snapped Hurricane cable/safety while paddling

I have a Hurricane that I purchased in 2005, it is the model that has the Spectra cables that run completely through the inside of the boat (unlike the previous model where the cable would be visible at the tail near the rudder). I am wondering, if one of the cables were to break while out paddling, do I have any options other than using rubber to tie the rudder in place straight (I carry old cut up lengths of bicycle tubing when I go out)? I know some guys when their older model Hurricanes had cable breaks midpaddle they would tie a length of fishing line outside the boat from the pedal to the rudder control in the back on top of the boat; but my model has everything enclosed inside of the boat so I don't see how something like that is possible with my boat.

I do try to be extra careful because sometimes I paddle by myself and even though I stay close in I would like to be prepared for any situation, and so I'm looking for more options on the broken cable thing. I experimented and rubbered the rudder in place once and tried to paddle around with it like that.......and it's super difficult, I don't know if I could get my sorry ass back to shore doing that.

Also, if anyone has any advice on how often the functioning Spectra cables should be replaced as routine preventive maintenance, please chine (har, har, har) in. I've heard opinions from "that stuff never snaps" to "you should be replacing that every year". Really appreciate any input, thank you.


Submitted by girliegirl on Mon, 01/28/2008 - 5:16pm

Yea girl,
I just want to chine in ;). Ive experienced broken rudders, cables and pedals. With the hurricane, cables never broke, just everything else in the steering system ie: rudder, rudder housing and pedals. Theres almost nothing you can do to avoid it, save replacing everything periodically.

Good maintenance and storage is key. If your steering feels tight, try troubleshooting and isolate the issue. Check your rudder housing for signs of wear and tare -primarily the plastic that attaches the cables to the rudder. Make sure the hex screw is tight.

Then be sure to take all the necessarily precautions and accessories like rubber ties, cell phone and telling someone your paddle plan. As much as paddle steering is difficult, practice by not using your peddles to steer once a week, you will find it has additional benefits.

Personally, I think you have to accept the fact that at some point you will need to swim to shore. If you don't think you can, then don't go out. There are techniques for long distance swimming that you can learn from going through a life guard course. Dont panic when the time comes, you signed up to be a paddler, now its time to own up.

The ocean is in a constant state of change from tides, swell, storms and more. The most experienced waterman is at the oceans mercy.
girly, your in the right state of mind to be asking this question. I wish you the best.

#1 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 8:56pm

you could learn to paddle rudderless?

#2 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 9:04pm

If you use the rubber to lock the rudder in straight, is it that hard to guide an OC-1 by steering with the paddle? Not being wise...I'll have to try it.

#3 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 9:13pm

i know you asked about the hurricane, but here are a couple options re: broken cable...

1)rubber it straight, like you mentioned.. for a hurricane, that might be the only option since you can't access the guts, unless you're carrying around the tool..

2)tie a mini bungee cord from rudder cross bar, to provide opposing tension to remaining cable- that way you use the remaining pedal to work the rudder... (again, hurricane won't work since the guts are under the cover).. depending on which direction you tie the bungee will determine which side of the cross bar you tie off to....i think rambo was referring to a solution conceptually like this is a post earlier, except i'm sure he has it tricked out.. i was thinking about a method where you bring a rubber and a small bungee, and if the cable breaks, you wrap the rubber tight at the back tip of your boat, and hook one end of the bungee to the rubber and the other end on the rudder crossbar to provide the opposing tension- if both cables break, you loop the bungee through the rubber and hook both ends of the crossbar, so at least the rudder stays straight... worse case scenarios right?

3) splice broken cable with shoestring or something similar

4) all else fails, tie a shirt or rashguard to rudder, and its drag will keep the rudder straight, but obviously will slow you the hell down- that was given to me by a kiteboarder as a sailboarding macgyver fix, so can't vouch for it, but makes sense... probably be the no other options option, but it's interesting... better than having the rudder twist around every time a wave passes over, which having been through it on a big day with big winds and rocks nearby is no fun.. you can deal with being rudderless by paddle steering, it's a whole nother ball game when your rudder is directionless and working against you.

#4 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 10:17pm

Thanks for reminding me to post the single rudder cable rig Dacho, had forgotten i promised to post the details of a permanent safety setup.

You can also jamb the rudder straight with a small piece of foam between the hull and the top rear edge of the rudder, even in emergencies, rip a chunk out of your seat and use that.

Single cable rig technique coming up next.

Cheers Rambo

#5 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 10:18pm

and of course, like nem0 said

you can always swim...

