Sandy Skeg

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rockhopper
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Sandy Skeg

Post by rockhopper » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:25 pm

No, not a new character from Poldark.

Just wondering if anyone has bright ideas to solve this which may help me needlessly experimenting with options.

I often kayak alone which means that when launching from a beach I have to try to keep the skeg from getting stuck in with sand and small stones. I almost always try to launch backwards which helps with this but, not always. If it is slightly rough then the boat is more likely to scrape the bottom which increases the change of the skeg getting stuck and makes it more of a pain to have to re-land, free the skeg and try again. As the launch tends to be rougher when it is windy and the need for the skeg being usable when it is windy makes it all the more irritating.
I already have a hole drilled into the skeg with a short 'tug line attached but as I cannot reach this from the cockpit it doesn't help.'
Has anyone tried running a longer line temporarily looped through the 'tug' line which can be pulled from the cockpit to free a skeg in such situations?
Any other possible solutions?

Rog.

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by PlymouthDamo » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:13 pm

I don't have a solution to keeping debris out on a drag-launch, but is your boat light enough to lift into the water and then wade it out to do a floating launch? Floating launches are easy with a keyhole cockpit as you can get your bum down straight away, but it can be done with an ocean cockpit by putting your paddle on the back deck, sticking out on one side perpendicular to the boat, while you sit on it and slide yourself forward. I've launched in some choppy conditions, occasionally with a loaded boat, and never yet had to scrape down the slipway or beach. Even if there is the rare occasion where its too rough to do a floating launch, you're minimising your overall risk of experiencing a jammed skeg by float-launching whenever it is possible.

When we did a return crossing from Lundy, the guy in the other boat had a jammed skeg - presumably from the drag launch. Sod's law: we didn't notice until we were well on our way. He had a cord attached to the end of the skeg, and I did my best to pull it out for him, but only succeeded in nearly slicing my finger off - it just wouldn't budge. So I doubt any remote skeg-freeing mechanism would work.

Otherwise, you just need to keep doing the skeg tests as soon as you've launched. Again - sod's law says the time your skeg jams is the time you forget.

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MikeB
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:43 pm

As noted, I'm wondering why you don't float launch.

This same question was asked a while back iirc. Where launching off the beach was the only way, solutions included bits of old carpet with a recovery line attached.

On the subject of cords in skeg blades (good idea) a top tip is to mark the hull to show where the cord is. It's surprisingly difficult to find it just by groping around under the hull.

foxtrot
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by foxtrot » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:08 pm

Duct tape is your friend! Use the tape to cover the skeg box working from the front to the rear leaving enough surplus to make a loop. Make a loop in one end of a 2 metre length of cord and thread the surplus duct tape through this and then press the 2 adhesive faces together. Attach the other end of the cord to a convenient point adjacent the cockpit and when you have launched pull the tape off the skeg box. No litter is left behind and your skeg is clear.

seawolf856
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by seawolf856 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:29 pm

Not everyone can perform a floating launch (me included) for whatever reason - cockpit size, poor flexibility, injury, disability, inexperience etc so jammed skegs are always going to be an issue. Unfortunately a remote line outboard of the skeg box is only likely to cause even more problems, if you could ever get it to work in the first place. Short tug lines are a blessing but useless for solo paddlers. Sorry Rockhopper, I think you're screwed! However I will be watching this thread with interest to witness the inventiveness of the great British sea kayaker, and its already started with the brilliant duct tape solution by Foxtrot.

rockhopper
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by rockhopper » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:43 am

Unfortunately, the conditions where the skeg is most likely to get jammed are also the same conditions that make a floating launch the most difficult. Usually this is with breaking waves which means I tend to end up with a cockpit half full of water (which I can pump out but it is still not ideal) or the kayak gets broached by the waves. I wondered if something like parcel tape may work, being paper based with a water based glue may mean that a strip of that over the skeg opening may well wash off very quickly once launched. Don't like the thought of leaving litter but I am sure the amount of rubbish I usually pick up from the beach or whilst paddling more than offsets that.

Rog.

nigelhatton
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by nigelhatton » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:15 pm

My own personal experience of a jammed skeg is limited because I usually am able to avoid the problem in the first place. When it does happen I just leave it for a few minutes and often it will clear but never force it down. If I'm beach launching I'll put the kayak into a foot of water first but if it is rough then I have no choice and if it does jam I also have a rudder to drop down. My opinion is not to bother modifying anything the maker hasn't already done to solve the problem. Just a word of caution, try to avoid greasing the control cable otherwise you'll have nothing but more trouble a few paddles later.

