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A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

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A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby Yako » 21 Mar 2021, 22:34

Looking for some tips from those who sail their AI's in higher winds, how do you control your rudder when you're trying to keep tacking for maximum speed.
I took my New/Old AI out yesterday for the first time and was struggling to stop the rudder turning in the direction the wind was blowing.

I'm toying with the idea of making up some type of Tiller linkage system straight back to the rudder very much like I've used on Hobie 14 and 16's.
I was leaning out on the tramps counter balancing the wind the keep the opposite AMA submarining and trying to use my foot to keep the rudder in the desired position.
I'm a little concerned to put a knob on the steering handle and then adding an adjustable steering tiller stick as I'm concerned the force on the control lines may overload them, interested to hear your thoughts.


Next sail will be with larger Tandem AMA's I have also which hopefully will allow me to go faster with less submarining.
Interested to hear those of you who sail AI's and T.I's
I got a bit wet but it was loads of fun and loads of customising to do.
AKA boards so I can sit further out in higher winds and for fishing off (interested on your thoughts there).

Looking at a seat like this to keep out of sitting in the water but open to other suggestions:
https://www.catch.com.au/product/blackh ... gIyK_D_BwE

Fishfinder arriving this week hopefully ( this A.I model was just before the they started Lowrance/Transducer ready) so I gotta figure out how to mount the Transducer underneath. I'm contemplating something along the lines of the Berley Pro Transducer covers although I'm not to sure the Black ABS is strong enough (based on my Hook 2 5 Cover). I need it external because the finder has side scan. I might run the cable through the seat scupper, although I'm strongly considering welding a new "Scupper tube" in place specifically for the cable.

Once I've got a few things dialed in I hope to be doing some offshore runs looking for Tuna.
Gotta admit though mixing pedaling with sail is huge fun.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby shane » 21 Mar 2021, 23:23

Congratulations on the new/old AI Rich. :up:

First question regarding the rudder is are you locking it down when sailing using the RH lock down cord? The AI has a cord on the left to raise the rudder and another on the right to lock it down. If you aren't locking it down with the cord on the right then the rudder will fight you due to the water pressure, making it very hard to maintain direction. I also thought it may be the older style twist and stowe AI rudder but judging by your comments on its age, it should have the vertical up/down only rudder on current models.

The larger ammas may help with sailing in rougher conditions. Mingle had a set on his old AI so he may be able to comment or else search on here for the thread. That earlier model AI is known to submarine a lot in rough conditions so make sure your hatches seal well. Also check out the rear rudder lines to make sure they seal well as they can be underwater if heavily loaded or in rough conditions.

Changing the standard seat to a skipper or vantage style seat is a must on the odler AI's. The link you provided didn't work, but I think you meant this one: https://www.catch.com.au/product/blackhawk-kayak-hard-seat-6267012/?sid=blackhawk%20seat&sp=2&st=32&srtrev=sj-7jheanvobm2j8ehe2fz1bn.click. That looks like a good seat to try. I've had skipper style padded boat seats and now the Hobie Vantage seat and the vantage style seats like the one in the link are better. I'd be tempted to get one and work out how best to mount it so it comes on and off easily while being secure. One thing to note, try to spread the load out and don't concentrate it on the flat area above and behind the seat well. The older AI's will flex through the rear cup holder if weight is concentrated and can develop a crack at the vee of the cup holder. Try to have bars that spreads to load across to each side gunnel.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby Yako » 21 Mar 2021, 23:40

Thanks Shane, yes the seat does look like that.
I did recently get one very similar which I fitted in my Revo 16, except my Wife has used it and seemed to find it comfortable (I haven't tired it), so I might go for that. I had to cut the cross bars off but managed to secure it using cable ties to the front black plastic screw eye "Grommets" and at the back ran a piece of webbing to hold it down sitting just in front of the trolley scupper tubes.

The Rudder is the Large sailing rudder but perhaps I didn't lock it down into the roller cleat properly. I have the twist n stow on the Revo and this is different
I noticed the rudder has 2 tubes about 1m long inside the hull at the rear that fit into 2 small black receivers, I presume to try stop water coming back into the control line holes.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby shane » 21 Mar 2021, 23:56

Yako wrote:The Rudder is the Large sailing rudder but perhaps I didn't lock it down into the roller cleat properly. I have the twist n stow on the Revo and this is different
I noticed the rudder has 2 tubes about 1m long inside the hull at the rear that fit into 2 small black receivers, I presume to try stop water coming back into the control line holes.


