Retractable skeg install question

Installing a Kajac Sport retractable skeg kit into a Current Designs Kestrel 140 (14 ft loa, Swede form, shallow Vee hull, composite, recreational kayak): question about best placement. Not certain about why, but CD’s customer service seems to be unavailable for now. So thought I would ask here.

After looking at other similar kayaks that have skegs, it appears they all choose the same general location. Most kayaks of this size and form appear to have the forward edge of the blade box (16.5 inches for this one) situated a couple inches, or so, behind the 75% station - a point aft of the bow (the 0% station).

This appears to maintain the aft portion of the box comfortably away from the thinnest (sharpest) area where the vee hull shape quickly changes (steepens up). I don’t believe it is smart to cut into that area.

Does that location seem correct to those of you who already have skegs?

Always appreciate advice and experience shared here at p-net. Thank you.

Mark L.

AFAIK a skeg’s primary purpose is to keep your aft end from going downwind in a crosswind, so 3/4 back won’t be as effective as farther aft.

It really depends upon the design. Some boats have a skeg almost under the cockpit.

I know several people who have built cedar strip kayaks that have skegs closer to the cockpit that say the performance of the skeg is pretty much the same as one further back.

But for carrying things in the rear compartment, having the skeg further back is desirable. I added a skeg to one of my kayaks, and lost considerable cargo space even at a more traditional placement. Good thing I don’t kayak camp anymore.

The further back a skeg is placed, the more chance of it missing it’s intended usage.

Wave skis have the skeg almost under the cockpit so it doesn’t end up out of the water 50% of the time. Most surfskis have also started moving the rudder further forward. That is the reason over the edge rudders aren’t recommended for big water.

It will only help if you place it closer to the cockpit.

Another observation on skeg placement - I’ve made a couple of external skegs that deploy on one side of the kayak, within a couple of feet of the stern. I put them far back so they’re close to the kayak centerline. I’ve found that having them far back makes it very touchy just how much skeg is deployed. Too much skeg and the kayak turns downwind no matter what. Not enough and it weathercocks. But the “just right” amount is very touchy. Having the skeg further forward would probably make it easier to dial in that “just right” amount of deployment.

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Amen brother! I was paddling a couple weeks ago and I had a headwind coming in at about 25°, and the skeg actually made it worse. I kept having to sweep stroke and rudder stroke and even bow rudder to get that boat corrected, and my legs were cramping from the constant edging. I kept the skag down because I knew the skeg was supposed to be helping. I just thought the winds were that bad. Then one of the peddlers mentioned that sometimes the skeg was the problem. They didn’t know why, but maybe I should try pulling the skeg up. It was like I was paddling in no wind at all. I have a 16’ boat not known for tracking well in the best of circumstances. I’m getting ready to pull that skeg out and put in a rudder. PS The skeg is set fairly far back on the boat. So try setting it a little closer to the front. Maybe it should be acting more like a keel.

Skeg made it worse…bet your boat is out of balance or needs some weight shifted.

You had the skeg fully down paddling into a headwind? Why?

Because I didn’t know any better until other people on this site told me.


My apologies if you thought my question was snarky. It certainly wasn’t meant to be.

Glad you’re finding this site helpful and wishing you the best on your journey.

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I appreciate the helpful replies. Thank you. They directed my thoughts back to the reasons for ordering this skeg kit and to not rely on photos for placement, or to try and protect storage space (that I rarely use).

Being a little light for this kayak, I use aft ballast (no camping or long trips - only fitness/outdoor activity). Whenever winds astern exceed 10 mph and boat wake/chop messed up lateral control and stability too, adding more ballast than already in use wasn’t easy to do or helping maintain proper trim either.

The skeg will be there to any required degree of extension when the boat needs it - stowed when it doesn’t. The ballast that I need to keep (for proper trim) fits in easily, well aft of the skeg box

Under the same conditions but in a canoe, lateral control under the same conditions is easier because weight (including mine too) is easily shifted. Anchoring the bow or stern during windy conditions is a snap. The kayak keeps my body in a fixed location.

The layout for installing the skeg box is now changed to 8 inches forward of where it would have been before asking p-net for shared experience. It’s close to the cockpit, just behind the rear bulkhead while aft of it enough for preventing any binding of the control cable housing

Thanks again.

Sorry I’m late to this - I’ve been busy - but hopefully theses photos will help.

These photos are of the factory skeg of my 14’ Current Designs Vision 140 measured back from the point of the sterm. It works pretty well for me.

Of course these dimensions don’t have to be “written in stone”.

Thanks so much. Yes, very helpful.

The Vision is, I think, a better Kayak design than the Kestrel. The Kestrel I acquired just sort of happened - it was not planned for.

But it serves its purpose quite well and helps me think about what to wish for in a future recreational design (if I ever get to try a sea kayak, it will be with instructors who provide boats of that sort).
A CD Vision, like yours (and maybe less loa), or an Eddyline Sitka - both hull forms seem about right.

Thanks again, your photos and suggestions are very much appreciated.
Mark L.


I think the Kestrel is probably the very best recreational kayak out there. It’s a terrific boat.

The Vision is CD’s “transitional” range, slightly narrower, slightly better equipped and with a slightly smaller cockpit. My wife - she paddles a Vision 130 - and I have had these boats for about 7 years and the still pretty well look like they’re new. We paddle a lot and the boats have seen everything from calm lakes to fairly rough ocean bays. I keep trying to think of an excuse to buy a couple of true sea kayaks but these Visions are light enough, easy to store, perform quite well and are easy to paddle.

Have fun with your Kestrel.