When do you use and not use the skeg?

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scottdog007
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When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by scottdog007 » Wed May 31, 2017 1:21 pm

I'm generally a white water paddler but on occasions get out and sea kayak.

When is it one is supposed to use the skeg? And are their times when you should not use the skeg (other than when getting on to a beach)?

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by TheEcho » Wed May 31, 2017 2:16 pm


nigelhatton
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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by nigelhatton » Wed May 31, 2017 2:57 pm

I use just enough drop on my skeg to help me go straight.
If I'm manoeuvring then the skeg comes up.
Often in choppy seas you'd have the skeg down.
Just get out and practice and it'll all come to you in time.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Wed May 31, 2017 4:00 pm

It's often a good idea to launch backwards to avoid any debris getting into the skeg slot. Also consider putting a short rope on it to assist it if jammed.
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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by Owen » Wed May 31, 2017 4:51 pm

Most sea kayaks should naturally weather cock that is turn into the wind. The skeg is used to balance the trim of the kayak against the wind.

If you're going into (up) the wind keep your skeg up.
If you're going down wind put your skeg all the way down.
If you're going across the wind put your skeg half way down, then adjust it so that your kayak isn't trying to turn either up or down wind.

Don't use the skeg if you're playing in the rocks.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by pathbrae » Wed May 31, 2017 8:01 pm

If the boats not running straight - put down a bit more skeg. If it gets better - result, if it gets worse, pull it up a bit.

Ignore any "rules" - find out what works for you, in your boat and in the way you paddle and the conditions you are paddling in, how the boat is loaded and so on and so on....

It's always good to practice paddling in all sorts of conditions with the skeg up too - because, like most mechanical devices, the time will come when it fails and you have to paddle without it - and it will decide to fail at the worst possible moment.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by scottdog007 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:55 am

Thanks for the replies.

Last weekend I paddled from Ringwood to Lulworth Cove and back, so 16K in quite choppy waters, well at least 3 foot swells. Not really for intermediate paddlers more for advance, there were white tips to some of the waves. The funny thing was I was in a Dagger Exodus 16.10 which has a rudder instead of a skeg. I obviously had the skeg up the whole of the time.

Paddling to Lulworth Cove the boat was like a dog. I said to the others how slow the boat was at turning and I felt uncomfortable at rock hopping. Anyway when I reached Lulworth and we stopped to eat, I then saw the front hatch cover was slightly open. When I took the cover off I found the front compartment completely full of water. No wonder I struggled.

Paddling back with it empty the boat was so so much nicer. I know this boat is a touring boat and not a sea kayak but it paddled surprisingly well.

Asking the others in the team and I don't think anyone used their skeg through out the day. But it did get me wondering when I should use it when I'm in a sea kayak, your answers seem logical, so thanks.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by Mac50L » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:22 pm

scottdog007 wrote:When is it one is supposed to use the skeg?
Never use one.
And are their times when you should not use the skeg?
When you have a rudder, no problems on beaches, no jamming problems ...... OK, yes I had to.... no, not sorry....

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by seawolf856 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:55 pm

Most, if not all sea kayaks will turn into the wind. This is known as weather-cocking. The skeg is designed to prevent (or at least counter the effect) of weather-cocking.

'Owen' has it spot on:-

If you're going into (up) the wind keep your skeg up.
If you're going down wind put your skeg all the way down.
If you're going across the wind put your skeg half way down, then adjust it so that your kayak isn't trying to turn either up or down wind.

As with all issues related to our sport of sea kayaking, individual boats and individual paddlers perform differently and you absolutely have to learn how your own boat behaves in windy conditions but the above is a very good starting point to explaining when to use a skeg.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by PeterG » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:06 pm

Use fine adjustments of the skeg to achieve neutral paddling on your chosen course. Fluctuating wind and waves may mean you have to adjust it from time to time. However, usually a spot of edging will control a temporary lull or windy spell and your boat will continue down the lubber line straight as a die without having to look at it too often.

