off-kilter skeg -big problem?

Anybody ever see a skeg blade that is aligned incorrectly off the vertical axis of the kayak? In other words, the blade is in line with the boat from bow to stern, but is tilted diagonally to the side by a good bit when deployed.

There’s been some discussion as whether this would actually make a difference.

I believe it would.

Unfortunately the only solution seems to be to chop out the skeg box and glass it back in.

Any thoughts or experiences with this are welcome.

It’s not uncommon
I’ve seen a lot of curved skeg blades and even more that are pulled off to one side by the actuating mechanism. The latter is quite common with rope skegs and also occurs with any skeg that has significant play in the bearing area, which most do. Some of my own boats have this issue, but I honestly can’t say that I can attribute any handling problems to it. I wouldn’t worry about your boat if I were you.

The good news is…
…your skeg probably doesn’t rattle, right? I’m with bnystrom here. Almost certainly not worth breathing fumes over. Before I did that I would spend plenty of time in the boat and insure that something bad was going on if I didn’t. Up until I knew that it was a problem I wouldn’t agonize over it.


Thanks for the replies, guys. The owner of the boat paddled it a few times in the wind and has noticed weathercocking on the side that the skeg angles away from.

Looking inside the rear hatch you can clearly see how the whole box is installed crookedly.

Soooo… We’ll see. Not sure if we want to tackle a skeg box overhaul or just live with it.

Weathercocking is function of the wind and the boat should turn into the wind regardless of its direction. The only way you can tell if the skeg is an issue is by paddling in calm conditions on flat water, but even then, slight leaning of the boat and/or uneven power applications can cause the boat to turn.

If you really think there is a problem, you may be able to resolve it by re-shaping the skeg slightly. It’s not terribly difficult to slightly bend or twist an aluminum skeg blade and plastic blades can be heated with a heat gun and re-shaped. I’d go that route before attempting to remove and reposition a skeg box, which would be major work.

echo that
…and even before trying that, I’d try to get the same paddler in a different boat in the same conditions, to see if the weathercocking isn’t a function of the paddler and not the boat.

I have a slightly different take on this
that comes from buying a new boat, and having it replaced under warranty. It was a poly boat, so it wasn’t as easy to see anything like a skeg box installed off-plumb.

During the first paddle, it turned away from the wind. Dropping the skeg made it turn more away from the wind.

On the wind shaded side of the lake, it still went to the right with the skeg down. If I raised the skeg at level while the boat was moving forward, it accelerated the turn, which was a very interesting effect.

The hull was twisted, probably from some improper cooling process after molding, maybe removed too soon from the mold. The twist wasn’t easy to see, until you extended the skeg. Then it was very evident.

The shop gave me no grief whatsoever about getting a replacement, once they saw this. The factory made a new boat and I had it within the month.

My skeg was off plumb both side-to-side, and fore-to-aft. I’ll check such things before I buy another skeg boat in the future, especially if it is used.

in regards
to the weathercocking comment. Whats the point of a skeg if it doesn’t solve weathercocking in wind? In fact some paddlers claim that a well designed kayak, in proper trim, with the skeg fully deployed should actually leecock. This one with the wonky skeg still weathercocks. Could be a trim issue. It’s not a paddler issue.

Anyway, the off plumb skeg deployed in no wind does not affect the boat. It’s only noticed when there are some forces acting sideways on it.

We’ll see how bending the plastic skeg blade back to proper alignment works out. If it doesn’t, its time for a little skeg box choppy choppy.

"During the first paddle, it turned away from the wind. Dropping the skeg made it turn more away from the wind."

Generally, a skeg ‘should’ make the boat more likely to turn downwind so you’re OK there. However, it sounds like there were serious problems with the boat so good that it’s resolved. No real way to fix a twisted poly hull, I’d guess!

With the glass boat, I’m thinking if it’s a brand new boat I’d want it replaced if it was more than a couple of degrees off. Boats are expensive and I’d always be a little bothered by it, I’m thinking. But in reality if it’s off a few degrees it probably wouldn’t make any difference in anything other than the theoretical world.

Excellent point
Most people do have a tendency to cock the boat slightly and paddle stronger on one side. Typically, right-handed paddlers have a tendency to turn slightly left as they paddle.

It does sound like a trim problem
Is the paddler loading gear in the bow, but not the stern. Generally, gear should be carried as close to the body as possible, which usually means in a day hatch.

Is the skeg deploying fully? If not, that may also explain the problem.

If the boat tracks fine in no-wind conditions with the skeg up and down, there’s no point in messing with the skeg. Adding wind from either side will produce the same result as long as the paddler reacts the same way.

that was me reminiscing
I still drift to the left if I’m careless. But I used to be able to see the stern of my boat in front of me!

Could be a trim problem, some days a little more stuff in the bow is best and some days a little more in the stern helps - but generally keeping it as close to flat when loaded (with you in it) is best.

The more the skeg is down, the less the kayak should weathercock. I agree that it maybe should actually start to leecock if the skeg is down all the way, but conditions change and so should your position of the skeg. It’s really a back-end slip preventer, but so is loading more weight in the stern hatch. To some extent, anyway… Main point is that, like the brake pedal on your car, the skeg control is not an “on/off” device. :slight_smile:

If the skeg doesn’t solve weathercocking than it’s likely a trim problem. How much of a problem are we talking about with the skeg, just a few degrees off vertical or a lot? Curious, that’s all.

degree of skew
It’s off by a good bit.

I’d estimate close to 10 degrees.

I’d have to paddle it myself, but just looking at it makes me think that water would want to slide under the face of the blade a little bit at that angle.