Skeg maintenance

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by WGalbraith, May 6, 2010.

  1. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    My son has a Seaward Infiniti that seems to have an intermittent issue with its skeg. The control lever can be moved fore or aft but the skeg doesn't move. When this happens, I have used needle nosed pliers to pull it down out of the recess and then it usually moves again. I have minimal experience with skegs, ( mine has a rudder) and would appreciate any hints about repair, maintenance to avoid this frustration for future trips.

    If this doesn't work, I may have to take it to a shop.

    Thanks,
    Wayne
     
  2. Rrdstarr

    Rrdstarr Paddler

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    No experience but I remember some people on here drilling a small hole in the skeg attached to a piece of rope to dislodge the skeg if stuck.
     
  3. pryaker

    pryaker Paddler

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    My experience with this sort of problem was that the skeg wire had a kink in it from trying to force the skeg down, presumably when a rock was stuck in it. I bought a new wire (with skeg attached, the only way to get it for my P&H quest, some skeg wires are separate) and installed it but noticed there was a bit of play in the skeg housing inside the day compartment which allowed the whole housing to move instead of the wire within the housing. I repaired that with a bit of epoxy and fiberglass but a mechanical fastener would have also worked. Pull the skeg down manually to see if you have something wrong in the system, it should be fairly free moving. If not start looking for places it might be sticking.

    Good luck.

    the line through a hole trick is great for when you have a stuck skeg while paddling; you're partner can just come alongside and pull it down which usually dislodges the rock that's making it stick.
     
  4. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    I would check this out with Seaward - they may be aware of any problems and have smart fixes. I know they changed the skeg design on some of their boats this year.

    http://www.seawardkayaks.com/
     
  5. rider

    rider Paddler

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    You could also have sand in the cable housing, happened to me recently. Kink in the line is also a possibility, but it *usually* happens near the blade itself,where it enters the skeg box. To start,try cleaning the cable housing by garden hose, work the slider back and forth gently and hose it continuously to see if any sand comes out. Sand could be either at the blade end, the slider end, or both.
     
  6. Desertboater

    Desertboater Paddler

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    If you've got access to an air compressor you could remove the skeg cable from the tube housing and blow air from the cockpit end through the hose to try and blow out any sand/grit. Some sort of hose adapter could work too to wash stuff out with water...
    Being sure that the tubing that holds the cable is attached to the boat is also key. I've used plumbers epoxy before in place of drilling a new hole for a fastener or using epoxy and fiberglass. Just rough the area up with some sandpaper first and wrap the tubing with the mixed putty then smear it onto the boat and it should stick just fine.
    I've also taken to disassembling my skeg once or twice a year to check for wear and also to lubricate the cable. Just some simple silicone spray lubricant sprayed both onto the wire and into the tube (from the side where you'll be re-inserting the cable makes it slide like butter!
    You can also put a dab of fingernail polish on the end of the wire (before lubricating) so that it doesn't fray when you reinsert it back into the housing (the cockpit end can be kinda tricky/frustrating.)

    If you do need to replace the cable (and you don't need a new skeg fin) go to West Marine or any other sailing/boating shop and look for 3/8 inch steel stay cable. The stuff you want has been pressed/smoothed so that it's really smooth on the outside. Or just bring in the old cable and try to match it with what they have.


    Cheers,
    West
     
  7. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    Thanks for the suggestion Sheila.

    Nick at Seaward got back to me, sent a part and instructions and the skeg is now working properly. They sent a clip for the skeg cable, that screws through the hull. Now there is no flexing when the control is moved. Apparently the design was a bit flawed and with an easy fix Joel will now have dependable function when the skeg is deployed.

    Sure is nice to tap into so much experience.
    Wayne