin (PBD), rudder pin ring (cotter pin), screws and nuts. Instructions were included. The Pin and Block (shown right) in that kit, was sold also separately. These parts could be used to rebuild an old Aquaterra or Perception Rudder (with 3-screw block). Pin dimensions were 3/8 in. diameter by 2 13/16 in. long. Block was 15/16 in. wide, side to side. Block was 1 ½ in. tall, 2 in. front to back. Block had 3 holes passing through it.

General Feather Craft Solo Rudder Archive Info: The Rudder blade was typically 18.75 inches from tip to pivot screw, 3 inches wide, 20 inches overall length. The space between the forward edge of the block and the leading edge of the pin is .25 inch. The blade was foil shape in cross section (not flat stock). Tiller wings and blade are made of anodized aluminum, plastic central block, with three screw holes, and plastic pulley wheels. Stainless steel Long Pin was 3/8 in. diameter by 2 13/16 inches long. Pin is outfitted with a Set Screw Washer for end pour applications. Removing the set screw washer (recommend on most kayaks) at pin base, will add 3/16 inches to pin length. ¼ inch must be exposed for the rudder pin ring (cotter pin). A lift line passes through the pulley, ends in rudder knots. Later model rudder bodies were made lighter with cut-outs.

FeatherCraft made a large size tandem rudder assembly for two-man kayaks that was often used on some solo kayaks for kayak sailing. These also typically came in Long Pin or Short Pin styles. To replace use any Long Pin or Short Pin style rudder or replace with the Smart Track Long Pin or Short Pin housings with a blade that is sold separately.

General Tandem Rudder Archive Info: The Tandem Rudder blade was typically as much as 25 inches long, 5 inches wide. The blade was foil shape in cross section (not flat stock). Tiller wings and blade are made of anodized aluminum, plastic central block, with three screw holes, and plastic pulley wheels. Stainless steel mounting Long Pin was 3/8 in. diameter by 2 13/16 inches long. Pin is outfitted with a Set Screw Washer for end pour applications. Removing the set screw washer (recommend on most kayaks) at pin base, will add 3/16 inches to pin length. ¼ inch must be exposed for the rudder pin ring (cotter pin). A lift line passes through the pulley, ends in rudder knots. Later model rudder bodies were made lighter with cut-outs.

FeatherCraft rudders often came as a Short Pin style (much older version shown to left). Feather Craft provided a Short Pin Rudder Rebuild Kit (use link to see) to rebuild these FeatherCraft Rudders. This kit was for End Pour type rudders with a 1.75 inch long pin. Kit came with lifting rope, pulley disc, rudder block and pin (PBD), screws and nuts. Instructions were included. The Short Pin Block and Pin (use link to see) was used as a replacement rudder block for Short Pin (aka End Pour) style rudders secured with a retention screw. Short Pin dimensions were 3/8 in. diameter by 1 3/4 in. long. Block is 15/16 in. wide, side to side. Block was 1 ½ in. tall, 2 in. front to back. The block had holes for three screws and nuts. The Block is outfitted with a Set Screw Washer for end pour applications. To replace a Short Pin type rudder use the Smart Track brand Short Pin with a blade.

Feather Craft was not limited only to Long Pin or Short Pin. There was a Feather Craft Mid Pin Rudder with 2-1/4 inches long x 3/8 diameter pin (found on some Boreal kayaks), and a Threaded Pin 3-11/16 inches long x 3/8 dia. All of these Feather Craft pins must have 1/4 inch must be exposed for the Rudder Pin Ring.

Heritage Kayaks (aka Hop On Top)

Some classic Heritage Kayaks were outfitted with Long Pin Rudders (with a white 2-screw block).

Hydra: See FeatherCraft above. Expect Long Pin.

Lincoln Kayaks: Expect Short Pin type rudders.

Necky Kayaks

The older Classic Necky Rudders are a Rear Mount style on a flat stern with a two, or 3 screw bracket. These came as 1st generation all metal construction, circa mid 1990s, followed by 2nd generation plastic construction (left), circa year 2000 give or take a couple years. These two generations were followed by a four screw bracket type with an interim period of prototypes preceding it, circa 2004, after Necky merged with Old Town and Ocean Kayak in the late 1990s. The Necky brand was dissolved by Johnson Watercraft in 2017. The four screw bracket type is still in use today on Ocean Kayak and Old Town brand boats. Both metal and plastic Replacement rudder blades or rudder housings (alternative view) for 1st and 2nd generation Necky kayaks are no longer available.

