Skeg question

I have a mostly flat bottomed kayak that needs a rudder and works well with it.
Right now I’m not able to use the rudder but have been experimenting with a temporary skeg I bought which works pretty well but to me it looks too big.
Current tends to grab it. It’s seven inches long.
The question: is there an optimal size for a skeg that helps maintain a heading without being pushed by side currents?

No expert String, but the size of the skeg is determined by how much you deploy it, and it is more about being able to paddle straight in the wind. Someone posted this here once, and I saved it for reference.

sleg position

If I was paddling in a cross current that was catching the skeg I would pull it up. Will this temporary skeg move, or is it more like a tracking fin.

1 Like

The skeg can’t be moved it is like an SUP or surfboard skeg.

I think the amount of skeg deployed is mostly dependent on conditions experienced at that moment.

Thanks. Castoff is right, it is fixed . It can be easily removed so I’ll start removing a bit at a time trying to determine if there is a happy medium.

If it’s easily attached and removed, it might be worth getting more than one, and modifying them so that you have a choice of different sizes to choose from for experimenting.

1 Like

For kayaks that weathercock (i.e., turn into the wind), I would lean toward too little skeg versus too much. I had the skeg control rope on my Tempest 170 detach from the skeg control. That caused the skeg to become fully deployed (it’s actuated by a spring) with no way to retract it. And I couldn’t turn more upwind than beam-on in a moderate breeze. I had to round a modest headland and barely made it because i just couldn’t turn upwind.

Definitely! A kayak that lee cocks is definitely much more problematic that one that weathercocks. I had a Nordkapp HM that tended to lee cock and also tracked really strongly. It’s was really difficult to turn it into the wind, which caused problems on a few occasions.

There are two things to consider with a skeg: size and placement. Size considerations are pretty obvious, but placement also makes a big difference. The closer to the center of the boat, the less effective the skeg is in countering weathercocking, though it does help reduce the effects of crosswinds pushing the boat sideways.

SUP racers say a skeg should start to turn the board after 8-10 strokes on one side.

That doesn’t say much for a double paddle, which tend to keep the boat straight (if done right)

Did you put in a skeg box? If you can change out the skegs, that might be better than trimming that one; because conditions change and the amount of skeg is dependent on the conditions.

I trimmed down a 7" skeg recently on my SUP using a rotary tool. I snipped and honed it down by 3+ inches. But kept the original contoured shape. I did this because the waters I frequent most are filled with grabby rocks and I wanted to reduce my chances of being “pitch-poled” head first over the bow. Yet at the same time, I wanted to be able to maintain a degree of easy tracking in flats.

I’ve never been a big fan of skegs in general (on kayaks either) for similar reasons:

  1. There’s no substitute for good paddling to offset yaw.(Although, I’ll admit skegs do have their place at times in wind)
    And 2. If non-flip up, I can’t abide with how they catch in weeds and such in shallows.

Anyway, the trimming down of skeg size worked out fine for me–If I don’t end up removing the damn thing altogether.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Disclaimer*Void where prohibited. Your results may vary.

1 Like

Can you make it adjustable? Reason factory-installed skegs usually are.