Skeg Techinique

My QCC700 has a rudder and I know how to make her handle just find without using the rudder unless it’s necessary. I get to paddle one this weekend with a skeg. In order to get a jump on things and not waste time just figuring it out for myself, the question is…What is the proper amount of skeg to deploy in various instances when using it? I realize it’s not being used properly if it’s used just all the way up or all the way down like a rudder.

Thanks for any info to all.

It’s very simple
You use just enough skeg to cancel any weathercocking you are experiencing.

By feel
At the point that the boat is responding properly to your signals and/or tracking the way you want, you have enough skeg. Whether a cable or rope skeg, amount is still a matter of feel. The amount that you need to have down for various conditions will vary based on the boat and your own preferences.

I find that, if I am in conditions that a skeg may do useful stiffening, I often want more skeg in my Explorer LV at the end of a long day’s paddle than I did starting out. That’s not about the boat, but about how much energy I feel like expending to keep her bow pointed in one direction. After a few hours paddling I get lazier.


Click where it says “Flash Animation” at the upper right.

Basically - when underway in a a properly setup kayak:

No skeg - you’ll tend to point upwind a bit (weathercock)

With partial skeg - you’ll run cross wind to some degree depending on how much skeg.

Full skeg - you’ll run downwind (and it will be harder to turn - remember to bring it up when not needed).

Like the others said, you can tune this be feel as it gets easier to paddle. With GPS you can fine tune even more because the right amount will not only give you easiest paddling with least corrective strokes, it will also give you best speed.

Like the rudder, odds are you won’t need it much - but if this another 700 you should find it handy in sometimes between 10-20 knots. No need under that, and over that the waves usually begin shelter the hull from wind (skeg has use in waves too - similar but different and you have to experiment). Also, if QCC -the cord will allow some variation - but not the same degree of fine tuning a slider or other setup offers. Mine used to like to slip or waves would hit the ball abd work the line out of the cleat. Can be annoying on a crossing with quartering winds.

Like I Said Before…
if you want to, you can actually use the skeg as an aid in turning. If you want to turn into the wind, raise it up. If you want to turn away from the wind, push it further down. Readjust the skeg when you get to the heading you want.

i like simplicity
i don’t race. i have skegged, ruddered, and gone native. now i enjoy compensating for weathercocking. i can often use it to my advantage. for me its kinda boring to not use my paddle to correct, also distracting. my epiphany happened while surfing a 3’ boat wake. the deployed skeg spun me around into a broach and i dumped. oops!