The individual parts for 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation rudders are not interchangeable. You can replace 1st and 2nd generation Necky Rudders with the Smart Track Rear Mount and a Smart Track blade, leaving the original bracket in place. Or you can use the 3rd generation Necky rudder or with a new four screw bracket, by drilling new holes and filling old holes. 3rd generation Necky rudders are available in Solo and Tandem sizes. (Contact Tom about filling holes.)

Some older Necky kayaks, circa 1990s, were outfitted with a metal stern mounted skeg (see photo to the right). If you need to replace a skeg on these older Necky kayaks it is best to upgrade to a rear mount rudder system as described above.

Northwest Kayaks: Replace with Smart Track brand Rear Mount Smart Track Performance Rudder Housing and blade (sold separately).

Ocean Kayak

Some Ocean Kayak brand kayaks, such as the Drifter and early Prowler were outfitted with a Long Pin Rudder, same or similar to the Old Town rudder (see below). Ocean Kayak and Old Town merged in the late 1990s.

I will not go into much detail here, but many classic Ocean Kayak brand kayaks, circa 1990s and a year or two into the 21st century, were outfitted with the unique Pro Rudder. The Smart Track brand Threaded Pin with a blade is an option to use for replacement, but it requires some modifications. Contact Tom for more about this. See Rebuilding the Scupper Pro Rudder.

Later model Ocean Kayaks are outfitted with the four screw bracket as described in the Necky section above.

Old Town

The Classic Old Town Rudder Assembly (E0359), metal construction, was a Long Pin Rudder, and was common on Old Town kayaks made circa year 2000. It typically fit a hole molded on the stern as part of the hull, some fit into a bracket mounted on the stern. See the Castine Rudder Kit Instructions (applies to kayaks made before 2000) to view how this rudder and related parts were mounted. The Old Town rudder pin was assumed to be 3/8 inch in diameter, but may have been a tiny bit smaller than that. When retrofitting with a modern non Old Town rudder assembly expect to ream the rudder pin hole molded in the kayak by a tiny bit. Use any of the Long Pin Rudders to replace the Old Town rudder assembly, including the Smart Track brand Long Pin with a blade.

Later model Old Town kayaks are outfitted with the four screw bracket as described in the Necky section above.

Pacific Water Sports: Expect Short Pin type rudders.

Point 65 North kayaks: Assume Short Pin, but research carefully.

Prijon Kayaks (WildWasser)

The Classic Prijon Rudder (1st Gen) shown left was a rudder common on much older Solo Prijon brand kayaks, circa 1980 to 1990s. Info on model fits and year range is not well documented at this time. This rudder was compatible with the standard Prijon Rudder Bracket. The rudder housing and blade was metal. The rudder blade was 19 inches long, 4 inches wide. Pin is 2 inches long, 1/4 inch diameter.

The Wildwasser Rudder (see below) predates the Balanced Wing Rudder below. It was common in the late 1990s and into the 21st century. Info on model fits and year range is not available at this time. A 2nd Gen Classic Prijon Rudder, contemporary with the Wildwasser, was much the same (not shown yet). Again, both fit the standard Prijon Rudder Bracket. The rudder housings and blades were metal.
blade shape is mostly about looks. These rudders were compatible with the

The Prion Balanced Wing Rudder (below to right) was common on Solo Prijon brand kayaks, introduced about 2004, predates the Luxus Rudder. It mounts onto the standard Prijon Rudder Bracket. The rudder blade was wing-shape made of glass-fiber filled nylon, stiff and efficient with less drag than traditional kayak rudders. The Balanced Wing Rudder can raise out of and lower into the water.

Important! All these Prijon rudders would be compatible with the standard Prijon Rudder Bracket and the Flat Stern Prijon Bracket too. Expect subtle changes to the brackets from year to year but are essentially the same.

Both the Modern Luxus Rudder Kit and the Smart Track Prijon Housing (the Smart Track blade is sold separately) can be used on any older Prijon kayak outfitted with the standard Prijon Rudder Bracket or the Flat Stern Prijon Bracket. See the Standard Bracket on a kayak.

