Raptor UK canoe sailing

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September 2009

blocks can rotate freely, to minimise rudder cable twist (although this cannot be avoided totally), so the screws attaching them to the carriage should not be over-tightened.

DaveP's idea of installing the rudder cables on the outside of the hull results in a much straighter pull on the rudder carriage at the extremes of rudder travel compared to previously. Installing the rudder stops allows the ends of the outer cable to be extended aft of the transom without the risk of the rudder carriage hitting these ends, and this in turn allows the outer cables to bend towards the blocks, providing a straight pull and reducing friction and wear. Hopefully this rudder cable setup will not require further attention for several years.

I found the instructions provided with the Nicopress tool confusing, as the diagram above the 'stop sleeve' section was incorrect. My first trial swaging operation produced a stop profile that was totally different to the one shown in the illustration on the stop sleeve instructions page, with 'lugs' squeezed out along the length of the stop sleeve, rather than the centre of the sleeve being squeezed in, as in the illustration. After various emails to Nicopress, I learned that I had applied the stop correctly. They describe the lugs as "flash", and the sleeve must fit lug-first (not lug to each side) into the 'Oval C' slot of the gauge after a single crimp per sleeve. I found it quite an easy tool to use, although it's even easier with an extra pair of hands to hold the sleeve and wire in place as the tool is squeezed closed. The extra leverage due to the long handles means that much less force is required on the handles compared to the cheaper tool. For stop sleeve crimping, I don't believe that there is any satisfactory substitute for the genuine, approved tool.

I travelled down to the Coniston Water campsite on Thursday, 17 September so that I could take my Raptor into the Solway Dory workshop on Friday morning, and arrived there at about 10 a.m. They first removed the two old rudder pedal hinges and cleaned old sealant from underneath. They then decided on the optimum position for the new hinges, taking into account the rudder pedal travel required, and drilled the first new hole through the cockpit floor. They were surprised to hit metal. It appears there is a metal plate enclosed within the cockpit floor glass fibre, so it is not visible from above or below. With the first hole drilled, white silicone sealant was applied to the base of the new hinge and it was bolted in place, before the second hole was drilled through the hinge, cockpit floor and backing plate. Excess sealant was wiped clear and acetone used for a final clean-up. Once both new hinges with pedals attached had been installed, the new inner cables were pushed through the outer cables and fed through the holes in each pedal. DaveP bevelled these first to make the edges less sharp. With the rudder set in-line with the hull, the rudder pedals were aligned and copper stop sleeves were crimped onto the front end of each cable. Excess inner cable length was then cut off using the (very effective) wire cutter on the 64-CGMPCT tool. The old rudder pedal shock cord had been cut off to facilitate this operation, and new shock cord was now attached to the pedals and fed through the forward cockpit fairlead. The work was completed by midday, and Solway Dory's charge for two hours' work plus two new hinges was GBP 50.

Everything seemed to work well in the workshop but the weekend's meet provided me with an opportunity to try out the new rudder setup on the water. Conditions were not as extreme as at many of the meets this year (there have been strong winds at Rutland, Bala, Tayvallich and Loch Lomond), but we had two days of good sailing with only a short period on Saturday afternoon when the wind disappeared. On Saturday we sailed down as a group towards Peel Island where we ate our packed lunches, either on the island itself or on a nearby beach. I then paddled on to the start of the River Crake at the southern end of Coniston Water and, by the time I had paddled back to Peel Island, the

wind had returned and I was able to sail north to Brantwood, arriving in time for tea.

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