Can't thread kayak's skeg line. Argh!

That was me screaming in the workshop last night about midnight. After two-three hours of trying this and that, I had finally managed to get a length of monofilament through the skeg-line tube on the Azul Sultan kayak. I have some nylon line that is just less than the dimension of the old skeg line. Tying a knot around the nylon line made the assembly too thick to pull through the housing. I got the mono inside the sheath of the nylon line, poking it out through the side of the line a half inch or so later. I melted some of the mono to form a glob on the end of the mono so it wouldn’t pull back through the sheath. Then I began carefully pulling the nylon/mono assembly into the skeg cable housing. The scream of agony occured when the mono pulled out of the nylon line about half way through the skeg cable housing.

So, please share any tricks you have for replacing a skeg line.

Some particulars: the original line is 1/8 or 3/16 and is stiffer than what I was trying to use as a replacement. Is the line treated with wax or something to make it resist water intrusion?

The “tube”: What I see is the opening beside the cockpit, and an opening at the top of the skeg box. There’s about 8" of translucent nylon tube that attaches to the inside of the skeg box and leads to the top edge of the hull. The line is buried in fiberglass between the opening near the cockpit where the nylon tube carries it from the edge of the hull to top center on the skeg box. There’s a brass nut at the junction of the skeg box and the nylon tube. It looked like I could detach the nut, but the nylon tube wants to turn with the nut, and it didn’t seem like a good idea to twist the tube extensively, so the nut stayed on and the tube is still attached to the skeg box.

I planned for this boat to be on the truck right now, so I could leave for Raystown after work. Instead, the kayak is in the shop and I burned up my packing time fahduperating with the skeg-line.

Searched forums–this has to have come up before–found nada.

Help, please & TIA


This may be worth nothing, but…
I had a similar problem repairing something (I think it was a tent) that I couldn’t get the line to run through. I eventually found that inserting a stiff wire from the other direction through the channel, and then hooking the line on a barb or hook formed at the end of the wire, and then pulling the wire back through worked so easy it was ridiculous. I don’t know it the anatomy of your kayak will let you do something similar. If not, perhaps you could use a still wire with some sort of hook to push the line through? Assuming of course you can easily disengage the wire once you have done so.

Other than that, I’ve never worked on a kayak like that, so I’m no help. Sorry bout that and all.


use a stainless wire available in the hardware section at lowes (Usually in the Picture wire section) you can solder or braze it, but suggest that epoxy would work…) attach the skeg wire to the stainless and let the connection dry…trim the end once it’s through

as for the lube, I’d use a silicone lube (Clear) that comes from auto parts places for uses in door hinges and window tracks etc…it’s a silicone that does not harden…

Cable vs. cord
The skeg control is a 3/16 or 1/8 braided nylon line, not steel or wire. Perhaps skeg “cable” is a misapplied term in this case. Skeg “rope”?


I wasn’t suggesting using wire as your skeg line…just using wire somehow to pull or push your braided rope through whatever channel it has to go through. If you can thread monofilament through it, I bet some stiffer wire would be even easier. But again, never tried this on a boat situation, so not sure if it would work for you.

-Have fun at Raystown, looks like you won’t have me camping next door to you this time. :frowning:


The up side of four-hour meetings
Just sat through a four-hour requirements review…not my favorite way to spend an afternoon. But, an idea popped into my head while a mumbling guy with a foreign accent was murdering the English language (but I have received “diversity training” so Ivalued his input nonetheless).

Had thought about the vacuum idea, but the cumulative friction and mechanical obstruction would, I think, stop the cord before it got all the way through. And there’s barely room for the cord in the channel, otherwise I could just knot the mono around it and pull it through. Pushing it with a wire…too tight, not room for both the cord and the wire.

My idea was to strip the cord’s sheath back an inch or so, cut away the core, and then pull the empty sheath back to the end. This should let me slide mono through the sheath and then tie a knot around the empty sheath. With the core removed to reduce the diameter, the knot shouldn’t stop the cord from going into the hole, and it should pull the cord from the center. If I can just get the mono back through again in less than the two hours it took me last night.

If it works, the boat goes. If not, there are other boats around the house.

Thanks for the ideas.

insert thin SS wire and CA glue
feed some thin ss wire thru the tube;

cut back the inner part of the cord;

insert the roughened(sandpaper, file, etc) end of the SS wire into the sheath or outer parts of the skeg cord and glue well with CA;

flat file glue blobbing smooth if nec. to fit inside tube;

then pull cord back thru tube and cut off as desired.

UFB how easy it can be
Yesterday I used ss twisted cable and bare copper #14 wire to lead the way through the tunnel. Probably was some dirt in there, but there are some mechanical joints in there too. I could get the wires 85% through, then they’d hit something and catch. I could hear it clicking up against something. Finally I just happened to hit the wire at the right angle and pushed it through, then retrieved the mono line on the copper. That, alone, took me two hours.

After work I shelled out $2 at the Depot and got some 1/16 ss cable sheathed in a vynel casing, altogether about 1/8" diameter. The end was nice and smooth and the cable slid through the tunnel in seconds. Retrieved 40# test mono through the tunnel.

I made one end of the cord hollow and attached the mono to the end with a little mini yoke such that the knot could go first into the tunnel. Pulled line right on through. Tied off skeg, trimmed the cockpit-end of the line to length, installed a stop knot, and tried it all out. Done. About a 30 minute job.

Amazing how easy it can be. Or not.

Another material to use as a lead in the tunnel might be the stiff but slick nylon string used in weed whackers.

Thanks for your thoughts, all.


This worked for me
Go to the Hardware store and find some “shrink tubing” in the electrical dept. Feed through the largest diameter string you can feed, then connect it with the new line using the shrink tubing. Shrink tubing is hollow and shrinks when heated. I used a torch, but you may be able to use a hair dryer. I also used a shop vac for assist in changing the lines in an Epic surf ski.

The suction idea has merit
This is a technique used by electricians to “pull” wire through conduit runs. They use a “mouse” tied to a cord tied to the wire.

If the cord is a fit tight enough to make threading difficult, lubing the skeg cord with silicone spray will make the job easier. A few turns of duct tape on the cord might make for a better seal.

I too have experienced the blood-boiling feeling when your pulling cord parts ways with the main cord halfway through. Screaming and swearing has always worked for me, but sometimes it takes a lot of time.