Valley Pintail Skeg

I recently purchased a used Valley Pintail and am trying to figure how to make the skeg work properly. The skeg has a bungee cord hooked to it to make it drop out and a rope to pull the skeg back up and hold it there with a clevis. The bungee cord seems to work properly but the rope doesn’t want to pull the skeg completely up. It looks like the rope isn’t getting enough leverage to fully pull the skeg up. I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem and what you did to correct it. Thanks for any help.

Wrong routing?
I had the same problem with a used Pintail several years ago.I dropped the skeg system and noticed there was more than one hole(I think three?) in the skeg to hookup but I wasn’t sure what to do so I inpected the skeg on another boat with the same system and sure enough,it was hooked up wrong so it took 5 minutes to retie in the right hole and remount and it works fine now.

If you could find another Valley boat with a rope system it would be best but I just inspected the skeg on my Boreal Ellesmere which appears to be a copy of the Valley skeg.

Sorry I can’t be more specific but that should help you figure it out,they’re pretty simple really.


you gotta jerk 'em up. a clean, strong pull and the skeg snaps up. if you just put direct pressure it only comes up 3/4 of the ways. this is how you get the 3/4 skeg position. pull it up slowly.

wanna get it all the way??

JERK it!

steve (who owned a cantankerous skegged Pintail)

The irony here being…
… that once you get it right, there’s a good chance you may end up leaving a tiny bit of skeg down all the time anyway.

In general I’m not an advocate of using skeg to act as a tracking fin - but I make an exception for the Pintail if you actually paddle it anywhere and don’t just use it for beach play and rolling.

There are just two holes
for the skeg rope and they are pretty close to the pivot point of the skeg and don’t seem to be giving the rope much leverage. I just drilled a hole 1" out from the other holes and the skeg pulls up much better. Thanks for the help.

After drilling a new hole
I am able to give the rope a good jerk and the skeg comes completely up now. Thanks for the tip.

also …

– Last Updated: Jun-14-06 6:22 PM EST –

turn the boat over and look at the placement of the skeg relative to the box. if it rubs on the side of the box as it's retracted that will cause it to be difficult to retract. you can 'heat' bend it SLIGHTLY to be centered in the skeg box and that often solves the binding problem.

also, over the years, little stones can find their way into the tube which holds the rope and thus cause significant binding as the rope tries to work around this deterrent to retraction. in such case remove the rope and push a coat hangar through the tube (after straightening it out of course) or if the tube is already roughened from years of abuse, replace it.

The skeg was bent
and rubbing on one side so I used a hairdryer to heat it and bend it back straight and it worked out fine. This is my first kayak with a retractable skeg and I’m not impressed with the design. It just seems like it can easily get jammed by debri during launching and fail once your on the water and this is a kayak that needs a dependable skeg. It will be intersting to see how it works out. Thanks for the advice.

glad it helped …
it’s funny, you’d think that stones, shells, debris, flotsam and jetsom and whatever else would get into that skeg box and cause all manner of heartache … but somehow it doesn’t.

the key is your launch. don’t sit in the boat on the sand and then monkey knuckle it down to the water while your sitting in the cockpit. don’t drag it to the water holding the bow with stern on the ground, sand, rocks, pebbles and all else. instead, if you have to drag the boat, do it by the stern.

but best of all … put the boat in the water and THEN get into it. i’ve been paddling for 35 odd years with a skegged boat much of the time and have only jammed it twice in all that time. 'course i’m anal retentive about my boats and never drag them. ever. never. not gonna happen. nope!