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After building the Cape Ann Double, I realized that a mass-produced aluminum rudder would be just too embarrassing to put on a hand crafted wooden kayak. I did not need to search for long before I settled on a rudder made of cool looking satin black carbon fabric. The 'look' was certainly important but the rudder is also amazingly strong, light, and very simple to build.

Making a solid graphite rudder with full size and accurate rudder plans is a fun little project that anybody can do and learn a few things about composites and high tech fibers as well. The rudder construction requires only a few basic tools that every do-it-yourselfer has (drill, hack saw, jigsaw, sandpaper etc...). The project takes about four afternoons in total.

The Rudder Mechanism KIT provides all the hardware components (predrilled) to make construction faster, more accurate and easy.

This hi-tech carbon rudder is about 60% less expensive than any commercial 'cookie cutter' steering system and will make your kayak look as you would want - unique!

Most commercial kayak rudders are made of heavy stainless steel or more commonly of cheap anodized aluminum. Aluminum blades are weak and deflect excessively in the water, causing stalling and additional parasitic drag. Anodization is only a surface treatment that abrades with time, causing salt water corrosion and fouling of the mechanism.

The One Ocean Kayaks rudder has a high 'aspect ratio' blade which gives it a good lift and low drag performance. This means paddling further and faster with with the same amount of power.

Incorporating plywood core with high tensile modulus carbon fibers into the design not only makes this assembly super light (under 1lb) and strong but the stiff blade deflects very little in use and its inherent fatigue resistance gives it almost indefinite life-span. You never need to worry about corrosion because all parts are composite, plastic, and of marine grade stainless steel.

Customers who purchased the Rudder Plans or the Rudder mechanism Kit can take advantage of the FREE On-line Manual that shows the entire construction procedure in the minutest detail and in 136 photos and large close-ups.
The manual shows carbon fiber, fiberglass and epoxy lay-up and making the rudder using the plan templates. All shaping, drilling and assembly of all remaining parts is described and illustrated in the manual as well.
The mounting of this rudder to a kayak is shown in the Kayak Shop pages. All composite components are illustrated in the Rudder Construction Intro.

Vaclav, thanks for the quick response. You've answered all my questions.... I did find your on-line rudder manual very helpful. I can easily say that because I do a lot of technical writing in my job. It certainly kept me from making some serious mistakes.... thanks for providing an alternative to the typical aluminum rudder. The carbon rudder is far superior - Peter Agocs

The Rudder turned out great!! And I love working with the carbon fiber!!...I can't tell you how much help you have been in making this kayak something that is top-of-the-line and something that I am really proud of, compared to what it would have been without your advice and suggestions. Thanks a million, and keep up the good work!! --- Jim McCoy
Just got my rudder kit (with cables) and wanted to complement you on the terrific work you did with the plans (blueprint) and especially the on-line construction manual. This is probably the best way to present information... the photos are sharp, clear, and accurate and the instructions are easy to understand. I really appreciate your effort and find the materials and information I received to be of superior value! Thanks again. - M. Johnson

...ordered the rudder plans from you last year and just last week took the time to build and install it. I'm basically a lazy paddler and absolutely love the rudder. It functions extremely well and will turn this boat on a dime if need be. It also takes the thought and effort out of tracking. You can set your feet so the boat is tracking in the direction you want and take your eyes off the destination for a while, look up, and low and behold you are still heading in the right direction...--- D. Inman
Wish to thank you for the plans and well thought-through instructions for my new rudder and to share my minor alterations. Maybe it will help some other builder. I have paddled my Pygmy Coho for three years and this is the first rudder for the boat. I am especially pleased with the bracket/ hinge. The first two layers of pre-preg cloth were molded tightly around the stern of the boat, only. Then I taped the prepared styrofoam mold behind the lay-up before adding the rest of the cloth layers. Final product is precise fitting bracket on stern with fully enclosed pocket for the hinge material...enjoyed this project. - D. Andrew
Wanted to let you know that I completed the rudder (finally, now that it's gotten cold around here- Wisconsin) and have had a couple paddles with it. It's great... what a perfect kit. Your instructions, template and web photos were top notch! I enjoyed making it and it's really great in the water. - Ryan Brooks


