Dagger Meridian - Skeg

I’ve been through 3 skegs on my Dagger Meridian and I love the boat but need to come up with a better skeg system. It keeps jamming and the cable keeps kinking right at the cockpit adjustment.

Does anybody have a better fix for this thing? I love this boat for long distance touring, capacity, stable as a rock, and very manueverable in mangroves or small guts, but I have to have a functioning skeg in big water.<br />
Any help would be appreciated. or… does anybody want to buy a Meridian!!!

It’s not the skeg, it’s your technique
1) NEVER, repeat NEVER force a cable skeg if it’s jammed. That’s a guaranteed way to kink the cable.

2) Check the skeg function before putting in. Check it again as soon as you get on the water.

3) Don’t drag your boat with the stern on the ground, as it forces sand and gravel into the skeg box.

4) Learn to launch stern first or with the entire boat in the water.

5) Drill a small hole in the tip of the skeg and attach a short (~2") piece of cord to it. This provides something to grab to clear a jammed skeg.

Follow these suggestions and skeg jams will no longer be a problem.

…get that Caribou and be done with it… :wink:

let me clarify-
I was looking for folks who have the same problem with Dagger Skegs, and perhaps have an engineering answer for me.

  1. I don’t force a skeg, but when I’m in squirrely water, I need it to work and don’t have the luxury of having someone lower it for me with a piece of pre-drilled rope. It needs to work. It has never, ever, been easy to lower.

  2. Again, my problem is that the skeg kinks easily, before I get on the water and it doesn’t matter that the skeg box is completely clear. It is an engineering problem, not my careless paddling technique.

  3. A stern launch, is always my preferred technique, I always like it rear-first.

  4. I never, ever drag my stern end on the ground.

  5. If I have to drill a hole in my skeg to keep it clear, it seems to me there is a design problem.

  6. I have paddled many other boats with skegs, and don’t seem to have any problem with them. If a boat is not built for the outdoors, then it should just hang on the wall at home.

    Maybe the caribou is the best solution. That’s the best advice I’ve gotten. Let this just be a warning to other Dagger paddlers. I have owned 3 different Dagger boats, I’d like to be loyal, but this skeg design sucks. I appreciate the condescending advice, but if anyone has a real engineering solution, I’d be appreciative.

If the skeg is that stiff…

– Last Updated: Feb-10-05 9:22 AM EST –

...it indicates that either the cable needs lubrication (I should have mentioned in my previous post) or the skeg is binding in the skeg box, or both. Either condition should be easy to identify and correct.

For lubricants, I suggest either an anti-corrosive lube like Boeshield or one of the wax based bicycle chain lubes such as White Lightning or Krytech. The best way to lube the cable is to pull it out, wipe it down, then apply the lube. While you have the cable out, flush the housing with water to rinse out any accumulated sand or salt. While it's possible to work lubricant in from both ends of the cable, it's not as effective as the above method. Since you're trying to diagnose a skeg problem and may have a kinked cable anyway, pulling the cable is advisable.

If the skeg is binding in the skeg box, it's usually just a matter of replacing one or more of the centering spacers with a thinner one. If the spacers are rubber, replacing them with nylon or similar harder plastic should reduce binding. You can find nylon washers at most home centers and hardware stores. If the boat uses a pivot rod that cannot be removed, it will be necessary to split the spacer(s) with a utility knife in order to remove them. The thinner replacement(s) will need to be split in the same manner prior to installation. Twist the split open and pop the spacer(s) over the pivot rod. Don't worry about the split; once the skeg blade is back in place, it will keep the split(s) closed and the spacers will not come out. What you're trying to achieve is a close fit without any wobble, but that doesn't bind. Just get it as close as you can, with a little loose being better than a little tight.

Some skegs have integral spacers on the skeg blade that need to be sanded lightly until the fit is correct. I don't recall which or these systems Dagger uses, but it will be evident when you look at it.

Adding a pull cord to the end of the skeg is a smart precaution on ANY skeg equipped boat. Jams do happen and having a fast, convenient way to clear them just makes good sense. Some boats even have the skegs pre-drilled for pull cords, though I don't recall seeing any with the cord installed from the factory.

As I said before, NEVER force a cable skeg, regardless of the situation. While I can fully appreciate the frustration you feel when it doesn't operate when you really need it (it's happened to me, too), forcing it will only make any problems worse, as you've seen. I've owned several boats with cable skegs and have paddled many others. I've bent exactly one skeg cable and that was due to being stupid and trying to force it, even though I knew better. I apologize for repeating this warning, but it's for the benefit of others (newbies) who may not not understand how important this is.

I removed the spacers
I used to have a similar problem with my Nordkapp, I tried to use thinner spacers but no improvements so I just removed both spacers.

Yes, it does wobble a little when I lower it but it works just fine.

a Romany. If you like the feel and handling of the Meridian, you should love a Romany. Many assert that Dagger stole the hull design from NDK.

Are you serious…
Are you serious about wanting to sell your boat? I have been considering a Median. If you are looking to sell, how much are you looking for? Is your boat glass or kevlar?



Meridian with no skeg probs
Hi, for what it’s worth, my husband has a 1999 Meridian and has never had trouble with the skeg. It’s slid easily the times I’ve paddled the boat, and it hasn’t jammed. We’ve had it in sand. Guess we’ve been lucky.

Just contributing this, as it indicates there may be something out of whack with your particular boat, as Brian noted. And hopefully it can be corrected. Good luck.

for all the info. I probably will be selling this boat just because I have a penchant for upgrading my boats. I do love the manueverability, the intial stability, but because I paddle alot of different venues, I need a more versatile boat. Something with more of a keel is the next try. Less initial stability, but better tracking in big water.

I will remove the spacers, I’d rather have wobbly than stiff, (at least in skegs) and I do believe after taking it apart, that it’s the spacers that are the problem. That and a little white lightning may do the trick.

I really appreciate all the advice. Thanks, paddling friends!

By the way, Mark
It’s kevlar…of course!

Very nice…
Kevlar----very nice. I assume then that you were not serious in your original post when you asked if anyone was interested in buying it.

I have a kevlar Dagger Lattitude which I really like, but I don’t like the rudder which is why I am interested in the Meridian with skeg. I imagine it is a very similar boat.

I am going to look at one today and will probably buy it if I like it…but unfortunately it is glass and not kevlar (having kevlar for a while spoiled me).


skegs are not equal
so I guess I would be suggesting to Mark and anyone else that they go with a different company. Think twice about the Dagger skeg. I like the Current Designs engineering or the Wilderness Systems design, but the Dagger design has some serious flaws in the real world of paddling. Think twice before buying a Dagger skeg!