The Mac26s does have surge brakes. (if they are properly adjusted)
They also are applied if the hitch becomes disconnected. Thats why you can't back up a steep hill without defeating this feature with a bolt.
The brakes on the Mac 26S trailer are not 'surge brakes' but are designed to activate when the trailer 'disconnects' from the hitch. For some reason, unknown to man, on two occasions they have closed and burnt the bearings. I now have them disconnected.
Regards the rudder, I also made one from a chunk of cherry, it worked, but take a look at IDA Sailor, theirs looks great and works great.
Back to the pop-top cover:
It's either wet or dry out when anchored
if wet the cover gets wet and is a bitch to store. So I don't use it.
if dry, then one of the above: hot, cold, comfortable
if hot and dry, the pop top is open and the cover stops the wind and I don't use it.
if cold and dry, the pop top is closed to conserve the heat, no cover.
if comfortable and dry, the pop top is open and I enjoy the breeze, no cover.
In any case it makes a nice pad in the V-berth for all the other stuff I put in the boat.
Another 'problem' I have had was the porta-potty. It's guts finally rotted out, the pump sprung leaks all around. I replace it with a larger model by the same manufacturer (From Cabelas), Now it will hold at least a full week's worth 'product' from two users.
Enjoy the boat,
"Sails on Masts not Masts on Sails"