The Prijon Yukon, circa 1980 and-or 1990s takes a Bayonet Style Prijon Rudder. This rudder pin is very different from the normal modern Prijon rudders. It is assumed that a common Bayonet Rudder might be used on such kayaks.

Pyranha

Expect a custom modification of a Smart Track Smart Track brand Performance Rudder Housing and blade (sold separately). Contact Tom (with detail photos of your kayak) for additional help.

Sea-Lect Designs (kayak rudder manufacture)

The Tru-Course Rudder Assembly has a slightly shorter Long Pin than standard long pin rudders. Read and measure carefully!

Seaward Kayaks

Replace with Smart Track brand Rear Mount Performance Rudder Housing and blade (sold separately). Use Short Pin for Seaward Discovery Series.

Seda Kayaks

Replace with Smart Track brand Short Pin Mount Performance Rudder Housing and blade (sold separately). Please Contact Tom if your Seda kayak seems to have a different type of mount.

Valley Kayaks: Please Contact Tom.

Walden Kayaks: Expect Long Pin or Threaded Pin replacements.

Wilderness Systems

The Classic Wilderness Systems Rudder is a Mid Pin style rudder, mounted onto a steel flat stern rudder bracket, or a metal cast aluminum rudder bracket for pointed stern. A Long Pin rudder can be used as a substitute if desired.

Early Wilderness Systems sea kayaks such as Sealution, circa Mid-1990s were outfitted with oversize rudder blades, of a different shape, similar to the blade size found on a recent Wilderness Systems tandem kayak rudder.

The block and pin was black and had 3 screws passing through it. This older large size rudder blade was abandoned in the late 1990s. A washer like portion was often encorperated onto the pin and is assumed to vestigial from when the composite Sealution (Harrie Tieken) made in Canada, was outfitted with a Short Pin style rudder.

The photo (left and above) shows a normal solo size Wilderness Systems rudder circa 2000 or so. The photo (show to right) shows a rudder used up to 2005 or so. Expect a two-screw black block on the late model Wilderness Systems rudders with the logo. Both of these sizes are more suitable for solo kayaks.

All of these Wilderness Systems rudders were of metal construction. Use any of the Mid Pin Replacement Rudders (as well as a Wilderness Systems Rudder Assembly, while supply is available). You can also use a Smart Track Mid Pin with a blade.

Wilderness Systems switched to the BTS Rudder, as described at the top with the Perception and Dagger rudder information , circa 2005 after the merger. While the BTS was a long pin with dual mid and long holes for the Rudder Pin Ring, the brackets were mid pin. As such you can replace with any of the Mid Pin Replacement Rudders (as well as a Wilderness Systems Rudder Assembly, while supply is available). You can also use a Smart Track Mid Pin with a blade.

Important! the Wilderness Systems Course Control Rudder Assembly has a very different control cable set up. Read carefully.

General Info

The Replacement Rudder Assembly must match the Rudder Bracket (aka Gudgeon) on already your kayak.

I have not addressed the most recent rudders on latest models kayaks. Go to the Topkayaker Rudder Category for more info.

Please read fully and carefully before making a selection. Try not to make easy assumptions. Expect a minor engineering challenge from time to time.

When changing from a classic rudder to a more modern rudder assembly you might have to reconfigure the lifting line going up to the cockpit.

Some more modern rudder assemblies might operate and park in a different manner. An existing rudder rest might have to be removed.

When looking at the rudder pin dimensions, be sure to take into account the need for about 1/4 inch exposed for the Rudder Pin Ring or a nut on a threaded pin.

The Performace Smart Track blade is sold separately from the Performance Housings. Only the hybrids come with a blade.

Long Pin and Threaded Pin are essentially the same.

The Sea-Lect Designs brand Tru-Course Rudder Assembly has a slightly shorter Long Pin than standard long pin rudders. Read and measure carefully!

Other related rudder assembly Parts are; rudder Rope with or without Bungee, a Rudder Pin Ring is common on some pin style rudder pins a Rudder Rest, and some assorted Cables and Fittings.

Rudder replacement is typically simple. Disconnect the control cables but leave them attached to the foot controls. Untie and remove the lift lines from the deck (memorize configuration). Slip off the rudder pin ring and remove old rudder assembly. Install the new rudder assembly in reverse order.

See the TopKayaker Index of Rudder Related Web Pages and Videos for more info.

Feel free to Contact Tom (with detail photos of your kayak) for additional help.

