Q600X or Q700X -- Skeg or Rudder

The Skeg is great
I bought the 400XL a while back with the Skeg. I am 5’8" around 185 lbs and I needed a boat I could manuver a bit better than the 600 or 700. Since I paddle rivers, creeks and what not, I love the length of the 400. That said I really had a chance to use the Skeg a couple of weeks ago on the Savannah River. I was towing my 9 year old daughter, into the wind, to the landing (she was exhausted from paddling). I finally dropped the skeg, to see what would happen. It seemed a lot easier keeping straight (and towing a little girl in another yak).

As a rule, Ask PHIL at QCC, since I really did not use the rudder I had on another boat, I figured the skeg was nice as a mild back up.

I feel I should say something in defence of the rudder. If all you will do is open sea paddling in straight lines with plenty of room and time to turn, then get the skeg. But if you will sometimes find yourslef on a narrow creek or manuevering in a marina, the rudder becomes indespensible for hands-free navigation. A skeg won’t be nearly as handy in those situations. In other words, the rudder is more versitile.

Be warned, though, when not in use, it is in erection-mode and can catch on branches. Just remember to drop it in those situations.

What the heck is “hands-free navigation”

– Last Updated: Apr-27-04 10:42 PM EST –


Jim - you have zero experience with a skeg boat. I would be very surprised if you even understood how a skeg works.

You say you never go out in over 15 kt winds - and you don't need a rudder OR a skeg for that! If you need your rudder to turn that Q700 - you've obviously got a LOT to learn.

You may think it sounds like you know what you're talking about - but that "defense" of the rudder is as clueless as it gets. Rudders have their place - but not the way your describe. They are already more popular and need no defense from you.

This may help…
for those who would like a brief introduction-tutorial on Skegs, and what they do…


Be sure to click on the “Flash Lesson” link, in the upper right hand corner.

Now, I just wish I could remember who posted this first so I could give proper credit.

Was it you, Kris? I know it was in a thread in which you were involved. I love all the threads you post in because I learn so much from them.

Thanks Greyak!

Both have their Place
Had a feeling this was going to go the old ‘rudder vs. skeg thread’ debate route, but… For my personal needs, I went with the rudder on my QCC, as I’m using it primarily as a race boat. Having a rudder allows me to keep the hull flat on the water for max WL, while keeping the power on without interrupting my stroke for excessive edging, if the need arises. I also find it helpful in strong currents, and especially, in race starts, where the water’s churned into a white froth, and you’re bent on drafting or riding someone’s bow wake. I haven’t yet had the 700 out in a following sea, so I’m curious to see how much fun it will be to work the pedals when catching a swell. It may sound corny, but in my skeg equipped boat, I feel more like I’m building upon my skills with each outing I take; it requires you know how to edge, lean, and have a modicum of strokes in your arsenal to make the boat go where you want it. I also enjoy trimming the skeg a bit to true my course when the boat weathercocks a bit, or slide it down more fully, to evoke leecocking on downwind runs. For me, the rudder is most useful when concentrating on my stroke and going fast; I prefer the skeg for all else. In terms of aesthetics, no contest, the Seal Line hangs off the back like an agricultural implement, and I wonder how smoothly it would glide, roll, etc. without that clockspring assembly dragging in the water. Guess you skeg-equipped owners know the answer to this, eh? (wink)

straight line ocean paddling
is exactly what I’d think of using a rudder for.


– Last Updated: Apr-28-04 7:19 AM EST –

I was surfing the web some time ago and came across an Australian site, apparently they have a test to be certified in there version of the ACA. Anyway one of the more interesting questions on the form was. What is a rudder used for. And if you said for turning you would be wrong!! I thought that was interesting and correct! Another question on the form was what is a skeg used for.

Rudder vs. skeg
I just reread this thread (I’ve been following it for the last few days) and I think its been a good discussion of the merits of skegs and rudders with commentary from folks who have direct experience with each. I don’t see any of the old “rudder vs. skeg debate” popping up, unless you call greyaks retort to Jim3727 debate. I call it saying what I myself was thinking. I saw that post earlier, but decided I’d let someone else with greater literary talent than mine make the first comment!! Well said greyak!!.

FWIW, I’ve paddled the QCC 500, 600, and 700. I currently own a 500 and 700. My 500 has a rudder, and my 700 has a skeg. My personal opinion is that the rudder is needed more than a skeg on my 500, with its higher volume, while the skeg should do fine with the lower windage 700. So far in the four times I’ve had my 700 on the water, I haven’t needed to use the skeg, even on windy days. I like the cleaner look of a skegged boat, but if I ever bought another kayak, and felt like it needed a rudder, wouldn’t hesitate to buy it with the rudder.

IMO, what it boils down to is personal preference.


Hey Y’all
I got my New New boat Monday, installed the seat yesterday. Anyway folks I now own two 700’s one with a skeg and one with a rudder, next week I will post my thoughts on the differences. However it won’t be a true Apples to Apples comparison as the new 700 has a few design changes like a more forward cockpit. I to think the skegged QCC looks much better then the ones with the rudder “Cobbled” on to the end. And you lose a little storage space, due to the skeg box but not much… Hey Trip this boat is NOT John DEER green!!! L

it depends on the hull. surf-skis need them for both.

Great link - and yes
I have posted it before. Probably more than once since the animation makes it so clear!

For anyone who wants to race a lot - rudder is the way to go for abiltiy to stay flat and keep consistant forward stroke. Also helpful when drafting - though not absolutely needed, it would make it easier.

