Skeg pin replacement

I’ve had a slight leak in the aft comparment of my 10 year old CD Gulfstream for several years, not a big concern.

I recently decided to address this leak because it was getting worse (about 1/2 cup of water per trip, increasing to 4 cups per trip).

After inspection and investigation I found the leak to be from a soft spot on the skeg box, right at where the skeg pivot pin is at.

With the kayak on the bench, I worked the skeg up and down (with water in the aft compartment) to inspect exactly where the leak was from so that I could make a repair. While doing this, The skeg pin fell out, and the leak became very evident.

How do you install a new skeg pin and make it better, stronger than it was? I have some ideas of my own but would love to hear from folks who have been through this already.



First check out the damage

– Last Updated: Nov-07-10 10:08 AM EST –

IIRC, the skeg pin in those boats is glassed in place (please correct me if I'm wrong). That being the case, it means that something must have broken for the skeg pin to come out, so you may need to do some fiberglass repair.

One option would be to add a few patches of glass cloth to the outside of the skeg box, then drill through it for a new pin. You could either epoxy it in place and glass over the ends to seal it further, or use a smooth-shank stainless bolt as the pivot, with a nut to secure it and a good sealant to prevent leakage. The latter method would allow you to remove it should you need to in the future. If you can't find a bolt with the right length and a smooth shank, you might have to start with a longer bolt and thread the end with a die. It's a good excuse to buy a tap and die set if you don't have one. ;-)

I did one of the Gulfstreams a number of years ago. I took out the pin, as it was broken on one side, cleaned up the sides of the box then re-glassed both sides of the skeg box with the pin in place. re-drilling after a glass repair is hard as you can’t really get a drill in there. Use epoxy and have fun. The bolt idea would work as well.


for the input and ideas.

I will be cleaning/sanding the repair area, using a SS 1/4 20 bolt through and through and glassing it all in.

The skeg pin that fell out seemed way too short in my mind. 1/4 X 5/8

I’m glad it didn’t fall out while paddling.

Actually if you can find it, you’re probably better off with a bronze bolt instead of stainless. Stainless does fine if exposed to air, doesn’t like being starved of oxygen.

Bill H.

For saltwater use…
…316 stainless will hold up well, but other grades may still rust lightly. As you say, bronze is good, though it can corrode under some circumstances.

Repair completed
316 SS is what I had on hand. I used my die to extend the threads down the shank, then cut to length.

Used rubber gromets on each side of the skeg and on each side of the bolt behind a washer. Finished up with a nylock nut and encapsulated all that with fiberglass and epoxy. When it cures, I’ll sand it down, inspect it and give it a bench test.

Might need another layer of glass but I’ll wait and see first.

I’m confident it will last longer than I will.

Thanks again for the help.


crevice corrosion
griffin is right that in the absence of oxygen stainless isn’t a good material, but I don’t think that applies in the case of a skeg box. Crevice corrosion is an issue with keel bolts (sandwiched between the hull and keel of a sailboat) for example. You don’t approach that sort of anoxic environment in a kayak though. Water is constantly flushing through the skeg box, and they’re only under water for a few hours at a time. You’d be fine with either bronze or 300-series stainless for this application, IMO.

That sounds like…
…a real “belt and suspenders” type of repair. Yeah, it should last longer than the rest of the boat.