Skeg or rudder?

Just ordered the guillemot retractable skeg plans for review and wondered if this isnt a better option for my 14' hybrid Wood Duck. I am not a long distance kayaker, but live on the Ches Bay and like to kayak fish. All the rigging and hardware included with the rudder kits CLC sells seems out of place on a wood boat for all but those really putting sea miles on thier boats. Didnt like the CLC skeg option, as it penetrates the boat deck. Any experts familiar with rudder/skeg use? TIA

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RE: Skeg or rudder?

I have never paddled a Wood Duck but have owned several boats of similar size.  No need for a rudder because the boat will be easy enough to turn with your paddle.  A skeg is really handy if you are going to paddle a lot of waves, but with its big cockpit, the WD14 is the wrong boat for waves.  I'd suggest building without because it is easy enough to retrofit one afterwards is you really need it.  When you complete the boat, don't permanently mount the seat until after a couple of test paddles.  Moving the seat back will make the boat track a little straighter and moving it forward will make it a bit more maneuverable.  I actually use velcro to mount the seats now so I can easily adjust.  If you do need to retrofit, the KayakPro skeg kit (without flange) works very well.


RE: Skeg or rudder?

Hey Jeffrey,

I have a WD12 and am building a West River 18. The WD12 is for smaller rivers, swamps, etc. and I feel no need for putting a skeg on it. On the other hand, the WR18 is going to be my open water racing boat and that is definitely getting a skeg. I paddled a akeg-less Night Heron in the Bay Bridge Paddle earlier this year and feel that the lack of a skeg out on the Bay cost me at least 5-10 minutes, if not more.

I also went with the Guillemot skeg instead of the CLC skeg for the same reason you did - I didn't like all the stuff above the deck. Don't get me wrong - the CLC design is an excellent design in that it's mechanically simple, very reliable and easy to maintain and much cheaper and easier to build and install. Having the box protrude through the deck also makes it into a box beam, which is very strong and stiff. I'd say it's actually probably more cost-effective than the Guillemot skeg.

That said, I'm going for a very clean deck in this build. I'm leaving off the hatches and handles. The only thing on the deck will be the coaming (which will be hidden by the spray skirt) and the perimeter and rigging lines (which you really need for safety, otherwise I'd leave those off, too). So having the skeg box, control lines and skeg "handle" above the deck was a non-starter.

With the 14' boat out on the Bay, I'd put a skeg on that, too. You may not be racing other kayaks, but if you're racing a storm back to shore and fighting the washing machine waves, that skeg would be a safety feature.

Have fun,



RE: Skeg or rudder?

���Superior kayak makes a very nice skeg that is very rugged, simple and easy to install. All the parts are fiberglass and it's my 'go to' skeg if I am not building it myself

RE: Skeg or rudder?

   Yup, probably wont need either, but CLC recommends a rudder for this  boat and my weight. Obviously not the kayak miler of some, but appreciate the tracking control a fin provides. Still planning on weather watching to avoid waves over the rails, but the control a fin offers when dealing with a rear quartering wind is worth the added install issues. Definitely something that can be added later, but like the idea of extra support offered by the CLC design, so ordered the plan to look at modifying the fillers or sides to span deck to hull. Sounds like a viable option to consider. Thanks to all.

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