Over the past ten years or so when we've done most of our sailing in Fiji, there were many days with no wind or too much but we still wanted to go somewhere or go fishing.  The 2hp Yamaha motor was very reliable and could scoot us along at a respectable 6 knots +.  On this Tamanu I have the motor mount on the left and the rudder on the right, both within easy reach from my seat.  At times when landing under power in rough waves, I would need to use both the motor and rudder to steer.  

Originally I used a conventional kickup rudder, but there is nothing worse than trying to steer with one in shallow water when it is half way kicked up.  On my next canoe, the va'a motu, I used a modified cassette rudder than not only allows for perfect steering in the shallows but also kicks up if it hits bottom and snaps back when you reach the deep.

I put a hefty beam straight through both sides of the hull that supports the motor and takes the bottom gudgeon of the rudder.  A lighter cross piece is lashed on top of the gunwales to accept the upper rudder gudgeon.  After years of clamping outboard brackets to the aft crossbeam, I observed a Rarotongan fisherman with a simple 2x4 stuck through his hull with the motor clamped to it.  Simple and strong.


  1. Hi Gary I've just bent my rudder attachment by having it swing up while in stro g winds in shallow water. Would the cassette rudder work on my ulua? There is lots of shallow sailing I do here in Golden Bay so I often have the pivot bolt loosened but this has meant it bent when it swung up a bit when I was blasting along. The cassette rudder attachment in your images looks lots lighter than mine so that would be a bonus as well. Cheers Andrew

  2. Yes, I think you could make that work. Are you having any problem with the motor bracket mounting? If that is solid you could hang the rudder off of that. Otherwise you would need to put a piece of timber through the hull like the drawing above. Best to continue through e-mail.

    1. Cool. I've flicked you and email with couple of photos. Cheers Andrew


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