i’m leaning towards purchasing a QCC 600 (kevlar). my question is whether i should go with a skeg or a rudder. i live in socal and will be taking the kayak out on the open ocean.
Rudder, skeg, or none.
There aren’t many strong opinions on this topic, but from what I read on this forum, I’d recommend getting both. Then you would have the choice of paddling with the the rudder, the skeg, or testing to see whether your paddling skills have developed adequately.
I am sure you will get lots of replies…
I am sure you will get lots of replies on this one, as it is an age old question, and everyone has their own opinion. But first you have to ask yourself if you are having trouble turning a kayak, or if you are having trouble going straight.
Leaning a kayak makes it turn almost as good as using a rudder. I can’t tell you the last time I used a rudder to turn my 17’ kayak. A skeg will help you go straight in wind or rough water. People will comment that if you are good, you won’t need either, but most people just aren’t “that good”.
If you are a casual recreational paddler, and you really don’t care to learn to lean the kayak to turn, then you probably will do better with a rudder. A rudder can help you turn, or to go straight. I find a rudder a pain in the “butt” to have to raise and then lower, and when the rudder is down, the foot pedals move when you use the rudder. With a skeg, the foot pedals are solidly in place for good footing.
You really have to take a look at yourself, and decide what you want to do with the kayak. If you just want to get out on a small river or lake, and “putz” around, then perhaps a rudder kayak will be fine. If you want to get serious about kayaking, try big waters, or the ocean or bay, then go to your local shop, take some lessons, and then buy a kayak to do what you now know how to do.
It is a personal choice, but I think you have to know what you want to do in your kayak, before you make the final decicion.
Depends on you
The design works fine either way (will weathercocks slightly without either, as it should).
Most QCC owners have the rudder. I have a 700, with skeg. Whichever you get, you will not need it much. 10-20 knot in flatter conditions mostly - and then just a bit. Over that the waves seem to shelter the hull more and less correction is needed. If you paddle in over 20 much and/or in smaller steeper waves - the rudder will be in and out of the water more - but can also be nice for surfing/swell riding with less paddle/body steering (but then where’s the fun?).
I like the skeg (a lot more since changing the control setup) - but mine is not a typical 700 anymore. I replaced foot pegs with solid foam bulkhead style foot surface (only an option with skeg/nothing), scrapped RP seat for a narrow low back band, moved my seat forward 3" for better cockpit mobility (lay back) and to be more under the braces (simulates shorter cockpit - and I’m only 5’ 9") but my cockpit’s 3" aft of current - so my seat is now in the same position as current production). 600 cockpit’s never been moved - so a seat move could screw up trim instead of improving it like mine did. I also paddle it almost exclusively with a Greenland paddle.
Anyway, the point of all my rambling here is that I use/outfit my 700 more like many “Brit” boaters" - and less like the racers. I wanted simple and efficient and less on deck and in cockpit hardware. That = skeg. My sea kayaking leans more and more toward Greenland style paddling. For racing and rudder action/benefits I’ll have to learn to paddle my surf ski.
What you pick need only fit how you want to paddle. Good reasons to go either way.
Wife has a 600.
She got it with the rudder. I have paddled her boat and have to say it has shifted my opinion about rudders and skegs. I recommend the rudder. My own boat has neither and while I can handle things like wind and following seas it does take quite a bit of energy. The footpegs on the 600 are firm and confortable and the rudder is easy to adjust and deploy.
On my 600…
I have a skeg, which I am happy with. But, I have yet to paddle a 600 or 700 with a rudder, so it might be a case of not missing what I don’t know. I will say that I feel my 600 is much better looking without a rudder sticking up in the rear, just my opinion. The down sides to me of having my 600 with a skeg is the fact that many times it is a royal pain in the butt to get the skeg to drop on command & to fine tune it to match conditions. One of these days I will get around to replacing the “drop string” with a better system like a smarter fellow in Florida has done. On the other hand, to me it’s really nice to be able to drop the skeg on windy days and have the kayak get set “on rails”, it tracks just like I want it to. Rarely do I have to think about hip flecks, corrective strokes to get myself back on course. Someone else here once said that rudders are designed to push the stern around, while skegs are designed to keep the stern from swinging around. So with my skeg I don’t usually think about having to make corrective moves (like I might with a rudder) to get myself on track.
Slightly off topic, but I use a Spirit Sail & with the rudder dropped down fully I have never been overpowered and if the winds are from behind it doesn’t take long for me to have a smile on my face.
my 600 is skegged but…
My 600 works very well with a skeg. However, it is a 2001 model with a slider skeg that is very easy to deploy/retract quickly and set the skeg to the desired depth to match conditions. I hear the current skeg string setup that QCC uses is a P.I.T.A. to use but the boat does work well with a skeg if you get the the control system to your liking.
If you have to ask that question…
I think you should get it with the rudder.
I have a 700 with the rudder, and can paddle all day without using it, but in a strong quartering wind, and in rip currents and going up river with a two or three mile per hour swirling current coming at me I use the hell out of it.
I just wish they would make the Smart track to come over and lie on the deck like most other systems
i have a 700
my old 700 had a rudder my last 2 have had skegs i like the skeg better. part of it is i like the look better without having the rudder sticking up in the air. if you are racing though the rudder would be a better choice.
I am fixing it, I am building a FIN on the Rudder 700 (think Aircraft tail fin) so that I can mount it higher. That way it’s a no drag system when it’s un deployed. My Skeg QCC has already jammed on me a couple of times!! What a PITA. No problems with the rudder and when blasting through variable wind waves its much much better. and blasting up stream is a dream!