wind---stern skid---boat trim

took my new (used)Sealion out today for the second time. First time was flat bay water, no wind and she paddled pretty darn good. Took her out this morning and as the winds built up she got skittish as hell. Going into the wind (wind about 12mph) was ok. As the day progressed the wind built to probably around 25mph. I turned to go back to the put in and had a strong qautering wind at my stern. Talk about correction strokes!! At one point I was approaching a concrete dock and as I used a stern rudder stroke to approach, the wind turned the boat and pushed my bow into the dock. It felt as though the stern actually skidded across the water. Finally I put my rudder down and cruised back to the put in. My qustion is: is there a way I can trim the boat to add weight to the stern? I thought of putting a couple of gallons of bottled water in the rear hatch to help the stern sit lower. Would this help? Any ideas?


Just use the rudder…
That’s why it’s there…

hhhmmm…I don’t know
ok lets see, how do Explain this…my rudder is really more like a skeg. I lost my left leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident about 20 years ago. So what I do to rudder boats is remove the rudder cables and simply fix the rudder in a straight postion with two metal brackets that I manufacture. So when I put my “rudder” down it is fixed. I realize this is not a real problem, but I perfer to use the rudder as little as possible. My next boat will hopefully be a CD Sirocco with the skeg, but in the mean time I would like to enhance my rudderless paddling skills. By the way–even with the “rudder” down I still “feel” like the boat sits high in the water. Maybe I just need more time in the boat.


oops… :-0
Let’s see now… very few boats handle all conditions really well with out a skeg or a rudder. I you use the rudder as a skeg I would have it deployed for downwind running just as most skegs are deployed. You could try adding weight to the stern but it might throw off balance on other points of the wind, it works on some boats. Sounds like you’re trying to practice something with a boat that was not designed to do it.

Best of luck.

skeg/rudder use
so are you saying that it is usually normal to have to use a rudder/skeg during a downwind run? If thats the case I have no problem with it, I just always thought that the use of a rudder/skeg was kind of a crutch that I was trying to avoid. I see your point of trimming the boat and how it could possibly cause other problems. I still have a feeling the boat would handle better loaded—say like for a camping trip. Right now the only thing I carry in the rear hatch is my leg! Sure gets some cool looks at the put in/take out.

paddle on!! Scott2

weather cocking
Were you edging your boat to get the stern to bite and not slide around into the wind? This requires a snug fit in the cockpit to do for any length of time.

I find it I lean or edge the boat over I can hold a straighter line. My husband does the same and rarely drops the skeg on his Tracer. Me, I am 60 lbs lighter and will weather cock in winds where he won’t. So I use the skeg a lot more. We are wondering how much the imbalance of not having your leg effects tracking?

I was not edging the boat to any great degree. I was really only using knee pressure to help with small adjustments. This was only my second time out in this paticular boat and in conditions that windy I was not to sure about secondary stability. I fit in the cockpit ok. The sealion is a good sized boat and I am only 5’9 and 175. I tend to like my cockpits to be a little oversized, but I feel I can control the boat pretty well. I dont think the loss of my leg…ie less weight on one side of the boat, effects my tracking very much. In reality we would be talking about maybe 7 pounds weight difference–im guessing. What it does effect is my ability to use my foot braces. Since I can only use one side, I tend not to use either side very much. That is one thing I like about paddling–at least for me—is that I can rely less on my legs. I was always very athletic and paddling allows me to continue feelinf the burn of endurance.

paddle hard—Scott2

boat trim
Yes, you can adjust the trim of the boat according to the conditions in which you will be paddling.

Most boats are designed to weathercock to some degree, especially in rear and quartering seas. It is much safer/easier to handle than lee cocking.

Adding weight aft will reduce weathercocking to a degree. It often doesn’t take a lot to have the desired effect.

Padding Options
This is not an answer to your question about trim - so sorry if it’s one too many responses to something you didn’t ask. But I had an idea that you may want to consider.

I couldn’t find what I’d call complete specs on the Sea Lion on any Perception site, even the one in Europe where it appears the boat is still available as a current model. Nor could I find any decent pics of their thigh braces. So I am fishing a bit here. What I do know of the boat is that is is a well-liked older boat design that wasn’t intended for total newbies and has a very loyal following from owners who really appreciate how the boat handles conditions.

My thought is that, if you have some thigh you may want to build the existing braces down a little lower on both sides, and if possible also use minicell foam to extend/create a longer thigh brace on the side where you lost your lower leg. Given the era of the boat, it is likely that it has a higher front deck than may of the newer ones and you’d be able to increase your control a bit by getting your legs a little less froggy. (Not a bad idea for your back either.)

If this is silly, take it as such. But I built the braces in my Vela down as much as anything, and it makes a huge diff in boat control.

A possible outfitting option for you

– Last Updated: Jun-17-06 2:39 PM EST –

Switch to a tiller bar system. Modify it to have dual tiller bars. Then you can use one foot between them instead of one on either side.

A fixed rudder as you have rigged will greatly reduce any maneuverability.

You might also consider (since you remove the lower portion of the leg and stow it) a custom bracing support for your short leg so it also has something to push against. Sort of like a larger padded footpeg placed farther back. Then the thigh braces and such may become more useful, give you more control, and braces and rolls on both sides should be more balanced.

Hope that all made sense.

not silly at all
You are right about the high deck on the sealion. I still have my entire thigh, knee, and about 5 inches of my lower leg so I really dont have a problem using the thigh braces. Instead of pushing up against the brace i have to raise my leg on that side and hold it up against the brace. It is still very stable and gives me pretty good control. Though you are right that I should add some more padding. Thanks for your suggestion.


by tiller bar
do you mean just a straight bar across the inside of the cockpit where I could exert pressure in the center with my good leg? I had thought of this before but havent really did the R&D on it yet. I am pretty mechanical and have access to a shop (motorcycle shop) with a lot of tools, powdercoating…etc. I know that the fixed rudder really cuts down on my correction ability, but I figured it was better then nothing. It is good for shooting from point to point, I just have to keep deploying and retracting it. This can get a little interesting in rougher water. But in the long run I think a skegged boat will probably better suit my needs. Let me know some more about the tiller bar. Thanks Greyak


Look at racing boats
SRS, KayakPro, etc. You can but ready made systems - and just adapt the steering bar.

Knee controls for rudder
The boat/manufacturer escapes my memory right now but there are knee controls employed out there that may be a good option for you. I don’t know the wherewithal on bracing and using your knees to bunt the control back and forth as needed but I know it’s out there…