Skeg Is Jammed

Any sage advice about freeing a jammed skeg? Looking into the opening, I don’t see any pebbles, and I took a sturdy piece of wire and fished around along the sides of the skeg, and couldn’t find anything. I could sure use a clever trick. There’s got to be something up there that I can’t see.

By the way, I have a Nighthawk 16 (Eddyline)


What Eddyline says:
“If the skeg does not deploy freely, first check the housing for debris such as small pebbles or sticks. These objects can enter the housing when launching from a beach. If the skeg is really jammed, do not force the control knob. Use a wire or string through the pull hole in the end of the skeg to free it. If the skeg housing is clean, next check that the screw on the control knob is screwed into the cable. When you move the knob, the rod should move also. Then check that the cable tubing is secured in its connections at the skeg housing and recess. Those points have compression fittings. If the tubing is free of the fitting, reinsert the tubing by pushing it in firmly through the ring and seat it into the fitting.”

Yes, I saw that

Some suggestions
Many times it gets jammed because it’s not fully up and the paddler sits in it on the beach or launching. The cable gets twisted or bent in the skeg box.

Not all skegs have an axle that runs through the skeg box. Impex and most use an axle that sticks out a bit from the skeg and fits into slots that are on each side of the box for easy removal. For example: on the Impex skeg you push the skeg up and forward ( I think) and you can pull the entire skeg out from the box. I’ve seen it done but can’t remember if it’s forward or backward.

Call your manufacturer and ask about removing the skeg and not just how to get it down. On Impex the the skeg cable is plastic welded into a hole on the skeg. You could reinstall one using epoxy. Some skegs use a tiny set screw. The cable is the same stuff boating stores sell for sailboats. They will cut it to length for you.

First you have to undo the small screw locking the cable on the up-down push knob. I would flip the boat over and really flood that cavity with WD-40 and see if you can force it down. Once down you may be able to get the entire thing out if it’s built for removal and most are. That’s how the dealers repair them.

If you’re not handy, you might want to take it to a dealer.

Thanks Jay
I was actually thinking of using WD40. Think I may stick a wire through the hole that is there for manually moving the skeg up and down trying while applying some water pressure from the hose to try and get things moving, and switch to WD40 if that doesn’t work.

I almost never put down my skeg anymore, so I’m 99% sure that it was up when I was wrestling with some beach launches a couple of weeks ago.


PVC Tube and Hose Clamp

– Last Updated: Sep-10-07 5:00 PM EST –

After lubing with Silicone several times, and still not resolving the problem I discovered the cable housing was slipping. I bought a small piece of pvc tubing at west marine, fule line I think, cut it and slipped it over the cable then put a small hose clamp over the hose and pushed the whole thing flush against the bulkhead at the back of the cockpit. Then I tightened it so that when attempting to deploy the skeg the cable housing could not slip. The skeg has worked perfectly since. (This might not be your problem, but if you can observe the cable housing slipping give it a try; it's cheap and quick.

If you haven’t been using it…
…the cable may just be salt encrusted, probably with bit of sand in the mix for good measure. To free it, you need to run fresh water through the housing, as WD-40 won’t dissolve salt well, if at all. The easiest way to do this is to invert the boat, raise the stern slightly and fill the skeg box with water. You should see the level gradually drop and eventually water will come out of the skeg control. After flushing it for a while (a few skeg boxes full of water), pull the skeg out of box using a wire in the hole per Eddyline’s instructions. Once you get it moving, alternate pulling it down with the wire, then back up with the skeg control until it moves freely.

Once you’ve got it working again, lube it with a wax-based bike chain lube like White Lightening (the stuff is useless on chains, but it’s great for cables). You can try working it in from both ends, but you’re better off to pull the cable out as Jay instructed, clean it, flush the housing again, then lube the cable before reinstalling it.

Thanks Brian
Great description!

I’m not very mechanically inclined, so I may defer to my Eddyline dealer if anything needs to be taken apart, as I’m concerned about comprimising the seaworthyness of the boat. I think I can do the flushing of the skeg box though, if that can be done without the other steps.

Last night, I was able to move the skeg up and down by hand, however, not with the slider control by the cockpit. The slider control does move back and forth when I slide the skeg up and down with my hand, and, using the slider control, it feels like the cable is trying to move the skeg but can’t.


after the repair
When you have figured out what is wrong. I recommend that you drill a small hole (1/8") at the bottom rear on the skeg. Insert a srong cord (I used 130 lb fishing line), tie it to the skeg and tie a knot at the other end so it hangs down about 3". This way if you ever get more beach junk stuck a fellow paddler can pull on the string while under way or you can fix it on the beach without tools. BTW check the cable tube to see if it is still fixed to the hull. If not you can not move the wire with the slide. Some observations of a Gulfsteam owner.

If you are hungry enough,
you can just lick the jam off the skeg.

Or put a slice of bread on each side
And chomp the sucker off:)

That’s why rudders are better…
Discuss amongst yourselves…

I also have an Eddyline (Night Hawk). Not to be primative or anything but when the skeg gets jsmmed I just use needle nose pilers to pull it back out.

Regular multi-tool kind did fine.