#6 Mon, 01/28/2008 - 10:24pm

I would stay with the boat and wait for help, ditching a potential life saving platform at sea could prove costly if your judgement on swimming to shore proves to be wrong.

Cheers Rambo

#7 Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:49am

I only want to make one comment about the Hex / set screw on the Hurricane. It is very important that you do not make it too tight, This puts a lot of stress on the piece that holds the rudder, The added stress will cause it to break, If you have an original Hurricane rudder it has an indentation on the shaft for the set screw to sit in, Even if it is loose the rudder can't fall out. If you have an after market rudder make a flat area that creates a lip above the set screw to do the same thing. A simple metal file can be used to do this.

#8 Tue, 01/29/2008 - 4:48am

Add some chines....

Actually, short of caring spare cables/strings or a rubber tube to tie the rudder down, you're sort of SOL. A spinning rudder is worse than a straight one or not having one at all when you're out in the open ocean. If you can detach the rudder and pull it out, your better off paddling without one. Problem is, the thingamajigs on the new hurricanes are inaccessible. You need at least a phillips screw driver and an allen wrench to detach the rudder. I'm sure i'm missing a host of other tools that are also required. Speaking of which, this bring to mind one of my major gripes about these new fangled canoes. In their quest to make things pretty and unique, the manufactures have made the canoes less user friendly with carbon ama's, plastic sleaves, hidden cables, hidden rudder attachments and bow string cables that are difficult to find.

I had a friend who suffered a bow string failure doing a Hawaii Kai run. He desparately tried to break the other side of the cable because the cable kept turning the canoe in one direction. When that failed, he had to drag one leg in the water while paddling to keep the boat straight until he reached shore. Needless to say, he developed some serious problems with his stroke technique and can only paddle now if he drags his foot in the water. :P

#9 Tue, 01/29/2008 - 8:10pm

Maybe your friend needs to add a single chine ...

Speaking of chines, the Zephyr is a very, very appealing boat, just by looking at it. I hear praise from friends that have demo'ed it. Last Sunday I met another friend who had actually bought one ...

They should trade in Fusions shouldn't they ? :)

#10 Tue, 01/29/2008 - 8:37pm

Stay with the canoe always ,no matter what , never leave the canoe. Drop a foot in the water is the best solution, I would say and keep your cool. don’t panic. Sitting on a broken canoe you have days, swimming you have less time.

mind you it snowing here right now

#11 Tue, 01/29/2008 - 10:00pm

I would be a real service if a such emergency fixes could be filed somewhere...I cut a length of tube with two hooks on it so I could rig the rudder if one side broke per Rambos suggestion...I think it will work!

The other ideas about jamming the rudder with foam, creating drag, putting a foot in etc, this is good stuff.

What if the iakos fail. I guess having a baby on the way makes you want to cover the bases so something totally stupid and preventable doesnt screw you...somewhere between this and "I will not live a timid life to arrive safely at death"

Thanks for the knowledge!!

#12 Wed, 01/30/2008 - 12:40am

Iakos hardly ever fail, as in braking apart. If anything they come loose from the attachments, which means probably operator fault, or you hit something, surfed too big of a wave etc. Same deal, have some rubber handy and attach with that. At this point speed of motion doesn't matter anymore. Wrap the rubber even around the hull if need be.
In flight school the first thing they teach you is the preflight inspection. That's a walkaround where you check everything that moves. Make something like that a religious routine for your boat. Fix it or don't go.
If in trouble stay with your boat unless you are super close to shore. Next time take a head of cabbage with you and drop it in the water. Paddle away from it for a few hundred yards, turn around and try to find it.
Good luck, but not going to happen. That cabbage is now your invisible noggin, if you leave your boat.

#13 Wed, 01/30/2008 - 7:57am

Kanu The Rock

I keep a small bag on the deck with pre-cut pre-prepared emergency rudder cables made out of heavy test twine and fishing leders each end to attach to pedals/rudder assembly to run along top deck & under seat in case of rudder cable failure. Also keep here a roll of Tuck tape (building wrap tape which sticks to wet surfaces) to make emergency repairs if I need it. Here running into jagged rocks is a possibility and I've done it.
Happy paddling

#14 Wed, 01/30/2008 - 1:31pm

Good stuff!

#15 Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:26pm

I was was watching a video of Danny C paddling around the OC-1 without the ama...looked like a surf ski, maybe a good marketing twist, convertable oc-1 to ski

#16 Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:30pm

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