Other than that I prefer skeg too - and since my paddling is mostly other than that - I have skeg. I will manage sans rudder should I race (and manage better now that I have 100% reliable/indexed control of the skeg).

Enjoy! Now go find some open water/wind
To really evaluate and appreciate the difference - you will need to paddle a steady course in a beam or quartering wind above 15 knots for a fair distance.

Once you get that skeg amount dialed in (so much easier since I changed the control) and are balanced to the wind - no corrective strokes needed - you may well wonder what you needed a rudder for at all.

I rarely use it, but love it when I do. Small amounts are usually enough (but this is hard to guage with stock cord setup). Behaves just as desribed in the animation in the link above. No skeg into wind, varying from 1/4 to 1/2 skeg with wind on beam, a bit more if rear quartering, and full skeg for straight downwind running only! If it’s blowing and choppy it’s like a big hand reaches down and steadies the stern and points you downwind.

If you ever forget it’s down - you’ll remember when you try to turn! Raise it for turns unless you have some room and like to fight!

700 design changes?
Swedge -

I think I remember that I purchased my 700 around the time that you got yours (the first one that is).

Exactly how far fwd did they move the cockpit?

3 versions of Q700 (long)
My understanding of the locations and reasoning behind them:

The original had the cockpit dead center was and intended to be paddled heavily loaded - a fast expedition boat (think Q500 “Super Sport”). (Note: any drag and stability numbers you find on the Q700 are likely from this version with a full load - not too representative of race loading). Most buyers were not using it as a gear hauler, they were using it for racing and day paddling, sooooo…

The second version had the cockpit moved 8" aft. This was done for better tracking/balance (less weathercocking) at lighter loads (but still fairly big paddlers). It would also work better for people who didn’t want rudder OR skeg. The rudder was changed to SealLine as standard on this version. The rudder mount drag issues with the SealLine system have been misconstrued as trim issues by some - so QCC may have tried to shift the weight forward and raise the stern out of the water a bit to appease those who complained about the mount ( I never saw trim complaints that did not reference the rudder). Soooo…

The third (current) version shifts the cockpit back 3" more forward. The rudder mount drag issue has not improved after the move (right Swedge?). I hope it was not the main reason for the cockpit move, and there were other reasons. Possibly there was non-rudder related input from racers and some lighter paddlers?

Personally, I think the 8" aft version is great with skeg and my weight and I have no trim issues - as verified by dirty waterline marks after paddling. The new version should be good, maybe better - but think I’ll keep mine (definitely on downwind runs).

The new move also probably assumes the majority will continue get the rudder (as they have so far). This may be changing if recent posts here are any indication. I hope the new cockpit position is as good with skeg as the second version. My guess is it will need the skeg a little more in wind as the stern will be looser - and will need a bit more skeg down to get same balance I get - but overall no big deal. Should be fine.

Ideally - they should offer all 3 cockpit locations and ask customers about intended use. There are good reasons to pick any of the 3.

Measurements, fore-cockpit-aft (214" overall)

Version 1: 92"-30"-92"

Version 2: 100"-30"-84"

Version 3: 97"-30"-92"

Or what I think they would be anyway…

More rambling:

I think the original was meant more for rudder than skeg originally. Would work fine either way - but the original would be balanced more like the 500 and while the only 500 I paddled had a skeg - I think it’d be a slightly better rudder boat. I’ve seen others here mention this.

With a version 2, I don’t need the skeg much. I think I would need it a lot more in the original version, and at least a little more in the new version 3. This is simple physics. The more you shift weight forward, the more you loosen the stern and also pin the bow more at speed. Both will increase weathercocking. That means more correction will be needed in wind. Not necessarily bad - just different. As a “keep it simple” sort of paddler who prefers nothing but can appreciate a skeg when needed - I think I have the right version for me, but would worry if I needed to replace it with a newer one either.

Cutting it close…
I think maybe the version 2 (the one I own) perhaps has the CG moved a bit too far back. I havent paddled either #1 or #3, but would guess that 3 represents a fine tuning, as #2 definitely leecocks when sitting still and the boat is unloaded. Not too bad mind you, but still noticeable. In fact, my plan of attack is to move the seat pan forward 1-2" to try and compensate. The boat responds beautifully when loaded however.

I wonder if qcc is consulting mr winters before they make changes. A move of 8" for or aft is huge for any kayak. There is a lot of freeboard on a 700, and the plumb nose is that much more area for the wind to grab hold of ( but lovely for filling with gear!).

I e-mailed
Mr. Winters and he told me that when they moved the cockpit back 8" he had nothing to do with it. So they did not consult him on it.

Seat Shift

– Last Updated: Apr-29-04 6:04 PM EST –

It sounds like QCC did a little expeimenting with where they wanted the seat to wind up at with out checking with the disigner. I just ordered a Q700X with the rudder yesterday.

Should I be concerned about the seat location on the current production models? Does the handling characteristics of the current production model favor either a skeg or rudder or is it still pretty much still up to personel opinion?


You should have no problems
Don’t worry you will love your new QCC!

Does anyone know where I might see a picture of a QCC, preferably a Q700X, with the rudder in the upright position? The picture on their website must be of earlier rudder systems because they all show a rudder laid down against the deck.

Like I just mentioned earlier I just ordered a 700 with a rudder and don’t really like the idea of it sticking straight up in the air! I don’t want to go with a skeg just because something looks wierd, but don’t want to always regret what I have everytime I look at it.