Does this boat need a skeg for certain conditions?
I have one without a skeg
it tracks really well without a skeg, especially with some weight in it. However, in high winds all kayaks benefit from either a skeg or rudder.
I use mine often.
It’s a loose boat unless loaded for a trip then a rudder would be helpful.
that's why they added it. A friend used one without a skeg on a Maine trip all loaded up. While his technique could have used some improvement we had to take a course with two tacks because he just got tired leaning on one side for hours on end.
some more than others
I like the Caribou but it benefits from the option.
Had a “Bou S”…
For several years and while it doesn’t NEED a skeg it sure came in handy at times. I think it is less skeg dependent than a lot of boats because the hard chines can compensate quite a bit but the skeg makes it a great boat and life much easier.
My old 'bou is skegless
I’ve had my Caribou for ten years now (pre-skeg model), and though it will weathercock in certain conditions, I’ve never felt the need for a skeg. A bit of ballast and good trim help, but even very lightly loaded, it’s a lively, fun boat.
Since I built the S&G Arctic Hawk a few years ago, I haven’t paddled the Caribou as much, but now that I’ve got the Hawk in the shop for re-varnishing, I’m enjoying the 'bou again.
I know that many people really feel that it needs a skeg, but I’m glad to not have the hole in the hull, the space taken up in the boat, and the mechanical stuff to deal with. Simple is good, in my opinion; body, boat, and blade is just fine with me!
Paddled the pre-S version for years
I must say I never needed a skeg, and as someone else mentions here, the extra room in the rear, as well as a much lighter boat (42lbs. in kevlar)resulting from no cable, skeg box & skeg was very nice. What wasn’t too much fun was the extended edging required on loooong runs to keep it tracking in adverse winds. Surfing required a bit more concentration to keep from broaching also. Sold the Bou eventually, and if they ever make one a foot or so longer and maybe 1.5-2" narrower, I’d jump all over it… but as I know better now, with a drop skeg. I’ve owned an Andromeda, Pintail & a Vivianne since, and their skegs made life a whoooole lot more enjoyable in the rough stuff & high winds. I’ve learned to live w/o the extra space and a bit more weight while lifting to the car top.
I installed one in mine
I have a pre-skeg 'Bou, and paddled it for 7 years without a skeg. A little ballast in the stern and good edging technique served me well the whole time.
Then I bought a boat that didn’t weathercock in almost all conditions I’d find myself paddling in. After a year of padling that, I got lazy, and decided to put a skeg in the Caribou. It has been a positive addition, IMO, especially in quartering winds and surfing. I still paddle without it deployed the majority of the time, but it’s good to have sometimes.
So I guess my answer is that it doesn’t “need” a skeg, but benefits from having one.
Skeg on Caribou
The skeg helps, especially when you don’t have much weight in the boat. I am usually in current and/or wind, and the skeg on my Caribou tends to be half down or all the way down. If you look at the skeg action, you can see that you have to adjust the slider about 75% down to get the skeg to stick half way down.
I pull up the skeg before major course changes.
Sold My 'Bou S
Yeah, I like’d the skeg on this kayak. A skeg on the Caribou works almost flawlessly. V…e…r…y…N…i…c…e
I miss my 'Bou
Yes, Glenn that Bou is nice!