How to make all skegs user repairable

What resource alternatives might there be to retrofit a new “user repairable” skeg onto an existing non-user repairable skeg system? Seems to me that all skeg systems should be user repairable and easily maintainable! By user repairable, ideally, this means capable of fixing while on a trip or expedition with simple parts and no complicated tools and labor.

For example, neither my Impex Outer Island nor my version of NDK Explorer have user repairable skegs. Is it possible to find a retrofit system that would work for these boats and that I might be able to change out the old with the new myself or with some assistance?

Any help appreciated!

Carry spare skeg.

Or invest in Necky no-kink wire (memory alloy)

OI skeg is repairable

– Last Updated: Jun-02-09 1:35 PM EST –

Call Impex. I helped them repair a skeg (they are all the same on Impex boats) at a symposium. You first undo the lock screw holding the cable on the lever. With the boat upside down, you push the skeg up and (can't remember if forward or back) and it pops right out. You can then pull out the entire thing. You can replace the cable if necessary which is held in by a hole on the skeg and a barrel shaped pin on the end.

Many of the leading brands work this way. They do not have a pin through a hole holding the skeg in. It's usually a slot on an angle and the thing can be popped as it rides over the pin - as long as you know how.

I have also repaired old pulley type Valley skegs on a beach. Once you know how to do any of them it's easy, but you do need parts if your cable is twisted inside because you sat on the boat with the skeg down. You would also need the allen wrench etc.

Rope Skeg
Ease of field repair was always a reason given for rope skegs.

My Valley Aquanaut, NDK Romany, and Necky Elaho have rope skegs. As does Celia’s NDK Explorer LV.

However, my Valley Nordkapp LV and Celia’s P&H Vela have slider skegs…

As user repairable…
I suppose that would mean being able to replace a kinked cable and keep the skeg, as opposed to the skeg and cable being fused together?

I replaced a P&H that was pretty easy, just loosen up one grub screw on the slider and pull it out the skeg box…

I think the easiest mistake might be using too small a size allen wrench, stripping the grub screw… which is probably matrix…

much thanks Jay
Thank you Jay. It is so much better knowing this before attempting a trial and error approach. By the way, I have been and remain a loyal OI fan!

Do you think it might be possible to convert it to a rope skeg? I have become less and less a fan of cable skegs and more and more leaning to user field repairable ones, easy field repair that is. : - )

I have retrofitted Valley and Impex boats with Necky’s wire which is NiTi SE 508 .118 (not available in small quantity). Order through Necky. Takes a bit of routing tube reconfig…, but works great and will be field maintainable. There’s extra wire, so if it ever snapped (heard of two in thousands) you simply pull the broken bit out of the skeg, re-insert the wire and tighten the set screw(s).

This was an excellent development from Necky and it’s stood the test of time! NiTi is Nickle Titanium, or Nitinol. It’s a memory metal that is inert in salt water and tough. You can bend it 180 and it will pop back.

I’ve had zero issues with it in my boats. It’s so tough you can even force it against a jammed rock with no consequence.

what is the best skeg system i wonder
I have had skegs fail on a number of occasions, none of them consequential. However, recently all three boats I have are suffering from some form of skeg problem.

Is the answer the simplest system possible so that it is field fixable with little effort and few tools, rather than some mammoth bombproof system.

I suppose it is inevitable that sand, grit, and what have you will lodge there and if the system cannot be easily freed without damaging it, then one is going to have massive problems.

Different strokes for different boats

– Last Updated: Jun-02-09 3:21 PM EST –

You only hear about the cable skegs that jam but never the thousands that work perfectly. Those early valley ones jam a lot too. You have that rope and pulley wheels on the deck and because of space you are forced to use that thin bungee to keep them up which wears out without you seeing it.

If you oil the push-pull cables regularly and don't sit on the boat when it's down, it will work forever.

And on pulley ones, if you change your bungee cable every year, run fresh water down the skeg opening and squirt in some Amorall, the pulley ones will go on forever too. Plus with the rope skeg, you have to work out your own little marking system on the rope if you want to drop the skeg down a half inch of so.

Rinse out the salt in the skeg box every paddle.

NDK Rope Skeg
it is easy to fix, or completely replace.

A bungee holds the skeg in the box and pulls it to the deployed position. A rope is used to raise the skeg. If you remove the bungee and rope the skeg slides out very easily. You could carry a complete replacement kit that was a little bit wider than the skeg itself.

In the 4 years I have had my Explorer I have used the skeg ONE time, and I could have gotten by without it.

Have you seen PH system?

That looks like a great design. Anyone used it yet?

Very Good Info, Very Good!
This is one area I never applied a technical look see with. Thanks everyone. I understand the inner workings of these systems better,

what it takes to maintain them, and what each has as advantages and disadvantages.

I don’t use a skeg much but there are times it is essential, as when fully loaded and on a long crossing in large beam sea, with students learning the forward stroke, and so on.

So much thanks and any more ideas appreciated. To those who made suggestions like the use of that fantastic cable wire, I am going to pursue it. Thanks again.

OK i am on it!
Thanks again Salty. You are a fountain of technical knowledge.

I am onto it!

never did see no kinked skeg
i read about these mysterious issues on pnet all the time, but my very simple skeg on the Impex (nee; Formula) has never had an issue, beyond rock jams requiring the skeg to be yanked out to clear the pebbles. i don’t think the skeg cable is anything special either, but it hasn’t kinked despite lots of forceful pushing and pulling in 6 years of ownership. maybe i’m just lucky? i have pulled out the skeg a couple times to rinse out the grit to improve sliding, but that’s it.

clean water bodies
maybe it is just all those clean water bodies you are in : > )

What is not repairable?
I have yet to see a skeg system that couldn’t be repaired by the user and/or modified to make field repairs possible. Some skegs have the cable molded/glued/riveted to the skeg blade, but simple modifications can convert it to a connection that requires nothing more than an allen wrench, like some of the skeg systems on the market. The design is a bit difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a whirl. Here are the major design points:

1- You need a hole drilled in the edge of the skeg to accept the cable. It should be ~ 1" deep into the blade. Most skeg systems already have this.

2- You need a second hole drilled in at an angle to the first one, intersecting it between 1/2" and 3/4"down. Tap this hole to accept a stainless steel set screw that will lock the cable into the skeg.

3- Optionally, you can drill a hole 1/4" or so in diameter through the skeg at the intersection point of the two holes in #1 & #2. This will provide a space that the set screw can bend the cable into, providing a more secure anchor. The downside is that the bend in the cable it creates can make it difficult to remove the cable later.

At the other end, all of the skeg controls I’ve seen require nothing more than an Allen wrench to release the cable. Depending on the size of the set screw in the skeg blade, you may be able to get away with a single Allen wrench. Pack a couple in your gear along with a spare cable and you’re good to go.


– Last Updated: Jun-04-09 3:39 PM EST –

Came with my Capella 167, and I like the operation very much, no complaints.

One advantage not mentioned is that since the mechanism is under constant tension the fin doesn't clunk around as some conventional wire-deployed skegs can.

Another advantage is there are no holes through the hull for the pivot. Just one at the top for the string tube.


mercy buckets
Thanks man. I guessed this might be so. I am onto this. I have left this zone to dumb luck for way too long. So, now is the time to get it right.