Mac50L
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Mac50L » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:18 am

rockhopper wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:25 pm
Just wondering if anyone has bright ideas to solve this which may help me needlessly experimenting with options.
Freya circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand had continual problems with her skeg, Paul Caffyn ditched his skeg part way through the Australian circumnavigation. These are a couple major paddlers. Answer - chuck it. Very few in this country use them. We and the Australians are just too innovative and tend to design things that work. It was the Yanks who came up with a rudder pedal design that was the worst possible.

rockhopper
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by rockhopper » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:44 pm

Are you confusing a ruder system (pedal operated steering system) with a skeg (drop down blade that help prevent weather cocking and aids tracking). I cannot think of a sensible alternative to having a working skeg in certain conditions... a bit like having a drop down keel on a sailing boat.

Rog.

Allan Olesen
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Allan Olesen » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:41 pm

rockhopper wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:44 pm
Are you confusing a ruder system (pedal operated steering system) with a skeg
I think he means skeg. I found this photo from Freya's New Zealand expedition. Looks very much like a skeg:
https://get.google.com/albumarchive/112 ... coDu2JE1o2

Mac50L
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Mac50L » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:05 pm

rockhopper wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:44 pm
Are you confusing a ruder system (pedal operated steering system) with a skeg (drop down blade that help prevent weather cocking and aids tracking).
No, the mention of the American sliding pedal steering was about bad design.
I cannot think of a sensible alternative to having a working skeg in certain conditions... a bit like having a drop down keel on a sailing boat.

Rog.
The sensible thing to have is called a rudder, something yachts always have as well as drop-down keels called centreboards. Centreboards are there to stop the yacht sliding sideways due to the wind acting on the sail, something we generally don't have happening when kayaking. The centreboard / keel versus the sail is how yachts work, it how they use the wind and can go to windward.

If you insist on using a failed rudder (a skeg) why not design it properly? You want to keep sand and gravel out, keep it from jamming at a critical point, the launch. Then fit a cover like an aircraft under carriage door. Sprung loaded so you don't have to do anything other than lower the skeg. Too deep a door? Then split it into two, one each side of the skeg and overlapped but looking flush to the water flow. Not rocket science.

Note - it is now publicly discussed, designs available so it shouldn't be able to be patented - "prior knowledge".

rockhopper
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by rockhopper » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:36 am

I understand the principle of a centreboard, converting sideways energy into forward energy however yachts have rudders because they use the wind to power them and cannot be steered by the use of a paddle on each side of the boat to act either as a rudder or a means of deflecting water to turn the kayak. In addition a yacht cannot be leaned in order to initiate and action a turn as a yacht will only lean as a reaction to wind in the sail whereas a leaned kayak can efficiently turn. I am not interested particularly in the age old discussion about the merits of rudders on kayaks....each to their own and each does have it's own plus (and minus) points.
More interesting is the idea of a sprung loaded door although I wonder if that additional mechanism would just increase the likelihood of something breaking or getting jammed or being damaged on launch/landing. Perhaps a flexible rubber flap fixed to one side of the mouth of the skeg box might be simpler (and less engineered).

Rog.

Mac50L
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Mac50L » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:10 am

rockhopper wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:36 am
Perhaps a flexible rubber flap fixed to one side of the mouth of the skeg box might be simpler (and less engineered).

Rog.
I suspect it would be preferable to have two rubber flaps and overlap them when closed. They won't stick down so far when open and the overlap does not have to be very great. Admittedly, the twin solid door type and hinges would need to be designed well to be reliable and sturdy. A flush-overlap-when-closed would certainly lower any drag that the open-hole design used at present must have.

Daker
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Daker » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:45 pm

rockhopper wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:25 pm
I already have a hole drilled into the skeg with a short 'tug line attached but as I cannot reach this from the cockpit it doesn't help.'
Has anyone tried running a longer line temporarily looped through the 'tug' line which can be pulled from the cockpit to free a skeg in such situations?
I would suggest this is by far the simplest and most likely successful option.
It would take 5mins to set up a piece of thin rope the 1st time and maybe 30 secs to attach for each launch.
The angle of pull is obviously not optimal but unless you have a major obstruction wedged in the skeg box, should work most of the time.

AND no alteration to the boat, no unnecessary rudder, no extra bits to jam, no litter created (!!!).

Having said that, persevering with mounting the boat in deeper water is better still and can be done in some pretty gnarly conditions with a bit of practice.

Mac50L
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by Mac50L » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 am

rockhopper wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:25 pm
Has anyone tried running a longer line temporarily looped through the 'tug' line which can be pulled from the cockpit to free a skeg in such situations? Rog.
I missed replying to this bit earlier and the answer is yes. Freya did that near a decade ago when she circumnavigated the South Island of New Zealand.

I launched and retrieved her one day during her trip and then launched her the next day.

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triwavesport
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by triwavesport » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:06 pm

I had my skeg jammed after a 'seal launch' off a single beach, which was a right pain. I now always beach launch backwards and so far that has avoided the problem recurring. I kinda like doing it that way too

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triwavesport
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Re: Sandy Skeg

Post by triwavesport » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:53 am

Edit - that should be "shingle beach" of course. Shingle, and just the right size stones to jam the skeg box solid, of course.

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