Rudder solutions for Sargassum weed

1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #34111 by d0uglass




I was stoked to get 2nd place on Saturday in a race around Key West, Florida, on my Stellar SEI 1g, though I was far off the time of the lead surfski (2:05 hrs for me vs. 1:51 hrs for him), especially in the upwind / sidewind grinding sections and where the floating Sargassum seaweed was bad. I was also passed by three good OC1 / Va'a paddlers. The lead surfski and overall race winner was a South African guy named Kevin who had rigged his Fenn Elite S with an over-stern K1 rudder that would flip up automatically to shed weeds. I'm pretty sure I was getting weeds even on my "weedless" DK HC 7" rudder. Many of the other competitors, even those with swept rudders, complained about weeds and had to stop to shed weeds, etc. I think the buoyant air bladders in the Sargassum weed make it stick onto even fairly swept rudders, but it might shed more easily off of SHORT swept rudders. I know the weeds were only part of why I was slower, and I also need to work on strength, stamina, paddling technique, and being able to use a narrower lighter boat, but I would like to eliminate the weed worry if possible to improve my time in this race next year. 

Has anyone else encountered this problem with Sargassum (floating brown seaweed increasingly common in the Atlantic / Caribbean)? What are your rudder solutions? Attached is a pic of my rudder setup, and a pic of the weeds in the race. 

Stellar SEI 1g
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1 year 4 months ago #34112 by waterbornewarrior
1. More angle (45 degrees vs your current 40).
2. Smaller (4" deep vs your current 7").
3.  Eliminate the gap between your weed guard and the front tip of the rudder.  (Move the guard, or order another rudder and provide the spacing measurement).
4.  Race and train somewhere with less aggressive weed?!  Just kidding.

Don (DK)

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