NDK skeg wire diameter?

My better half’s Explorer LV kinked it’s skeg cable bad yesterday, and it needs to be replaced.

I was thinking about replacing it with nitinol wire, but I don’t know the correct diameter to buy. Anyone know what the diameter of the original wire is?

3mm i think
it’s a shade under 1/8", tho 1/8 will work.

the nitinol is not very ‘bendy’ and doesn’t work on alot of skeg systems.

anxious to hear if it works on a NDK.


I’ll have to take a close look at how it’s routed through the boat, and see if there any sharp bends. If there are, I might go with good ole’ stainless wire & buy enough to replace it again when needed.

McMaster-Carr has both for what appears to be good prices.

You can use 1/8" or 3/32" cable…

– Last Updated: Dec-27-08 6:54 PM EST –

...but the Nitinol wire I've seen was even smaller than the latter, so 2mm is probably the correct size. It's a wire, rather than a cable, so it doesn't need to be as large in order to handle compression loads and as Flatpick said, it's much stiffer than stainless cable.

Kayak Center / MIKCO
Wayne, I bought a lenth for an Avocet for about $15.00 at the Kayak Center two summers ago. I think they can UPS it as well. Did you mic up the old wire?

Good luck,


McMaster only has sizes up to .015"…I was looking at the next type down in the list (Shouldn’t do research with the mouse in one hand, and a beer in the other).

I emailed Necky to see if they’ll sell me some.

When I looked online…
…all I could find was the same thing, sizes that were designed for medical devices or scientific instruments. When Neck first started using it, I found a source for the same size they used, but I can’t find it now.

.118 SE 508 NiTi
Nitinol. Custom extruded for Necky and I don’t think available (minimum orders). I’m absolutely certain a thinner wire would work as the stuff is very tough.

With some routing-tube tweaking I have made it work well in Valley, and Impex boats. I suspect I could do likewise in an NDK.

Nitinol is far more flexy than stainless or Ti wire.

Same stuff they shove up your arteries or O-ring. A kink in such cases would be unpleasant.

I love the stuff and have had zero issues with it. The wire intersects the rear hatch a bit on my CH16 but it’s super easy to pull aside and pack around. To me a good tradeoff for no more kinks.

I couldn’t
get it to work in a Tempest or Zephyr, try as I might. The skeg box entrance angle was just to steep. I guess you could majorly change the mounting point on the skeg and associated angle to make it work.


I’m sure
there are boats where it won’t work.

Neither can I now
Might just have to use a stock Valley wire, or order a spool of stainless. Those, I can get easily.

But, I emailed Necky, and asked of they’d sell me some NiTi wire. Not holding out any hope that they will, but just in case I get lucky…

Boating stores have it
Wayne- any of those West Marine type of boating stores carry various widths of stainless cable that is used in sail boat rigging. Cheap too.

you want 1/8" 1X19. you may have to drill the skeg a bit bigger where the wire goes in as the metric cable is a touch smaller, and metric is wound the other way. go figure. standard is wound counterclockwise and metric clockwise, or reverse.


3/32", 1 x 19 cable also works
I’ve used it in a few boats, including VCPs and NDKs, and it’s particularly good in boats where 1/8" cable creates a lot of friction. It’s pretty much all I use in my own boats.

The Necky wire won’t work
it is to short. I know because I tried it. Necky gets it pre cut and can’t supply longer lengths. :frowning: The wire shown on mcmaster is only .015" the necky stuff is much bigger, about .062" if memory serves. (could be wrong, I’m old) The Necky wire worked well in the plastic tube on my Explorer, just to short. I am thinking SS spring steel around .062 as it IS available in coils.

Cutting it
Just in case no one mentioned , best use a Dremmel to cut this stuff or you tear up the strands and it won’t go through anything.

Just a silly note that you already are likely aware of.


nitinol or 1X19?
I cut the 1/19 with bike cable cutters, hi-end marine cable cutters or a real good pair of lineman’s pliers.


Mildly surprised
I have used linesmans pliers to bucher cables.

Bike cable cutters may be the exact thing.

A Dremmel workks well.

I use
a Felco C7 wire/cable cutter, works fine.

skeg replacement cable
Hi Wayne,

I bought cable at the kayak center. Purchased it a bit long and cut to size with a cut-off wheel in a dremmel. Replacement cable is like that NKD used so it is still at risk of kink again.