Skeg Comparrison

I’ve searched this forum but couldn’t seem to come up with a thread that covers this subject.

I was wondering if anyone can tell me the differences/pros/cons between the VCP Skeg and the other skegs. The VCP Skeg is longer and the adjustments you can make to them seem like it would do more for tracking. The Atlantic Kayak Tours website has a great tutorial about skegs and how they work but they use the VCP skeg as their example in how different deployments of the skeg will work better in different wind conditions.

I have the other (more standard I guess you’d call it) skeg that only extends down about 4 or 5 inches (I’m sure you all know which ones I’m referring to). Should I expect to get the same results from deploying it 1/3 and 1/2 the way down as they say about the VCP skegs??


lateral surface area
is more important than length. A long skinny skeg is no better than a short wide one.

Not Really…

Every boat will differ somewhat depending on design, load and conditions. The basic concept will remain the same and you will just have to find out what amount works best for your configuration.

Here Is A Link To Another
discussion about skegs that I found interesting.


That’s true, but…
…it’s also true that deploying the skeg to varying degrees to fine-tune the trim works with any skeg design, which I believe is what Sherlock was asking.

Play and see
Each boat reacts somewhat differently, though general principals apply.

For my own humble understanding, I’ve had to play with the skeg settings in varying conditions with each of my three skegged boats to get a sense of how each responds.

Have you tried it?
I have a shorter skeg than VCP’s, and it definitely is trimmable to good effect.

You have to experiment with this one yourself. But the short answer is YES, shorter skegs still have differing effects depending on how much skeg is lowered. To me, that IS the big advantage of a skeg.

Different Boats, Different Skegs…
different settings.

I had a Tempest 170. In a cross wind I could usually get neutral at about half deployed.

In my Tempest 165 I have to push the skeg considerably further down to get neutral.

Go figya.

yep,yep and…

Most boats designed for flatwater tracking have ‘skegs’. it’s the following end of the keelson and depending how deep it is set will greatly influence the boat’s ability to stay on track.

The ‘retractable skeg’ that you are refering to just adds to this shape. This lateral resistance can come in many shapes and positions, each giving a different performance. When we designed the Tempest we experimented greatly with shapes and positions.

load, trim, wind speed, direction, sea state, etc are ALL going to influence your YAW balance. the retractable skeg gives you adjustment.

btw- on many wire skegs it is important to fine tune the adjustment, making sure that it goes down to it’s maximum. I have seen a few boats (all brands) with skeg wires that were set to high. I run mine just a little proud (sticking out) when it’s fully retracted, so I end up with FULL depth on deployment.


Thanks Everybody!
That info was helpful. You’d think with a handle like “Sherlock” I would have deduced all that by now.

Thanks again.

Its not the size of your skeg…
…but how you use it…

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I have seen examples of low-drag foil skegs and heavy duty ones with rear rope controls for reliability but would just feel lucky to have ANY skeg when those winds and seas come out of the rear quarter.

Don’t forget that . . .
. . . all a skeg does is let you fine-tune your trim . . . .

It’s also possible to trim the boat with just the weight of your gear and your seat placement to the same effect although you won’t have the adjustability that an adjustable skeg affords you.

Putting all of this together, the differences between skeg designs are less important than getting your baseline trim correct. I tend to load my boat with the wind direction as a primary consideration. Going bow heavy and sitting forward when travelling upwind and stern heavy and sitting back when running downwind. Of course everything in moderation . . YMMV


I just
load my boat ‘balanced’ and adjust with skeg. I frequently paddle in many conditions (sea, terrain, swell, wind) over a given journey.



The comment about trimming for the wind assumes consistant wind for a specific leg of the journey. Normally I load for balanced but messing around with trim gives me an excuse not to dig the rocks an pebbles out of the skeg box. :wink:

Will we see you in GA in the fall? Headed out this way earlier?

the rocks jammed in the skeg box are ‘additional’ ballast to trim the stern down.



yes, we’re heading to Forge, NY for the Mountainman show next week and we are coming to GA in OCT/NOV. we’re thinking of heading south after Dale’s, maybe Sappalo IS and south. We have some time.

heading across Kachemak bay, AK in an Explorer tomorrow! w/o a skeg, no less. =:-0)


t165 has more rocker