Towing & Use of Skeg

Just a quick question - when towing other boat(s) from a somewhat rockered boat like the NDK Explorer or similar, do people tend to drop the skeg partial or more, a lot of the time or more in wind and chop? Last night’s work suggested that tow could/should encourage more skeg use than in my regular paddling w/this boat. (Waist mounted North Water tow system)

I’ve found that when doing a tow
in windy conditions that I used the skeg more than I would without a tow in the same conditions.

Same guidlelines apply as to when not towing. Add just enough skeg to stop the weathercocking.

What I’ve found is…
…that dropping the skeg on the boat being towed makes a big difference. It will swing around a lot less and tend to stay directly behind you better.

I don’t recall ever needing more skeg on my own boat, but that may vary with the type of tow setup you use. I use only waist-mounted rigs, which are relatively impervious to the motion of the boat behind. A deck mounted tow may cause your boat to be turned by the boat you’re towing, necessitating more skeg to counteract the effect.

I don’t think it should make that big
of a difference if you’re heading into the wind.

If you are with the wind, the skeg on the towed kayak would be of help, as it would on the powered kayak.

Why do you ask?

Skeg’ll definately help
Any directional stability you can add to an empty boat being towed will help. It’s probably not too much of an issue on a calm day, but chop can do a good job tossing a towed boat around. Also, since they draw so little water when empty, it can be awkward to paddle towing an empty boat in a lot of wind.

I once towed an empty boat that was yanking at me pretty hard. It didn’t have an skeg, so I used an old sailing trick and tied a 50’ line to it’s rear handle, which acted as a sort of mild drogue. Worked like a charm.

It helps a lot in crosswinds, too
With the skeg down, the stern of the towed boat is kept under control. The bow is given direction by the towing boat. The end result is that the towed boat follows directly behind the towing boat, rather than wandering around or being blown downwind.

Why I asked
I was at a practice session Thursday night, and tried towing. It was the first time I’ve tried a more serious scenario - towing two boats one of whom was being the victim. So one boat was forward, the other facing back, and since no one was actually disabled they were doing a good job of pointing noses and dropping skegs so they made a track.

And it was fairly windy with some minor but dedicated chop - we ended up well out into the fetch by the time I hooked up to tow. Enough wind to make turning more atheletic than usual.

I was fine when I pulled off straight from the towed boats to start, but ran into a huge problem when I went to turn us all around and head over to the other boats with the wind coming somewhat at my beam. Somewhere between successfully getting us turned around and then trying to move forward I lost the straight line.

I figure that I should have probably just dropped the skeg, at least partial, as I started coming around. And probably should have had it more fully dropped when I pulled us out after the turn.

But in general, I am getting the sense that when towing, I want to have the skeg down on this boat more than I would tend to just paddling myself. Having come from boats where I never really used any tracking device, the skeg is just less of a habit for me than maybe for others.