Canoe skeg?

where you paddlin’?
3 to 4 foot waves are HUGE! I’m thinking you actually mean 1.5 to 2 foot waves. it’s measured by midpoint to crest, not trough to crest. maybe you are paddling that boat in those conditions. if so, the trough to crest length would be as tall or taller than you or I.

Fixed rudder = skeg
At least that’s my take on it.

My rudder is controlled by a steerstick not foot pedals so I can not steer with it while paddling. I kneel all the time so foot pedals are of no value to me.

I have a touring kayak with a retractable skeg that’s pretty handy when that breeze is coming from behind. So I thought that if I lashed the stick I might get the same benefit from the rudder.

In maybe 2’ (peak to through) waves driven by about a 20 mph tail wind I had a good test.

What I found was that the Osprey still wanted to turn sideways to the wind but with the rudder/skeg down I could not correct with my paddle. With the rudder/skeg up it took some effort to hold my course but it was doable.

3 - 4 foot waves downwind
Well, Tommy, I’ll have to try this again next year. That time on Lake Erie, paddling downwind, the rudder was doing the lion’s share of the steering and my paddle the lesser. My bow partner on the trip was a very strong, gung-ho type of fellow, not easily spooked by big waves. He enthusiastically kept paddling harder and harder trying to surf down the face of them, which we did quite often. I sat grim-faced in the stern wondering if I could hold the boat perpendicular to those waves. I think we both succeeded at our respective tasks that day. He’s now ordering Lake Erie’s second decked sailing canoe for next spring.

Wave Heights…I was under the impression that waves heights were measured trough to crest, at least those reported on my weather radio. Do let me know if I’m incorrect.

I was out in Lake Erie where winds of about 15 knots will generate 3 - 4 foot waves (trough to crest).

The forecast will sound like: ‘Winds 10 to 20 knots; waves 2 to 4 feet’.

3 foot waves will come about up to eye level and 4 footers hide the horizon. 5 footers (I’ve only encountered them as rare ‘rogue’ waves) cause the boat to rise up, over and ka-boom, down. My gung-ho companion would ‘whoop’ as we came over the crest. So would I, but for different reasons.

Interestingly the worst waves are smaller ones out of rhythm with the rest that slopped overboard.

It should be noted that I’m normally either in my Guideboat or decked sailing canoe in these conditions.

Once, and only once, I had my Souris River 17 foot open lake tripping canoe out as my wife and I were crossing to the Lake Erie Islands. The highest waves were around 3 feet with a rare 4 footer. It took us several hours in that headwind to paddle 6 miles with the stern constantly trying to steer and the bow occasionally bailing. It was that experience that led us to the low seating and decking of the sailing canoe.