I stipulate that the following has nothing to do with the usual use of a skeg to balance wind, or for better control in following seas.
I have found that on calm water deploying the skeg on my Seda Ikkuma provides a small efficiency benefit.
Consider two boats with identical drag at a given speed, but one stiff tracking and the other loose. The stiff tracking boat will be more efficient at that speed because it will not 'waggle' side to side with each stroke. In other words, the waggle causes inefficiency. Plus, with the looser tracker one will be modifying the stroke a bit more for steering and/or leaning a bit more, both adding a bit to inefficiency.
So dropping the skeg on flat water adds a bit of drag, but makes the boat straighter tracking. The skeg on the Ikkuma is small and well shaped, so its drag is very small. The waggle of the Ikkuma is also small, but I sense that, with my stroke, I am a bit more efficient with the skeg deployed.
This will differ for particular boats and paddlers. Deploying the skeg on flat water in an already stiff tracking boat will add drag and not reduce the already small waggle very much. On a loose tracking boat, but using a high stroke with the blade very close to the hull, there may not be much waggle anyway. On a loose tracking boat like the Nordkapp LV, it may be more efficient to deploy the skeg on flat water. Especially with a longish paddle and a low stroke.
Paddler's Truck Rack
YakCatcher Rod Holder
The Kayak Wing
|Table of Contents|
|Messages in this Topic|
Posted by: rjd9999 on Nov-06-12 3:38 PM (EST)
A lot of energy is wasted making correcting strokes and wind and stroke imbalances may exist when paddling, even on flat water.
I can address the Tempest RM|
Posted by: edzep on Nov-06-12 4:07 PM (EST)
(not sure about other boats)
Posted by: scott_f on Nov-06-12 4:13 PM (EST)
My thoughts are to use flat water days as training days. It may be a tiny bit more efficient with the skeg down (I've heard 5%), but what happens to your skills and muscles? I would rather struggle a little more on a calm day so that I'm in shape with sharpened skills when I need it most.
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Nov-06-12 4:49 PM (EST)
Many people put the skeg down a small amount. That improves tracking and reduces correction strokes, but you still need to edge, etc., to do maneuvers. Putting the skeg down all the way makes the boat turn off the wind or waves, even if they are very mild.
that's the best part about a skeg|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Nov-07-12 11:21 PM (EST)
just deploying it in an "on/off" fashion is really shorting the benefits of the skeg.
forward stroke practice|
Posted by: nickjc on Nov-06-12 5:59 PM (EST)
If you are concerned with efficiency, you would be better off focusing on improving your forward stroke which will keep the boat straight without the skeg. It will also improve your speed because your effort will be going into making the boat move forward not sideways.
Rowing shells, which do not suffer from |
Posted by: ezwater on Nov-06-12 7:48 PM (EST)
the waggle forces of kayaks, and are both longer and more directional than sea kayaks, have big fixed skegs underneath.
Technique and equipment|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Nov-06-12 8:14 PM (EST)
wing stroke" waggle"|
Posted by: gstamer on Nov-09-12 9:55 AM (EST)
Agreed. The lateral wing stroke, by far the predominant technique in Olympic sprint, starts with a catch close to (or touching) the hull and then the paddle moves away from the hull. This does makes the bow yaw (and the tail "waggle"), even among the best paddlers.
is drafting viewed negatively?|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Nov-13-12 12:37 PM (EST)
is it an issue in races?
Posted by: gstamer on Nov-13-12 3:42 PM (EST)
Most races encourage drafting and some don't, although there are non-spoken rules, even when it is allowed -- such as share your time at the front and never, ever, bump the kayak or the paddle of the kayaker ahead of you. Breaking either "rule" more than once will have you quickly "excommunicated" from the group, or having cold water dumped in your lap.
Posted by: Waterbird on Nov-07-12 11:18 PM (EST)
I use my skeg as little as possible, even in wind, because it creates very noticeable drag. I would say it reduces my speed by about 20%.
Posted by: gjf12 on Nov-08-12 10:23 AM (EST)
If a skeg reduces speed by 20%, you need a new boat. Did you check this with a GPS?
Posted by: Waterbird on Nov-08-12 11:34 AM (EST)
No, I think the kayak is fine. Maybe it's that in flat water on a windless day you feel drag easily when you don't want to feel any drag at all in those conditions. I "estimate" that my skeg slows me down about 20%. I would call it significant. Significant enough that I avoid the skeg if at all possible. But if the end result without the skeg is that I'm exerting effort unnecessarily to stay on course, then I would use the skeg.
Consider Olympic flatwater kayakers|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Nov-08-12 12:15 AM (EST)
They paddle kayaks that have deployed rudders. All of them.
Don't know, but single sculls don't have|
Posted by: ezwater on Nov-08-12 1:10 AM (EST)
rudders, and I never heard rudders discussed as an option.
scull shell vs kayak|
Posted by: abc on Nov-08-12 11:22 AM (EST)
scull shells have 2 oars that goes into the water at the same time. kayak only has one blade in the water at any given time.
Brilliant. Irrelevant. |
Posted by: ezwater on Nov-08-12 5:40 PM (EST)
Posted by: abc on Nov-08-12 6:32 PM (EST)
Skegs increase waterline length?|
Posted by: Northyak on Nov-08-12 11:31 AM (EST)
From a hydrodynamic perspective, does a deployed skeg increase the effective waterline length of a boat, and thus increase the (effective) maximum speed and/or add more efficiency? Does this balance the negative effects of added drag?
My over the stern skeg probably does|
Posted by: ricknriver on Nov-08-12 12:01 PM (EST)
a little as I would guess a partially deployed rudder. Little skeg experience till now but seems from the posts "it all depends" on the boat, conditions, skeg style/shape, paddler, etc. Just got my Easy Ryder Dolphin with an over the stern skeg and like it so far. Thin metal (rudder-like) blade, wider at the bottom than top so counter balanced and deployed by its weight from a line to the cockpit - very simple. Down it tracks very straight on all points of wind, up very maneuverable, in between can be tuned as you like. Thinking about one for my canoe. Just thoughts, R
I doubt it|
Posted by: abc on Nov-08-12 6:39 PM (EST)
Nordlow better without skeg|
Posted by: M-J-B on Nov-13-12 9:58 AM (EST)
My experience on flat calm water is that deploying the skeg on the Nordkapp LV adds drag and causes a slight speed penalty when I attempt top speed. Going straight is a matter of paddling technique and even a polo kayak goes straight with the correct technique and concentration. (I use a short paddle and high angle.)