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Re: skeg history *PIC*
In Response To: Re: skeg history *PIC* ()

Rob, in answer to your question... I've noticed that, at rest, and in calm conditions, your Baidarka has the first 16 inches or so of its length above the waterline, while, at the same time the keel at the stern is fully immersed.

This means that the seat looks quite far back, but it is not really, relative to the waterline.

When the stern rises on a following wave, the section of keel at the bow that is normally out of the water dips below the surface.

This lengthening of the waterline, at the front, downwind, means the seat effectively moves backward relative to the waterline.

Moving the seat backward reduces the tendency to broach.

In addition, the baidarka (North Star) has its wide point forward of the midpoint. This is quite noticible when it is seen on the water from behind. This probably helps to keep the bow up somewhat so that it does not submarine so readily in the trough.

My Hunter, a completely different beast, is so skinny it looks as if it should head straight for the bottom if driven by a wave, but it is also wider in the bow and is much dryer than one would expect.

All in all, I would say that the NS in particular, especially considering its rocker, goes where you point it, but even so, having put the skeg into it makes it even better, not so much downwind, but In a beam sea, where the waterline at the bow is not really coming into play.

Even downwind though, on a long haul, one rarely has the luxury of going completely perpendicular to the wave, so a touch of skeg can be a boon.

In addition, I would say that, because of its fairly pronounced rocker, the boat handles better for paddlers of the appropriate weight. Lighter paddlers do not fully engage the keel. It is a lot to ask of a boat designed for a 200 lb person to be kind to someone weighing 130 lbs, but with a touch of skeg the boat becomes much friendlier to a lightweight, stiffening up just nicely.

I have mentiond rocker a couple of times, and some folk associate rocker with lack of speed, but the boat is definitely not slow. It has a fast section, and, I'm guessing, fairly low drag.

Put it this way, if a am fooling around locally I usually grab a smaller boat, but if I am heading off shore, or into a less than salubrious sea state, I feel much happier in the NS. It is my security blanket when the going gets rough over long distances.

So my final answer on the skeg... Don't be lazy, put one in every sea kayak, (well, maybe not SOF)... Unless it is a downwind boat and needs a rudder instead.... You may not need it often, but when you do you will be glad you made the effort, especially if you intend to ever cover any kind of decent distances.