Skegs

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Mark R
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Skegs

Post by Mark R » Sun Apr 14, 2002 12:04 pm

My latest shiny boat comes with a retractable skeg...embarrassingly, I only have the vaguest notion what it's useful for.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Cheers,


-----------Mark Rainsley

Mike Buckley
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Skegs

Post by Mike Buckley » Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:30 pm

Hmmmm - lets see now. At it's simplist it's an adjustable trim device.

What you will find is that when you are paddling your new craft with the wind coming at anything other than directly in front of you or from the rear, the boat will tend to turn either into or away from the wind. (Depends on the individual boat design but most will tend to turn (weathercock) into the wind).

That tendancy to turn can be controlled by judicious use of the skeg. Experiement a bit for the conditions you are in and you'll find how much skeg is needed for any given wind direction and strength relative to your paddling speed.

The skeg will also give more directional stability in calm conditions as it acts as a fixed rudder.

Two schools of thought with skegs - the old hands tend not to like them but a boat fitted with one will have the directional stability AND manouverabiulity that the modern kayaker demands.

An example is the Nordkapp - the original design was directionally stable but a pig to turn. The latest version, of which I happen to have one for sale ;-) has a skeg option and that produces a craft which will turn when needed but is also capable of holding a course.

HIH - Mike.


dave miller
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Best use for a skeg

Post by dave miller » Mon Apr 15, 2002 1:33 pm

Consider it a piece of scrap material for jobs around the house, or use it to stop the back door blowing shut.
You can't use it while paddling, otherwise you would have to admit you can't paddle steer.
Then it's a small step to using a rudder, and then you'll have no credibility left.

Take my advice, buy a C1 and avoid the whole minefield.

On a serious note, keep a staimless hook or small krab on chord, it makes it easy for a paddling partner to clear stones that jam in the aperture, a common problem on the south coast.


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Mark R
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Re: Best use for a skeg

Post by Mark R » Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:59 pm

Cheers for the pearls of wisdom, Dave!

Erm...if I buy a C1 then I'll never be able to steer. Going round endlessly in circles isn't the best idea at sea (although it's very fashionable at Hurley).

Dave...did you earlier say something about crossing from Gower to Caldey this summer? I may use part of my half-term (first week in June) to head up that way and pick up where I left off last....which happens to be Rhosilli Bay. Any other takers for a few days around Pembrokeshire?





-----------Mark Rainsley

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adrian j pullin
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Re: Best use for a skeg

Post by adrian j pullin » Tue Apr 16, 2002 12:50 pm

I thing skegs fit into the "appropriate use" category. If you use it all the time, you get lazy and deskill. If you use them when appropriate (difficult wind/sea conditions when getting on is more important than skill development) then they are great. I recall crossing from Skye to Raasay in a force 4 funneling down the Inner Sound. The option was either use the skeg or edge so far that the gear on my deck was draging in the water.

Mike Buckley
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SKegs

Post by Mike Buckley » Tue Apr 16, 2002 4:51 pm

Gear on the deck??? Surely it's a course in boat packing that's needed!!!!

After all, how unseemly to ruin the lines of your craft by putting gear on the deck. Apart from spare paddles, tow line.

Mike ;)

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adrian j pullin
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Re: SKegs

Post by adrian j pullin » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:43 pm

>Apart from spare paddles, tow line.

Plus VHF, flares, drink, maps/charts, compass ...

Must get a trolly for carrying down the beach. :)

Mike Buckley
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Skegs

Post by Mike Buckley » Wed Apr 17, 2002 4:33 pm

> VHF etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

OK - point taken! On the FRONT deck is ok. Still sounds a bit cluttered though. Can't you get one of those flexi bottle thingies with a drinking tube and put it in your b/a? And surely you could carry the VHF on your b/a too? Isn't a chart a bit excessive for the Sound of Raasay?

(And speaking of which - any chance of a copy of your write-up of that trip?)

As to getting a trolley to carry down the beach - why? Surely you'd want to put the boat on it, not just carry the trolley down the beach ????????

Mind you, it sounds like a wheelbarrow would be more appropriate for you!!! Have you considered having the boat on a trailer and launch like a lifeboat - or on davits maybe? How about a seal launch off the pier? No - on second thoughts, with all that gear - you'd sink!!!!! :)

Mike.