Comprehensive Plans package for
Graphite Kayak Rudder

  •  Rudder Plans - exact, full size templates plotted in COLOR
  •  Multiple templates- in case of a mistake
  •  Dimensions are described in both English and Metric units

  On-line Manual -
detailed photos and step by step instructions plus bonus pages on construction of graphite rudder hinge to fit any rudder or kayak.

Rudder plans are on a 24" x 42" sheet of high quality, heavy weight white bond paper for easy tracing of templates

Don't feel like searching for hardware components ?

  •  The Kayak Rudder Mechanism Kit eliminates the search for difficult to find parts and individual pieces. The Complete KIT provides the Plans, the Cable Kit and all the necessary stainless steel and plastic components needed to build the rudder (composite materials or parts are NOT included).
No tools to drill or cut accurately?
  •  All plastic components in the Rudder Mechanism Kit are pre-drilled and shaped! Only a minor adjustment with a file or beltsander is needed on the rudder body to fine tune the retracted and deployed position of the blade. The 1/4" (6,3mm) stainless pivot pin is pre-drilled to accept the cotter ring.


Kayak Rudder Mechanism KIT

  •  Rudder Plans - exact, full size templates plotted in COLOR

    Mechanism Hardware:
  •  Stainless Hardware - all Marine grade stainless steel machine bolts and self-locking nuts, rudder pivot pin, cotter ring
  •  Plastic components - UHMW -PE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) rudder body, rudder blade friction spacers, retraction cable bushing, hinge blocks for custom mounting bracket
  •  Rudder blade wood core - 1/16" (1,58mm) plywood stiffening core
  •  Rudder cable Kit - two 10' (3,04m) lengths of stainless steel cable, two 7' (2,13m) lengths of cable guide, 4 brass chrome plated caps and 4 ferrules to make attachment loops to the footbraces. Stainless steel "eyes" are permanently swaged (crimped) onto the other cable ends for easy attachment to the rudder.
  • Stainless rudder bracket - (optional) This Square bracket is useful only for square stern kayaks. Select kit with bracket in the Web Store.

Note: the kit contains the essential mechanical components (hardware) that hold the rudder together and make it functional (retraction and deployment). The actual rudder blade, body (wings) and mounting brackets are a do-it-yourself project as far as the composite lay-up goes - NO composite materials (carbon or epoxy) or pre-made parts (finshed rudder blade or wings) are included in the kit !
Check out the Construction Intro for rudder mounting solutions and overview of all composite parts you will be building!
See the Resources page for sources of epoxy, Carbon fabric and fiberglass(optional). The Rudder Manual also has a list of links to many composite supply places.

To learn more about epoxy, see the Epoxy Test. Reinforcement fabrics are illustrated in the Abrasion Fabrics page.

The on-line rudder manual illustrates step by step construction of a composite bracket to fit any kayak stern. The Kit provides the plastic hinge blocks used in the composite bracket. Square stern kayaks can accept this Mouning bracket (option in the rudder kit). See the Construction Intro for the issues and solutions.

Item Price US $
Rudder Plans $25
Rudder Mechanism KIT (plans, hardware, cable kit) $69
Rudder Mechanism KIT without cable kit $49
Stainless rudder Mounting bracket $16
Rudder Cable KIT $29

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by Credit Card or see the Order page for other options.
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If you notice any problems with the site (i.e. error links, missing images) please, let me know. Thanks

Vaclav Stejskal
10 Colonial Court apt. 73
Stoneham, MA. 02180
Tel:  781-481-9261


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Last page update: 11 January 2020