The skeg really comes into its own on an expedition, it can counter large quantities of bad loading without the effort of re-packing.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:14 pm

The points made about loading are relevant, as you've found when you tried to paddle with the flooded front hatch. Different boats will behave in different ways though, so experiment and find out what yours likes.

By way of example, the Quest I had some years ago liked to be loaded stern heavy. Too much weight in the front and the thing was virtually uncontrollable irrespective of what position the skeg was in. In contrast, the T/race XcapeX I now paddle prefers the majority of the weight for'ard. I once paddled it with the stern carrying most of the load, in a F5/6, and getting it to weathercock was impossible.

The link to how a skeg works / how to use it is a good starting point.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by rockhopper » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:30 pm

It has to be said that one of the joys of paddling is getting to know your boat, how it behaves in wind and waves, when being turned and leaned, until you know it's likes, dislikes and foibles......then you load it with gear and find you have to re-learn it all over again...great fun.
It is also what makes having a go in other peoples boats such fun too. Swapping from a rounded/flat bottomed kayak to one with hard chines (like Peter's Anas Acuta) or from a touring boat to a play boat is excellent fun and a great way to increase your paddling skills too....... but there is a real danger you will end up with owning more than one boat...!

Rog.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by scottdog007 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:42 pm

rockhopper wrote:....... but there is a real danger you will end up with owning more than one boat...!

Rog.
Now you tell me. Too late I have 8.

Raptor, Burn, Stretch (for pool), All Star, Old Town Charles River, Dagger Exodus, and 2 old sea kayaks (with tiny cockpits, got to get rid of these).

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by rockhopper » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:26 pm

Blast! that beats me...only have 6...
If only they did Top Trumps kayak cards (or maybe that's just a bit too sad...and it has the word Trump in it!!) so maybe not..

Rog.

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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:07 pm

scottdog007 wrote:Thanks for the replies.

Last weekend I paddled from Ringwood to Lulworth Cove and back, so 16K in quite choppy waters, well at least 3 foot swells. Not really for intermediate paddlers more for advance, there were white tips to some of the waves. The funny thing was I was in a Dagger Exodus 16.10 which has a rudder instead of a skeg. I obviously had the skeg up the whole of the time.

Paddling to Lulworth Cove the boat was like a dog. I said to the others how slow the boat was at turning and I felt uncomfortable at rock hopping. Anyway when I reached Lulworth and we stopped to eat, I then saw the front hatch cover was slightly open. When I took the cover off I found the front compartment completely full of water. No wonder I struggled.

Paddling back with it empty the boat was so so much nicer. I know this boat is a touring boat and not a sea kayak but it paddled surprisingly well.

Asking the others in the team and I don't think anyone used their skeg through out the day. But it did get me wondering when I should use it when I'm in a sea kayak, your answers seem logical, so thanks.
You tend to get Rudders on kayaks with little rocker, and Skegs on kayaks with lots of rocker; on a rockered kayak a rudder would have to hang down a lot further. A rudder does not make a sea kayak a "touring boat" although they are frowned upon.

Compartments flood even on sea kayaks, if they're empty you should have an airbag in them. If you're leading, you should carry a rolled up one in case someone else's compartment leaks. In the book, "Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble", about half of the cases involved breached compartments with the kayak performing a "Cleopatra's Needle".
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scottdog007
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Re: When do you use and not use the skeg?

Post by scottdog007 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:01 am

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Compartments flood even on sea kayaks, if they're empty you should have an airbag in them. If you're leading, you should carry a rolled up one in case someone else's compartment leaks. In the book, "Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble", about half of the cases involved breached compartments with the kayak performing a "Cleopatra's Needle".
Makes sense, good advice.

I took this boat out on the lake last weekend and paddled the first time with the rudder down. It is interesting you get great turning ability, but just too sensitive to control. I like having a firm footing on the footrest and this gives a spongy feedback, so not the best. When the rudder is up then only rope lines are restricting the footplaces from moving and so again you get a spongy feeling.

The boat was cheap but makes a good club boat for people to try out and get a 'sea kayak' experience.

People in my club saw the video o me and are now asking if I can arrange a club trip to the coast with a provider. So I am now looking into this, though the provider will need to supply boats.

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