Replacement of Classic Kayak Rudders
by Tom Holtey Copyright TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Classic Cobra Control Cable Kit Instructions


by Tom Holtey © TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2018 www.topkayaker.com



These instructions are for the Classic Cobra Control Cable Kit, please print or view this page as your instructions for this kit. It applies to older Cobra brand kayaks; Cobra Tourer (not most recent versions), Eliminator and Expedition, circa 1990s and some years into the 21st century. May also apply to other Cobra kayaks or custom rudder jobs. Read below and use links in blue text below to see what some of the items that I am referring to look like.

Kit Contents:

B = 8 feet Bungee Cord


F = 20 feet Utility Cord, 1/8 in.




Probably more than enough, but gives options for multiple configuration patterns discussed below.

Tools Needed: Sharp Scissors, Heat Source (lighter, candle, torch), Screw Driver or Hex Tool, Wrench.

You may need a Rivet Tool.
If needed you can use stainless steel Self Tapping Screws. A dab of Sealant can be used whenever you apply a fitting.

Cobra Rudder Control Cables Install Process: Secure the bungee cord(s) to tension the foot peddles, from one or two Strap Eyes located forward on the deck, to each foot pedal. Use knots or hooks as desired. You can configure this in any way you like. See the photo of the green Tourer below for V pattern, the white Expedition at top for long side pattern and the blue Eliminator to right for short side pattern as examples. Cobra has configured factory rudders in all three of these styles over the years. You might do this in a temporary manner that will allow you re-adjust as needed.

Trim the bungee cord and gently melt ends with a flame. Overhand knots may be simpler and stronger than the Bungee Cord Hooks.

The bungee hooks are easy to use however, slip the collar on the bungee first, insert bungee into hook base, slide collar onto hook base to engage the teeth. I find that channel lock pliers help me with this.

You will next assemble your adjustment straps using 3/4 Inch Web Strap Products. You will trim the strap, melt screw holes, connect the super locks and finish ends with tri-glides. See strap related videos below. Fasten a super lock to each foot pedal, to the outboard edge, with a very short section of web strap doubled over into a loop and screwed to each foot pedal. Two longer sections of strap will be threaded through each super lock. The length should allow for the tallest and shortest paddlers to reposition the foot control cross bar. Finish each strap with a tri-glide to make a small web strap loop on the end. This loop will be used to tie the cordage to with and Over Hand Knot Loop.

Related Strap Videos (ignore the hatch stuff, all principles of working with strap is the same):

Pro Hatch Repair Part 2 of 3 Cutting and sealing strap ends and melting screw holes.

Pro Hatch Repair Part 3 of 3 Working with tri-glides and buckles (applicable to super locks).

Arrange the foot control cords down the right and left sides of the kayak. Slip the end of the foot control cords through the guides as seen on the gunwales in the photo of the green Cobra Tourer Cockpit above. While the guides above are white, they are most often black and located directly next to strap eyes. The path of the control cables, from the feet to the rudder, should be fairly straight without any sharp turns. Strap Eyes can be substituted as guides if needed.

Fasten cords to the wings of the rudder and to the loops on the aft end of the foot control straps. Use metal or plastic Rudder Shackles (if supplied) or tie directly to the wings of the rudder. Shackles are not needed for adjustment straps. See the Cobra Rudder Knot diagram below. Or… You can tie any kind of knot you like. A bowline knot or tight over hand loop knot should do well. Adjust and trim as needed.

Finally test the rudder system on dry land. Sit in the kayak to locate the foot brace bars (reposition as needed) and adjust the foot control straps to custom fit your leg length. The pedals should be tipped slightly aft. Make sure the rudder turns right and left smoothly by using the foot controls. Re-adjust as needed. Be careful about trimming any cords or strap until you have tested. Try to assemble in a temporary manner, until you are quite confident about the final assembly.

When the dry run test is done you are ready for a water trial. Test the kayak on the water, close to shore in calm weather, before you go and depend on the rudder system in more challenging conditions. When you have proven it is fully functional you are ready for all normal kayak conditions.

