Rudder? Skeg? Canoe?

I’d been thinking about adding a skeg to my Osprey. I realized the rudder I rigged for sailing could be fixed in position with a bit shock cord. Does that make it a skeg or a frozen rudder?

It worked pretty well on quiet water this AM I was getting 7 to 12 strokes per side vs the 3 to 5 I usualy do in that boat. Now I have to try it in following seas some time.


if you set it up corectly it would be a

– Last Updated: Jul-04-07 9:53 PM EST –

trim tab.

trim tabs are 'vanes' that are set at an angle other than in line with the movement of a vessel [unlike a skeg which is directly in line fore and aft]]to adjust for relatively steady uneven forces on a vessel and adjusted infrequently [unlike a rudder which is moved almost constantly and used to turn]]. Some motor boats have adjustable tabs on the rear that cock down to force the bow back down when the power of the motor forces the bow up. some airplanes have them to balance uneven weight distribution and to correct for crosswinds.

Using the rudder you have for sailing you can set it a little off of dead center to counteract your stroking. The aft end of the rudder would point toward the side you are paddling on.

I can't quite be sure of how your control system works, but assume you move the 'connecting rod' fore and aft rather than using lines and pullys like i'm used to on the few sailing canoes I've seen or a tiller like is used on many smaller sailboats. Even so, you might want to google on 'tiller tamer' to get an idea for a device you could use [or build something like it] to hold the rudder steady in virtually any position, needed to counteract waves, wind and your paddling.

I have wanted a Tiller Tamer for years for my sailboats, but have always made due with lashing the tiller with ropes or bungies. I sometimes takes considerable putzng to get it right. Doing so I cold go considerable distances under motor or on a number of points of sail correcting for variations in windspeed, waves etc. by shifting my weight slightly to one side of the boat or the other.

When I canoe, I use a J stroke and rarely if ever change from paddling on the left [I'm a southpaw] except to accomodate my lefty daughter. My canoe has no rudder so I'm going from my sailing experience rather than canoeing experience. Hope it helps.

With some nice sponsons, it will sit

Please consider investing in a paddling lesson before ruining a wonderful canoe.

If Osprey is yawing, you are either: 1. not gettting the top hand out over the rail for a vertical paddle stroke or, 2. carrying the blade aft of your knee.

Please email me privately; I can lay a longer Forward stroke analysis on you, but skegging an Osprey gives John Winters the legal, in Canada, right to reclaim the hull or hang you publicly. Serious stuff! He’s a big guy! Don’t do it!

Easy Charlie!

– Last Updated: Jul-05-07 6:50 AM EST –

Look at the picture. The rudder or in this case trim tab (thanks Smilingbeard!) comes off quite cleanly leaving only two small gudgeons.
I do love the Osprey. It's has a combination of quickness and manuverability I've not found in any other. But it's a lot of work holding a course in following seas and I believe a skeg or trimtab would go a long way towards solving that. Since I've already installed the rudder for sailing it should be easy to test my theory.
As to paddling lessons, if you can recomend someone in the Boston area who would be willing to work on my "marathon from the knees" (bent shaft, switching sides, no corrections, kneeling) style I'd be quite interested. I expect there will be room to improve my technique till the day I die.

Oh yeah and if I had the nerve to really frankestien this boat I'd put a full deck and thighstraps on her so I could take her surfing ;-)


I owned a MR Indy for a while
that had a factory installed adjustable skeg. I was told they made about ten as an experiment. It was a great conversation piece, but did not do a lot for the boat.