skeg placement question

my 17’ s&g boat is becoming so friendly that i have almost given up on the idea of adding the skeg that might make it ‘ultimate’ in handling and seaworthiness. i am now considering a skeg close to the back of the cockpit, nearer to the center of lateral resistance. more for limiting sideslip like a surf boat and creating a pivot for better turning instead of creating more tracking. maybe even a daggerboard. right behind the cockpit. is this a wacky idea? my longboard surfboard tracks and turns with a big fin right behind where my weight is placed(just ahead of the fin) whaddya think?

What boat model???

it’s just going to be a DRAG. :wink:

IMO if she paddles well w/o a skeg, why bother?


I’d like to know how that daggerboard would work out… I can only imagine…

WS Arctic Hawk skeg
I know what you mean regarding placement. I am getting ready to put one on my boat too but to solve weathercocking, so imagine mine should be further towards the stern.

How far back do Valley and NDK put their skegs in relation to the hull length? Does it depend on rocker, specific boat tracking traits, or ???

The one I am installing has “no” drag, so my concern is for tracking straight in rear quartering winds and seas and not on loss of speed.

So — is there a “formula” for figuring where this thing should go?

I think
that could be a bad thing to have under there if you ever get broadside to a breaking wave, the boat would want to trip over it even if you were bracing into the wave as normal.


Agreed on having a skeg, centerboard…
… daggerboard anvwhere but behind the aft 1/3rd of the boat is really going to mess with boats handling in a bad way.

No such thing as a no drag skeg. The (deployed) foil shape can greatly lessen drag as compared to a flat plate as it occurs as the boat waddles along with you paddling it but it will never be as low as having the hull smooth back there.

Once you cut that slot, you are messing with laminar flow in a big way.

my custom 'charlette’

my thinking
a blade just behind the seat(behind the bulkhead, which means about 8" behind the cockpit rim) would inhibit sideslip and provide some anti weathercocking moment. seems like a potential for more efficient less yaw paddling. also a daggerboard can fill its slot so the slot drag is minimal. and a daggerboard that close to the cockpit could be manipulated by hand without lines, cables, etc. i tried a skeg on this boat that was hung over the stern like a rudder. i got caught trying hard to make a breaking wave at a 45 angle and felt that the aft skeg contributed to my subsequent broach. i removed it. and i have been thinking of alternatives. remember sing’s post about adding surf skegs to a ww boat? he placed them just behind the cockpit if i remember

Skeg placement
I played around last summer with a fixed skeg, 1"x18" on my S&G Night Heron and had some interesting results. When the skeg was placed behind the cockpit area it reduced weathercocking, improved the tracking and didn’t seem to effect the manuverability. In quartering folling seas it reduced and balanced the amount of yawing that the kayak did as a wave passed. It seemed to act as a fulcrum. When I positioned the skeg at farmost stern it almost eliminated the weathercocking, made the tracking extremely strong and greatly reduced the manuverability. In following seas the stern would get pushed hard with the wave and throw the kayak off course. When the kayak would get pushed off course it was very hard to get the kayak back on course with correction strokes. I found this location to be a hazzard when paddling in rough conditions. I found what seems to be a sweet spot for this fixed skeg about 2-3 feet behind the cockpit area. This location reduced weathercoking so that correction strokes can easily be used, manuverability was still good and the kayak would still balance out in following seas. I think that kayak manufacturers mount their skegs aft the rear hatch so that the skeg doesn’t interfere with loading and storage of the rear hatch. If your installing the skeg yourself you have the option of installing it anywhere you want and work around it. It sounds like your on the right track.

Paragraph about this

Look down in the in the rudders and skegs section. Nothing too “deep” but it’s something.

The centerboard may do all you want in the conditions you describe, but you have to balance that against it probably being a really bad thing to have if you are caught being pushed sideways by a breaking wave. I have to think the boat will want to roll right over.


thanks very helpful
i will reread that section. winters is amazing i appreciate his expertise. i think i may build a s&g osprey or maybe a derivative and i am willing to try other approaches.

as a surfer
my instinct is to drive down and catch the face of the wave (oldschool longboard surfer) sideslipping is fine and okay at the end of the ride. this boat has some speed and handling potential so i want to maximize drive down the wave face and deal with side slip after a fast shoot down the shoulder. i mean surfing : )

thanks doug
i like your open minded approach