Romany -- Skeg or Skegless?

Hey you Romany owners! I’ve got my eyes on a used Romany without a skeg. Since I’m not going to get a chance to paddle it in a variety of conditions can some of you owners tell me what you think based on your experiances? Do those of you without a skeg wish you had one? Could those of you with one live without it? Thanks a lot for your responses!


Owned a skegless Romany
and logged many many happy miles in it. I will say that there were some long crossings where I wish I’d had the skeg, but overall a great boat. If the price is right buy it, and later install a skeg if you feel you need it. It’s an easy job.

Don’t use the skeg in mine
I know a number of skegless Romany owners none of whom I’ve heard say they wish they had one.

I can’t say I’ve ever used the skeg in my Romany in conditions - though in rear quartering seas, it might make life easier?

Romany skegless, Explorer w/ skeg
Owned a Romany skegless after having a chance to take a Romany out of the warehouse and paddle it whenever I wanted. Including a few 18-20 mile open water crossings, some of which were in quartering seas, never felt the need for a skeg.

Explorer benefits from skeg.

Have a skeg in mine
Used it maybe once for kicks. Better without it. Just make sure there is fiberglass under the gelcoat and that the cockpit rim has space enough between the the deck to get a skirt. Really like my Romany alot.

On the kind of paddling you’re planning, your skills, and how much/how well you pack your gear.


The only time
I use the skeg in my Romany is when I get jammed up in some wind (& usually only slightly deployed).

However, if the seas get challenging I’d rather not use any skeg, as the boat seems less ‘predictable’ when the stern rises over wave crests with the skeg deployed.

The skeg always seems to ‘grab hold’ &/or ‘be released’ from the water/waves at whatever time is most inconvienient to my paddle stroke, which then seems to result in more needed bracing than without a skeg (probably not too good to deploy while surfing either).

It seems to give the hull an annoying unpredictable extension in chop, at least for me anyway.

I might use the skeg more often if the Romany I own wasn’t so practically unaffected by weatherhelming.

It’s a great boat.

With or without a skeg

Hey, If you got a really great deal on a Porsche, would you pass it up because it didn’t have power windows??

a Porsche is a hole in the road into which one pours money.

I didn’t ask if I needed a skeg…
I asked what your experiance was with your Romany. Does yours have a skeg or not and what is your experiance? Thanks

OK, then
I have an Explorer with a skeg. I wish I’d saved my money and my rear hatch space. And yes, one day I’ll eat my words.


People will advocate that you don’t need one, and you don’t “need” one. Are there occassions when a skeg is helpful…definitely. The Romany, like most boats, will weather helm and require edging etc., in certain seas. My current boat does better without a skeg IMO than my Romany, and I rarely use it. But, it sure does work well when I deploy it at varying degrees. Romany’s are fun boats. I covered at least a couple thousand miles in mine, and did extended trips with it. More fun than the Explorer for my paddling style. Some quality issues, but overall durable. I went through it every couple years and did significant repairs, but that’s easy stuff really.

NDK has is coming out with a new skeg system in 2007. The new system has a retro-fit kit available. Using this system, you could always add a skeg if you decided you needed one.


wow, touchy board

Drawing parallels here seems to also draw pot-shots, so here go the facts-as I see 'em…

For me, any “Sea Kayak” that NEEDS skeg has design flaws (given it’s intended/described use).

Now don’t get me wrong I do like my skeg, but if it fell out, I’d still get home.

ANYTHING that sticks above the waterline is prone to weatherhelming. However, kayaks that are severly affected by wind action IMHO are not desirable as Sea-going vessels.

Of the Sea-worthy kayaks i’ve paddled (NDK-Valley-Impex-Necky-Wilderness-etc…), the NDK boats-Romany & Explorer-seemed least affected by wind action & best for developing skills, two great qualities in my book.

But sadly, as mentioned, they do seem to be poorer in finished quality than most others (however nothing that for me affected the seaworthiness of the craft)

Would like to try a Rockpool, I’ve heard they’re mighty good in rough stuff & they just laugh at the wind…

(Free-shmee… I’m just not sure I want a classic Hemi 'Cuda without the power door lock option)

Okay, my experience…

– Last Updated: Nov-03-06 2:39 AM EST –

I love my Romany. It is a ball of fun. It surfs great. It is a wonderful skills boat which builds confidence.

I prefer to control the boat by trim and strokes to using the skeg.

For long crossings and high winds, I prefer my Aquanaut to my Romany.

IMHO, for play, the Romany can't be beat.

BTW, One of the joys of having a Romany is watching the smiles on the faces of friends the first time they get in the boat ;-)

And if you did retrofit one
I’d suggest installing it a little forward of the “normal” position. I installed mine about 8" forward of the factory position, and it really helps to prevent the skeg from running out of the water in steep waves.

It also works every bit as well as if it were further aft.


explorer benefits…
from skeg? huh? having NEVER had to use it after logging a lot of miles over a # of years in varied conditions, i am surprised to hear this. friend of mine has cut his out and gets additional camping space outta the rear hatch.

we’ve both found that the boat can easilly be trimmed with gear you’re carrying anyway.

the greenlander pro on the other hand damn near requires one.

other than one day, rock-hopping and surf trips, i’ve had no experience with the romany and couldn’t comment.

Skeg, Explorer/Romany
Spouse of wilsoj2, so I’ve grabbed his Romany some for practice, and my long boat is an Explorer LV. I am noticing that you are hearing from Explorer owners as well as Romany, for obvious reasons given the similarity of the hulls.

There is one diff between the boats which in my mind goes to the skeg/no skeg question. We happened to look out the second floor window one day and see them side by side on the top of the car, and realized that the cockpits are in quite different places in each. The Explorer cockpit is pretty well centered in the boat, and the Romany cockpit is set well behind the center towards the stern. That’ll automatically give you less reason to care about a skeg in the Romany compared to the Explorer, before any other diff’s, because your butt control is further back.

There is also the diff in how the boats are used. Many use the Romany to play and the Explorer to trek, so less insistence on tracking in the Romany would be a good thing.

Thanks for all the info…
…and not intending to get off topic but can I get a little more info on how “easy” it would be to add a skeg? It seams to me it would be pretty involved if you’d have to cut a skeg slot and add a skeg box with the deck already in place.

I’ve already got a real cruiser (QCC700) so if the price is right on the Romany I’m going to grab it! Thanks everybody!

Romany as primary boat . . .
While I have several boats, my Romany is my primary boat (highest smiles per mile rating). I haven’t used the skeg in about 4 years. My new Romany (to be ordered shortly) will be skegless.

No matter what boat you talk about there will be some paddlers that are fond of using their skegs (and so are glad to have them) and other paddlers who prefer bare hulls (and will praise the no-skeg option).

All things considered, I feel that the Romany is a design that can tolerate the no-skeg option better than many other designs. As others have said, paddling skeg-free takes a bit o’ technique but it’s not all that difficult with a Romany and it’s kind of a neat thing to have under your belt. If the price is right, it might well be worth consideration for you.


If you have a 700

– Last Updated: Nov-03-06 11:07 AM EST –

I think you'll find the Romany the better compliment. Your QCC is an excellent tourer, the Romany super playful.

BTW, I think Porsche's are superb cars, and very fun :)