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adrian j pullin
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Re: Skegs

Post by adrian j pullin » Thu Apr 18, 2002 1:18 pm

>isn't a chart a bit excessive for the Sound of Raasay?

Yes, it is. Kind of hard to get lost just there. I suppose you could turn the wrong way when leaving the beach and head north instead of south or something. I was actually helping on a 4* training/assessment so the charts were more for teaching on that trip.

>(And speaking of which - any chance of a copy of your write-up of that trip?)

Working on it. I've got to find the disk with it on, then I'll post it to Mark fo rthis site.

>As to getting a trolley to carry down the beach - why? Surely you'd want to put the boat on it, >not just carry the trolley down the beach ????????

Touché.

I must admit that I do like my gear. Did you know that if you carry all the kit listed for L3 assessment you need at least 6 medium BDHs. (What a sad puppy am I?)




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Jim
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Re: Raasay

Post by Jim » Sun Apr 21, 2002 10:36 pm

I like this discussion - I did a trip around Raasay at Easter so it is quite fresh in the mind!

Out of 6 boats we had one skeg and most of us had trouble at some time or other!

The worst time was around Scalpay on the way out and the way back - it was quite sheltered but whatever wind there was must have been funnelled.

As for deck cargo, I coldn't beleive the amount some of the guys had! The most experienced guy had a Nordkapp HM pretty much loaded with beer, so all his kit must have been on deck to start with (it made it's way inside through the week). Even my Dad was carrying loads of deck cargo on his baidarka - 9l of water amongst other things! I had a weird experience approaching the campsite on Scalpay, myself and my Dad had slipped a way back (he was really fighting the sea and I was a bit too) from the rest of the group and suddenly I noticed something small round and white in the water. I passed it by wondering what on earth it could be and then I saw another one, and this time recognised it as a mushroom! I was too slow to grab it as I passed but needless to say when I got to the beach, there was our guide mourning the loss of all but 4 mushrooms from the box on his deck - what annoyed him most was that there had been another box...

Most of the time I had just a set of splits, a towline and my helmet on my rear deck (my helmet has a sun visor and my baseball cap doesn't fit very well, so I chose the helmet), and my GPS and platypus on the foredeck. I have to admit that on the last day I swapped the Platypus for a map after an extended debate about the best way to cross from Rona to Raasay in the conditions (A stiff SE wind blowing up the sound of Rona, and for some reason Dad had decided to paddle against it and into a narrow channel rather than directly around the NW tip and straight into shelter - I think a few of us started taking a part in the navigation after that :-)). I also put my BA on the rear deck on that final day (hey, it was flat calm for the entire length of Raasay), which I think may have added to the weathercocking on the final leg around Scalpay - I almost thought of landing and putting it on but I thought it would hinder my paddling and I didn't want to drop back!

Adrian: what part of Raasay/Skye were you having problems with quartering? I'm wondering if it's always Caolas Scalpay that causes the worst troubles!

Mike: If you want some recent details for Raasay let me know, I don't have a full report yet but I might be convinced to work on something. Just don't ask about photos! I reckon I have probably shot about 4 rolls of sunsets, 3/4 of a roll on scenery etc. and about 1/4 may include kayaks, none of them being paddled :-( I hope to put together a CD of all my photos next week to distribute to the group, I got the slides scanned to CD at the same time as being developed but I am a bit disappointed with the scans, the slides are 10 times better (except the ones with all the vignetting from my inexperience of the wide angle lens!).

JIM

Mike Buckley
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Raasay

Post by Mike Buckley » Mon Apr 22, 2002 9:52 am

I'd apprecaite details please! Or, for starters anyway, some ideas of decent camping places on that trip.

Gear on the deck always amuses me and I personally hate having stuff behind me. I suppose it comes from too many years in the Scouts where we weren't allowed to have anything "hanging off" the rucsac, everything had to go inside.

Maps, flares and the like don't count of course. Maybe I just dont carry enough beer with me!

I'm convinced skegs have more benefit than downside personally. I suppose skegs controlled (if thats the word) by cables and which rely on their own weight to drop are more prone to jamming. I've only used the more modern "wire/slider" type and while the wire can bend, I've yet to find it a problem. Certainly such a system gives better skeg control and the positive action clears any small pebbles that may be lodged.

