Wood Duck 12 tracking?

I just launched my Wood Duck 12.  I wish I were delighted with the results.  It is beautiful and stable and feels good.  But it does not hold a course for 3 seconds after you let up on the paddle.  Spin out starts immediately.  It's worse with a head or cross breeze.  I weigh 150 lb.  Do I need to ballast the stern?  Add a keel or skeg?  Rig some sort of removeable fixed rudder?   I do not want to add a full rudder rig.

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RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

Try moving the seat back a bit.  This will put more of the stern in the water and raise the bow a bit, which will make the boat track better.  Even 1/2" can make a big difference. 

RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

You need to get your center of lateral resistance (where all the underwater forces act) and your center of effort (where all the "sail" forces act) balanced with the center of gravity (where the boat balances).

If there's no wind and the boat veers left or right when you stop paddling, your CLR is forward of your CG. Either move the CLR back by adding a skeg or rudder, or move your cg forward by adding weight in the front. You can try sliding back the way Mark suggests, but while that can lower the  keel in the rear and as a result move the CLR back, it also moves your CG back and could end up counterproductive. Orit can work great.

If the wind is from in front and you veer left or right, your CE is forward of your CG. You need to add more weight up front.

If the wind is from behind and you veer left or right, your CE is behind your CG and you need to add more weight in the back.

Another way to control the CE is to lean in the direction that you want it to move. Depending on the strength of the wind, the CE may move faster than the CG and fix your problem.

All these adjustments interact, which makes it difficult  to get them perfect. I take 1-liter bottles of water with me and move them between the hatch and bow as needed. Sometimes nothing works and I just resign myself to constantly using the paddle to correct course.

Good luck,




RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

   Thank you for your reponses.  My seat is all the way back.  With no wind, I noticed that leaning backwards the veering was less.  Leaning forwards the veering got worse.  Seems then I need to add ballast to the stern.  CLC sells a skeg kit.  The skeg concept seems more elegant than shifting ballast around.  

While paddling to get somewhere this instability is mangeable, but for angling, a piroueting boat is impossible.

RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

The one thing to remember is that a short, fat kayak like the WD12 will never be a strong tracker.  Adding ballast will mke it track a bit better but that will also make it less maneuverable.  A second point is that a heavily loaded kayak will track stronger than one that is lightly loaded.  Where do you fit relative to the 250# max paddler weight? 

I would start with the easy route.  Add about 4 water bottles to the aft compartment and see if you like it.  If not, then go the skeg route.  I have skegs in two of our boats.  The advantage is that you can dial in the amount of tracking/maneuverability that you want. 

I installed the CLC skeg kit on my Ch17LT.  It was easy to install but all of the rigging is on top of the deck.  If you go this route, you probably want to cut the deck cap out of Sapelle so that it matches the deck of your WD.

In order to keep the deck clutter free, I installed a skeg from Kayaksport to my wife's Frej.  The intallation was much easier and the skeg takes up much less room in the aft compartment.

RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

   Mark, thanks for the great pics and further ideas.  The deck rigging for the CLC skeg does bother me.  My Wood Duck has a strip planked deck, so marring it's beauty is not ideal.  The Kayaksport skeg looks llike it mounts entirely on the keel with a brake cable setup for adjusting?  

RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

Yes, the Kayaksport Skeg mounts entirely on the bottom of the boat.  Other than the control, it is completly hidden.

​Here you can see where I mounted the control.

​I ordered it from Dan at: http://watercraft.clearstreamwood.com/product-category/components/.  He has a working relationship with CLC and they are soon to offer one of his kayak designs as a kit.

RE: Wood Duck 12 tracking?

   Thanks again.  Newfound Woodworks in NH carries KajakSport gear (from Finland) including the skeg.  I like it.  A winter project, I think.  What is that butt rest in Frej?  Looks comfortable.


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