Use links below for basic how-to info:




Contact Cobra Kayaks or TopKayaker as needed. Copyright TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2018

Restoration of Classic Dagger Kayak Seats

by Tom Holtey, copyright TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2019

The seats of older Dagger kayaks can be easily fixed up. While these instructions will largely address Dagger recreational kayaks such as the Blackwater and Zydeco as well as the Bayou and Delta, this will also address many Dagger sea touring kayaks, such as the Vesper and Seeker, indeed any Dagger kayak with a plastic molded textured seat surface (hills and valleys, see photos below).

This page will address old style fabric seat covers that fall apart when they
age. It is assumed that your underlying plastic seat structure, molded as part of the hull (left), or a separate seat structure (right) secured into the hull, is still sound and in good shape.

The original Dagger seat pads for these older kayaks are no longer available from Dagger. Some Dagger kayaks had a one piece seat cover (top photo); others had separate back and bottom pads (use links to left). TopKayaker stocks a generic seat pad set that is compatible with all these older Dagger rec kayaks (top left photo), as well as many Dagger touring kayaks (top right photo and bottom photo). We offer a variety of compatible Seat Pads in our www.topkayaker.com online shop. These instructions will address those seat pads that we have the best success with.

 The first step is to secure the seat strap. Your original seat back cover is probably integrated with the seat adjustment strap in some fashion, probably through “belt loops” on the rear side (see photo to left). It is crucial that the seat strap be secured well to the seat back structure. The old slip-on seat back cover performed this function. It will be fairly easy to re-mount the seat strap. You can re-use the original seat strap if possible (photo to right). Some seat backs had slots on the aft side. If so you can use these slots to secure the seat strap and ignore the next steps.

You will need the 1 in. Footmans Loops, 2 pack. I suggest that you get your stainless steel screws and locking nuts at your local Hardware store. Use the shortest possible screws. Use pointed self tapping screws only for hollow molded seat structures. If you need to replace the seat strap you can use 1 Inch Web Strap Products or the Seat Strap Kit. (Contact us about working with webbing.)
 
Once you have the seat strap secured to the seat back support, the kayak is essentially functional again, ready to use as is. Bear in mind that in the early days of kayaking we did not have any seat pads. Now with the strap secured the seat is ready to apply new padded covers to it.

The Seat Back Pad that we have been having success with for these older Dagger kayaks is the Tour Backrest Pad. It is a strap-on seat back pad. See photos left and right. The Seat Bottom cushion that we have been having success with for these older Dagger kayaks is the Tour Seat Bottom Pad. It is also a strap-on seat pad. See photo below for the finished result.

This Tour Seat Pad Set is a long proven fix for older Dagger brand kayaks.

There are other Seat Pad options and Kayak Comfort Enhancements, such as the Kayak Over-Seat, and the YakPads Paddle Saddle Seat, but the Tour Set above is tested, the most popular and most successful for the majority of older Dagger recreational kayaks and many Dagger sea touring kayaks, all with a textured seat surface (hills and valleys), circa 1990s, up to about 2005.

Self-adhesive pads are not recommended for these textured seat structures. A self-adhesive pad will bridge the valleys leaving gaps underneath that will cause the pad to eventually split down those lines as well as collect dirt, debris, water, and other icky stuff like spiders and ant nests. Such an application may even peel off prematurely.

Some Dagger sea touring kayaks have a seat bottom structure, with a smooth surface, that has a single valley down the center line, as seen in the photo to the left. A self-adhesive pad, such as the Techlift Seat Pad, might be applied after being cut in half down the center line. A thinner pad, about one quarter of in inch might be needed for very tight fitting sea kayaks. The New Town Back Pad can be used as a self-adhesive back pad on the smooth back support surface. Self-Adhesive Close Cell Foam can be applied to any smooth surface seat back or bottom. The advantage of self-adhesive pads is that they stay put during a wet exit, a great benefit to those who practice sea kayak skills.

Some Dagger sea kayaks, and/or white water kayaks may be outfitted with a textured seat bottom structure and a textured back support, maybe a back band. A Back Band (not fully addressed on this page) can be used to replace the original back support.

Modern Dagger kayaks will be much different. Use these links to Dagger Zone Seating Components, as well as other Dagger White Water, Touring and Rec Outfitting items.

Use the links in blue text above for info and options. If you have questions, call or email as needed. Tom Holtey Phone: 603-651-1036 tom@topkayaker.net GeoOdyssey Publications. www.TopKayaker.Com
Restoration of Dagger Kayak Seats, by Tom Holtey, copyright TopKayaker GeoOdyssey 2019.