I was not expecting a great deal from the Skudder in rudder mode. I was wrong and as the months on test went by, I found I was using the rudder mode more and more, even without the sail! It is not a panacea for manoeuvring a kayak but unlike some systems I have tried, it does have a big enough blade to be effective, even when paddling at 45 degrees to the wind (when some rudder systems are better lifted as they cause lee cocking if you cannot paddle fast enough). The 5* paddler felt there was no need for the rudder as the Scorpio MV was so manoeuvrable when edged. Initially I agreed but then I discovered that the Skudder works remarkably well for more advanced paddlers when used with edging and steering strokes. Then I noticed that two of the early intermediate paddlers had started to automatically edge the kayak when they were using the Skudder! The beginners loved it.
Well first of all it proved incredibly reliable and It did not need any adjustment during the test. Unlike the more expensive Kar-itek skeg/rudder (which I have used over many years) it does not self centre as you lift it. This means you need to centre it with your feet first. Until you get used to this, do not leave it till the last minute before landing!
Overall the Skudder grew on me to the extent that over the months on test I ended up using it most of the time! I got so used to it that when I first got back in my Aries 155 I was pushing the bulkhead with my toes every time I turned, trying to get the rudder to turn! The Skudder is incredibly well designed and engineered, especially given the price of the boat it is fitted to. It works well in either skeg or rudder mode, indeed it is stiffer than the standard P&H skeg. Given the small price premium being asked I suggest that anyone buying a P&H boat that the Skudder is offered with would be mad not to give it a try.