I’ll bite
Not being a smart aleck here but how does having the skeg down make your boat more ‘steerable’? I can lean the heck out of my QCC with the skeg down and it won’t turn worth a darn.


makes it harder to turn

Much More ‘Steerable’.
My boat weathercocks. Without the skeg it wants to turn into the wind and is difficult to steer away from the wind. With the proper amount of skeg deployed the boat is equally easy to steer… into or away from the wind.

While I’m at the lectern… I’ve seen people post “The skeg is a tracking device, not a steering device.” That is simply not true. Want to turn into the wind? Raise the skeg. Want to turn downwind? Lower it. The skeg can be a steering device.

Sort of
I’m one of the people who have said that the skeg is a tracking device, not a steering device.

While what you state is true, it depends on the presence of adequate wind. With a rudder, OTOH, the boat will turn according to rudder setting, no matter whether there is wind or not.

Also, boats will behave variously depending on trim. I’ve been in at least one in which even a light wind would push me downwind, not upwind (no skeg).

not so steerable
when folks say they can’t turn (steer) as well with the skeg they mean that if you suddenly want to turn say 90 degrees and so you edge and sweep you won’t turn as quickly as with the skeg up. Even if you raise and lower the skeg in bits (without much sweep strokes) there is only a slow and and limited (which directions) amount of steering (to or away from the wind). Perhaps just semantics, but good to clarify any confusion. I only use my skeg about 1/10 of the time, but it sure is nice to have those times to avoid hassle and fatigue of all that edging and other tricks to correct.

Lowered skegs
In case nobody else mentioned it, some skegs are much longer (deeper in the water) than others. So what is 1/2 skeg in one of those boats is like a full deployment in another.

Lots of other variables, as bnystrom posted.

You need to experiment for yourself, and in different conditions.

I find it harder to turn the boat if there is more than a little bit of skeg in the water. Very hard to impossible if fully deployed. If only a little bit of skeg is down, the kayaks are still maneuverable. This assumes light to moderate wind.

Explorer’s skeg
You might enjoy using it with a strong tailwind, so you can eat a snack while still moving forward. In mine, if I fully deploy the skeg, I barely have to paddle. It just steamrollers on with the wind waves.

Hmm - interesting
Interesting way of looking at it Kudzu. I’ve always thought of it the flip way though. That is, with no skeg the boat will follow any inherent bias of the hull to not go straight. With full skeg, in many/most boats you have a chance of the same thing, only now the hull will more likely be biased towards leecocking.

In both cases the skeg is acting to modify, or not, the hull’s tendency to go other than straight. But it’s initially the hull that wants to turn, with the skeg acting to contain or alter that bias.

Then there is the point that most times of actual use, a skeg is going to be only partly down. In that case it’ll be set to improve tracking.

Chicken and the egg?

my Pintail has a skeg wire…
and it hums/shakes/vibrates 3/4 > full down


Read Pika’s Post
If it’s calm out, a lowered skeg hinders a turn. If it’s windy out, proper use of a skeg can help you turn. I don’t use my skeg in calm water / calm wind.

Tracking AND Turning
Want to turn into the wind? Raise the skeg.

Want to turn downwind? Lower the skeg.

After you make your turn adjust for good tracking.

A rudder can be used as a tracking device and a skeg can be used as a steering device… on a windy day.

Hey - I got that part

– Last Updated: Nov-14-09 10:42 AM EST –

I was only commenting that I always thought about it by starting with the hull's behavior, then having the skeg modify. Philosophical comment, not one that needed to have things explained. :-)

lining the skeg box
there’s an adhesive backed material you can put in the bottom of the skeg box that will tamp down vibrating. It’s about 1 1/4" wide with stiff plastic fibers sticking up 3/16". Not like velcro but straight. I got it from APS

brb, looking for it.