Re: Rule of Thumb?

Posted by Dave Houser on Jun 2, 2004

Adding a skeg does two things. It adds tracking and reduces weathercocking. Moving your weight back also adds tracking and reduces weathercocking. Excessive weathercocking is much more of a problem than loose tracking. All kayaks tend to broach in following seas having too much tracking can be a curse once a broach starts. I prefer a simple trimmed kayak with no moving parts. The order of preference in which I would trim a weathercocking loose tracking kayak is: 1- move the seat back. 2- add a fixed skeg (more like extending the aft keel down) until the kayak just slightly weathercocks. (Really I add too much skeg so it leecocks and file some off until it just weathercocks but a leecocking boat is considered dangerous so I will tell you to keep adding skeg). 3- Enlarge the cockpit back if there is space in front of your rear bulkhead to allow it. A lot of work but in your case it might be worth it to make re-entries easier during cowboy self rescues. I have done it. 4- add rear ballast. I hate adding weight to a boat but a good way to do some testing before hacking at a boat. 5- install a skeg box. An adjustable skeg lets you have a weathercocking boat for heading into the seas, a wind neutral boat for cross winds and a leecocking for following seas. They jam a lot in beach launches. I'm a bit of a purest and consider it a cheap fix for a less than optimal design. I prefer developing paddling technique in a properly trimmed boat. 6- add a rudder, the real technique crutch and poor boat design fix and a great marketing device for money extraction. They also require maintenance. A rudder up is a sail that adds to weathercocking insuring you will have to use it more often, so much for learning edging and sweeps. They are, however, necessary for racing. 7- to add tracking without affecting weathercocking add to both the front and aft keel.

In Response to: Rule of Thumb? by Mac on Jun 2, 2004

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