Upgrade for your Fishing Kayak - Toe Pilot Upgrade E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2009 23:05

Here is a simple winter project that will make your kayak rudder system more functional and even easier to use.

Setup

Most traditional kayak rudder systems are controlled by two foot braces mounted on rails. The rails slide back and forth on fixed tracks. The rudder cables are attached to the rails so that when you push forward with your right foot and leg the rudder turns right and the left slide moves back towards you and visa versa.

Here is a picture of a standard rudder control system (track, slide, and foot brace):

 

A toe pilot rudder control system eliminates the rail that slides back and forth in the track; instead, the control pedal is mounted on a pivot which only requires you to flex your ankle and minimizes the need to move your entire leg. Here is a picture of an installed toe pilot rudder control system.

begin

When upgrading to a toe pilot system you will utilize your existing rudder, you will only be replacing the existing foot braces and the existing rudder cables with longer rudder cables. Here is a picture of everything you will need to complete the upgrade (this Toe Pilot Upgrade Kit is available at Kayak Fishing Stuff.

toe pilots

The first step to making the upgrade will be to remove your existing foot braces and rudder cables. Some foot braces are bolted through with bolts and backing nuts and some are held in placed by bolts threaded into a fixed nut, be careful not to strip the Philips head or any of the threads. After the braces are removed set them aside, you may be able to use them for a future rigging project.

Now that your existing rudder control components are removed you are ready install the toe pilot controls. (Note: The distance between foot braces mounting holes is not standard. You may need to widen an existing hole slightly or make a new hole to accommodate the new controls.)

When mounting the toe pilot brace on a sit on top kayak you will also want to mount a deck-line rigging clip in between the rear hole of each brace as a guide for the cable. This guide will keep the cable from rubbing against the brace possibly forming a groove over time. Here is a picture the shows how the guide is attached to the control arm and another that illustrates how the cable routes through the guide:

toe pilots

Toe pilots

Once the braces are installed you are ready to route your new rudder cable through your existing rudder tubing. The toe pilot braces are fitted with a tension control mechanism.

View

This tension adjuster makes it very easy to fine tune your cable after it is installed, this is also where the forward end of the cable is attached. The rear end of the cable gets attached to your rudder as it was before. The following series of pictures illustrate how the cables are attached and how they are routed.

Another shot

picture

nice job

almost done

toe pilots

toe pilots

When adjusting the final cable length start by attaching a copper crimp one end of the cable and then push the non crimped end of the cable through the tubing. Then route the cable through the toe pilot control as pictured. At this point gently pull the cable towards the front of the kayak so that there is no slack in the line - the rudder should wind up in the fully turned position. With the cable held in this manner also tilt the control pedal forward as you would when operating the rudder and mentally or physically mark a spot on the cable where the second cooper crimp needs to be installed. (Note: You can be off slightly here because the tension control mechanism will allow you to take up or give back a little slack in the cable if needed). Finally, install the cooper crimp and repeat for the procedure on the opposite control arm.

That’s it – all you need is some open water and you’re ready to use your new toe pilot system.

 

 

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