Yes they are one more thing to fail/break but so do spray decks and hatch covers. Personally, my petrol stove has let me down more than a skeg ever did. (Coleman!!!!)

mike.

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adrian j pullin
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Re: Raasay

Post by adrian j pullin » Thu Apr 25, 2002 12:27 pm

>Adrian: what part of Raasay/Skye were you having problems with quartering? I'm wondering if >it's always Caolas Scalpay that causes the worst troubles!

Yes, it was on our first (very short) day of paddling. We launched at Luib and paddled to Scalpay, where we camped. Crossing to Scalpay caused a number of people problems with weathercocking. Not surprising as I found it hard without the skeg and most of the group were on 4* training.

We also had fun crossing Caol Rona in a strong (6 ish) SE. It seems to funnel up there. We ended up ferry gliding across (800m or so?) and then sneeking round the MW tip of Rassay.

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Jim
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Quartering sea around Scalpay!

Post by Jim » Fri Apr 26, 2002 7:05 pm

Jim wrote:
>Adrian: what part of Raasay/Skye were you having problems with quartering? I'm wondering if it's always Caolas Scalpay that causes the worst troubles!<

Adrian wrote:
>Yes, it was on our first (very short) day of paddling. We launched at Luib and paddled to Scalpay, where we camped. Crossing to Scalpay caused a number of people problems with weathercocking.<

Interesting, Luib to Scalpay was where we had problems on the first day, and Luib to Broadford was the trouble spot on the way back. Maybe the waves are getting refracted around Scalpay in an awkward way?

>We also had fun crossing Caol Rona in a strong (6 ish) SE. It seems to funnel up there. We ended up ferry gliding across (800m or so?) and then sneeking round the MW tip of Rassay.<

Snap! On the way back we had a strong (4 or 5?) SE blowing up through Caol Rona. Some of us wanted to head for NW tip of Raasay (actually Eilean Tigh) and then shelter to the W of it, but we were following some runaways who preferred to slog into it to the narrow passage between Raasay and Eilean Tigh, and then into shelter. How we argued about whether the ferry glide round the top (a tiny bit longer) would have been quicker than our 1 knot or less into the wind!

JIM

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Re: Quartering sea around Scalpay!

Post by adrian j pullin » Mon Apr 29, 2002 12:25 pm

>the narrow passage between Raasay and Eilean Tigh

We did head for this passage and having reached it, we discovered that it dried at low tide. No prizes for guessing the state of the tide when we arrived. The chart we had was not a high enough definition to show it drying. In fact the carry was only about 50 m so it wasn't a problem. We also carried the passage between Eliean Fladday and Rassay, but that was deliberate (honest :) ).

Must dig out the disk with the whole story on it. It's in the office at home somewhere.

Mike Buckley
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Skegs again

Post by Mike Buckley » Wed Jun 05, 2002 10:46 am

Right! Back to topic - a practical example of the benefits of a skeg (or, more to the point, HAVING a skeg) were demonstrated over the holiday w/end.

A few of us were planning to go out to the Garvellachs so after a very pleasant evening on Scarpa we paddled out thro the Grey Dog and very soon discovered that the conditions were a little bigger than we wanted.

One paddler in a Skerry quickly discovered that droppping the skeg allowed her to turn and not find the boat perenially weathercocking into the wind, so leaving her pointing in exactly the opposite direction to that the rest of us were going in!

Another paddler was in a Capella hired from an outfitter. This particular boat came without a skeg and in fact the skeg-box had been welded over. (Later we found that the box moulding was damaged, which might explain why no skeg was fitted).

This particular paddler was competent and strong but nevertheless found it virtually impossible to keep the thing straight as we ran up towards Easdale with a force 4 and a lumpy following sea.

Even a tow line streamed as a drogue/sea anchor didn't help and my view is that if the conditions had worsened then the only option would have been to tow to avoid a possible "epic".

The conclusion I think has to be that a boat designed to be used with a skeg needs to have the skeg fitted (watch hire craft!!!) and working and the paddler needs to know how to use it. Some craft seeem to have had a skeg fitted as an after-thought and such boats are probably fine to be paddle steered.

Mike.

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