Builders' Forum Archives
Re: Skeg Location
Posted by Dave Houser on Jul 19, 2007
My opinion is that it is optimum not to have a skeg. To eliminate the need for a skeg the kayak must be wind neutral i.e. does not weathercock and any course corrections are made with a knee lift and/or paddle sweep. Many kayak designs weathercock and require trimming by moving the seat back or by adding a skeg to reduce or eliminate the weathercocking.
Adding a skeg not only reduces weathercocking it also makes a kayak harder to turn. So a lot of guys talk about adding a skeg to increase tracking which really means eliminating weathercocking and making the kayak less susceptible to being bumped off course by waves. Adding too much skeg will make a kayak leecock (turn downwind).
From your question it sounds like you want to install a deployable skeg. For a deployable skeg to offer the most benefit it is installed on a kayak that weathercocks. So when you want to paddle into the wind you leave it up and let the kayak weathercock, when you want to paddle down wind you extend it down and let the kayak leecock, and when you paddle in a crosswind you dial the skeg to the magic spot part way down . And that is the big benefit of a deployable skeg; you set it to balance out the wind and wave action to minimize correction strokes. The big disadvantage is there is at least one pebble on every beach that will jam it in its well.
So now to answer you question. You want to locate the skeg near the stern but not quite at the stem so it stays in the water when a following wave passes underneath the kayak and lifts the stern out of the water.
In Response to: Skeg Location by RichP on Jul 19, 2007