Make sure the down line is tight an cleated next time and see if it makes a difference. I actually didn't know this the first time I had my old AI offshore and was wondering why it was so hard to hold the rudder straight. :oops:

With the rudder lines check that the tube inside runs all the way up to the rear and that the black end sheath is properly fitted and has the inserts sealing against the line. Here is my old thread where I noticed the leaks through these lines and how I fixed them: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=23046&p=246678&hilit=ai+rudder+leak#p246678
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby maverick » 22 Mar 2021, 10:58

All seems to be covered above. You can put silicone on the guide entrances, just keep the lines moving until the silicone sets. Helps seal it a little better.

Doesn't hurt to chnage the rudder pin either, at least check it for wear. Same with the AKA pins, if you are using plastic pins.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby Yako » 22 Mar 2021, 19:32

Thanks for the tips.
It appears the bloke made some AKA pins out of stainless steel attached to pieces of shock cord.
From your comments is this over kill should I hit something?
What pins do you use on your AI?
Do you have spray skirts, or does the newer AI not need them?
I’m no machinist but am thinking of getting some heavy duty black shade cloth and making up a set.
Any other tips you could suggest would be appreciated.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby maverick » 23 Mar 2021, 10:57

I use stainless pins. Arguments for and against stainless, I like the idea of the pins not breaking in bad weather.

I leave one side of the yak free so I can fold in the Ama in to land bigger fish, spray skirts would stop this. An issue with spray skirts is that if the waves get on top of it, they can potentially drive the yak further under the water. On the other side of mine, I have a timber and aluminium set up for the big catch bag to sit on.
Last edited by maverick on 23 Mar 2021, 19:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby Fish Grylls » 23 Mar 2021, 17:45

Congrats on the AI. Impressive armada of kayaks in your collection. Have you still got the 13 and 16?. The stainless aka pins are a no brainer for me. There is some good discussion here somewhere on the pros and cons of the stainless pins. Basically avoiding a serious failure of the akas at sea versus avoiding damage to the aka arms if you hit something coming in. I know what I would prefer.
I have the 2011 AI and I can vouch the there is not much neutral buoyancy in the hull. I have included about 7 wheelbarrow tyre inners in the hull for added bouyancy. Also added an pump access port that will allow me to pump out the hull even if it is underwater.
Happy sailing and fishing.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby shane » 24 Mar 2021, 11:34

I use stainless aka bolts. It's a no brainer for me after seeing Cruiser capsize after breaking a nylon pin in fairly routine conditions.

It's not a perfect solution. I did shatter an aka knuckle and lose the whole aka arm after hitting a decent wave at the wrong angle that a nylon bolt would have prevented. But I'd rather that than having an instant capsize when sailing at speed way offshore.

Regarding tramps and spray skirts. I don't like spray skirts due to complexity and what Mav mentioned. You will get wet with spray regardless so just do without. I only run a tramp on the left side to keep the right side free for landing fish etc. On my older AI I ran a haka (aluminium ladder style) across the akas above the tramp with my catch bag on the haka. I ended up ditching the Hobie tramp as it would hang down too and catch waves. As an alternative I made up a tramp out of shade sail attached to the haka, spanning across to attachments at the yak. This was much higher up and still provided a good surface for extra gear and landing fish etc.
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Re: A.I Rudder Steering Tips +

Postby Yako » 24 Mar 2021, 23:02

Thanks for the input.
I’m hoping to go for a sail off Morno probably Saturday morning, the winds looking light enough.
I might give it a go without the tramps. I might look at a Haka setup too although not sure when I’ll get round to that.
I’ll be trying it out with Tandem AMA’s to see how it performs also compared to the std one’s .
Fishfinder arrived, now to figure how to fit it.
I asked Hobie USA if I could buy a chopped up ex demo/warranty kayak just the Lowrance ready or Guardian section , but sadly they flat out said NO.
Tried all the local dealers and got Nah mate nothing like that.
I’m trying on the Hobie FB pages to see if anyone has an insurance write off I could just buy that piece of the hull so I can weld it into place. I really don’t want to use Railblaza etc over the side as I’m running sidescan on the finder and really don’t need more clutter on deck.
Otherwise I could end up making some type of base and use a Berleypro Transducer cover and then run some LDPE Tube up to the deck.
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