Wooduck 12 Hybrid mod.


After 3 seasons of paddling my WD 12 in the Delaware Bay, I'd like to make it more efficient (track better).  I think I read a post a while back about adding a rudder but it was decided that it didn't work out well.  Also thought about some type of a skeg or possibly extending the stern bottom, i.e., adding a tail if you will.  Any thoughts comments or advice are greatly appreciated.


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RE: Wooduck 12 Hybrid mod.

Do you remember what the problem was with the rudder? I built mine with a thick wooden sternpiece in case I wanted to add a rudder to it, but so far it's been 10 years and I haven't felt the need yet. Maybe when I add a sailing rig.

In the meantime, I'd go for a skeg before a "tail", especially if it was a retractable skeg. That would stay closer to the designer's intentions and would let me revert to unmodified lines when the conditions warranted it.

I assume you've looked into paddling technique and loading the boat for proper balance. If not, give those a try before cutting into your boat. You may find that you don't need to.

Good luck,



RE: Wooduck 12 Hybrid mod.

   Thanks for replying, I've read some of your other posts and enjoyed them, very insightful and down to earth.  Don't know what the the problem was with the rudder. I was over at the CLC Annapolis show 2 years ago and was talking to a couple of the CLC guys about a rudder. They installed a rudder on a WD12 as a research project. As I remember, they agreed that it "didn't work out for that boat."  I remember that it had someting to do with properly fitting it to the boat. No further elaboration.   As far as paddling technique, I've only read up on it and watched a couple of videos before hitting the water, seemed intuitive but probably wouldn't hurt to look further into it. I will experiment with load distribution, too.

By it's nature, the Delaware Bay is fairly shallow close to shore, has a fast current and can be very choppy, chop can be 1-2 ft. high on a 5-6 knot wind, turning into relentless lines of rollers that approach the beach at a 45* angle. Under these condions, the boat is squirrely.  Didn't mean to turn this into a nautical geography lesson but those are the conditions I paddle in half of the time.  Some days are flat, no complaints about how the boat tracks. Funny, on a flat day, my WD12 paddles faster and tracks straighter heading into the wind vs. "running down" with the wind.  Maybe it's too light in the butt (LOL).

Thanks again,




RE: Wooduck 12 Hybrid mod.

i don't have a lot of time in a wooduck....but i have retractable skegs on most of my kayaks and it really helps. 

basically, with the skeg up, i have that maneuvarability....and then when i lower the skeg, it makes it very easy to travel a straight line with squirelly winds and current.

a retractable skeg is a cool option..not hard to retrofit.   in the past i have bought a really nice retractable skeg kit from Superior Kayaks.  its 100% fibreglass, bombproof in its construction and goes well with a wooden kayak. see the link of pictures of one of my boats with that retractable skeg at https://www.clcboats.com/modules/forum/thread.php?quickname=clcforum&id=37124.  

you can, of course, make your own skeg too....its a bit of a project. 

Kajaksport also makes an after market retractable skeg that i have seen folks use....but i am not a fan of its engineering.

a way to test the idea, if you want to experiment first, is to create a 'temporary' skeg out of some marine ply.  the skeg can be bungied to the back of your boat...and you can then determine the impact of having it.   you would basically make a small cradle that would fit the bottom of your hull towards the aft section...and attach the skeg to the cradle.  two bungies would reach up and over the deck to hold the cradle in place.

hope that helps



RE: Wooduck 12 Hybrid mod.

While the WD12 is no doubt a great boat, I would respectfully submit that it may not be the best choice for the conditions that you describe above.  My first suggestion would be to build a better boat for those conditions, maybe a Shearwater 16/17 or Shearwater Sport.  Kayaks are much like golf clubs.  Each design (club) is best suited to a certain set of conditions.   This is why many of us have multiple boats to use depending upon where/when we paddle.

Regardless of the boat type, 2' waves at a 45 degree angle off the stern will require some effort to control the boat.  For any boat that will be paddled in waves, I am a strong advocate for a retractable skeg.  I have the CLC skeg kit in one boat and the KayakSport in two.  The later is the easier to retrofit and won't put ugly Okoume on your beautiful strip deck.

I also have SmartTrack rudders on several of my boats.  A rudder would be a harder retrofit but there is absolutely no reason that it would not work on a WD.  For a boat like the WD with a flat stern, I would go with the transom mount instead of a bayonet.  The problem with stern mounted rudders is that they can be lifted out of the water when paddling in waves.  One moment you have control then the next you do not.  That is why boats that are designed for waves (surfskis) have under hull rudders.  Skegs are also under the hull so they do not have this problem.

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