Skeg Troubles

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by jurgenk, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    I do not know if this is just a design flaw limited to the skegs on newer P&H boats but I am having problems with deploying mine on the Capella RM. The tubing the cable is housed in is too flexible and when the skeg lever is pulled the cable flexes in the tubing and not enough force is exerted to deploy it.

    I tried slitting 3/8 water tubing and attaching it with electrical ties but that did nothing. Next I am looking at reinforcing the length of the cable housing (approx 2m in total, broken-up in 3 sections through the bulkheads) with alumimum, brass, or stainless steel rod and electrical ties. Anyone else have this problem on their boat and is there anything else I could try? Thanks for your patience and input...
     
  2. Komatiq

    Komatiq Paddler

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    jurgenk Well that kinda sucks.... !

    Usually the tube is held down with grapples along it's length inside the boat. Try checking inside and see if the tube may have come loose from them. Ive also seen the glue that holds them come loose at times.

    Since it's a new boat it might be that someone missed putting them in on the production line. In which case MEC could likely get you a kit and glue to get the cable secure.

    You can also get small stones wedged in the skeg box that adds stress on the cable. Check inside the box just in case. A jambed skeg will sure kink a cable in a hurry and can pop the grapples loose.

    Also a good idea to drill a small hole in the lower trailing edge of the skeg and adding a loop of poly twine through the hole. That way if you jambed a stone doing a beach launch a second paddler can reach under, grab the loop and help pop the skeg down to clear the stone.

    Hope there is something here that will help...... :wink:
     
  3. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Okay that does help... the entire length is loose as if I hold one length, it will flex in another. I will contact MEC on Monday and see if they have any ideas; I appreciate the idea about drilling the skeg as I am going to be doing some modifying already and what is one more hole in the scheme of things... :wink:
     
  4. andreas

    andreas Paddler

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    hi juergen,

    i always use sikka flex to glue skeg cable housings in. works great!
    you also should rinse the skeg cable after every single saltwater use 8O otherwise the salt and sand will block and is also wearing out the system (grinding)......

    the tip with the string on the fin itself is highly recommended


    see ya

    andreas
     
  5. fester

    fester Paddler

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    It sounds like your cable may be kinked, If this is the case the only way to fix it properly is to replace the cable. Once kinked, steel cable has a memory and will no longer push. If you do a refit you may want to consider using a heavier guage cable with a stiffer tube. Kayak builders will do anything they can to lighten thier boats and produce them for less money. Sometimes this includes the use of a smaller diameter,less durable skeg control cable.

    If you forget to stow your skeg before you beach your boat,or try and force a jammed skeg with the cable it will kink. The kink usually occurs between the skeg blade and the hole in the skeg box. If you disconnect your control knob and allow the skeg to drop all the way down you can see if there is a kink. The tube flexing won't have any effect on the amount of linear cable travel, and is more an indication that there is too much resistance.

    good luck
     
  6. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Wow - these cable-controlled skegs sound like a real hassle! My skeg has shock-cord running to it from above deck, which acts as a spring to pull it down on a cam system (which is part of the skeg itself). A simple, thin rope is all that's required to pull it up - it pulls through from above the deck and runs to a cleat beside the cockpit. Releasing tension on the line allows the shock cord to pull the skeg down to the desired level (it's a long skeg that will go completely 90 degrees to the boat, or anywhere in-between).

    It's a pretty simple design that's proven to be pretty effective so far - and if you have problems it's a very easy fix in the field with materials that are easily improvised.
     
  7. fester

    fester Paddler

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    You have a good point about the rope control skeg.
    In the U K where modern sea kayaking was invented, most manufacturers of skeg boats supply rope skeg controls as standard. for all the reasons you just mentioned. Overseas manufacturers are changing thier products to satisfy the American market and to stay competetive.
    I've heard through the jungle telegraph that P&H will soon have it's boats made in China.
     
  8. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    push/pull systems require opposing axial and radial restraint from the wire's usually slightly oversized and slightly flexible housing.

    so simply speaking, the more the hsing is restrained (endplay & sideplay) the better THAT part of the system will operate.

    and if the wire/cable is stiff and the angle of actuation is small (usually abt 30deg, never 90) it actually works to some degree that many are made!

    the big drawback is that the wire/cable is unrestrained on skeg deployment and therefore prone to kinking (rather than slipping back in the hsg) if the skeg is hit - especially as the fitting on top of the skeg actually has to rotate if it is to maintain direct action. Some skeg fittings dont move so that there is an automatic pinch pt leading to kink, or the opening is large, or others so soft that play/weakness comes into the system from the get go.

    the great part abt the push/pull approach is that the skeg can be rapidly deployed w/ a quick touch at the drop of a hand from the paddle and that there is visual feedback from the knob in the slider so you know exactly how much the skeg is deployed. (or of course if it is deployed at all when coming in to shallow areas, hehe).

    so in short, lubricate the shzt outa the system - especially at the cable entry to the box at the skegtop, make sure NO kinks from skegbox to skeg proper, make sure all endpts and as much of the cable/wire/hsg as possible is restrained. and to protect against damage deploy to as little angle as necessary, and hopefully remember to retract when at shore.

    most pull/pull systems(whether bungee used or not) have the alternate advantage of easy repair, but more time consuming deploy while a rope is grabbed(sometimes difficult), pulled(easy to pull too much or little), jammed, and usually with poor or no feedback. often there is bungee or line exposure on the bottom of the skeg allowing possible damage. With long skeg varieties often the rotator is small so that incremental deployment is tough to judge. as well, long skegs deploying 90deg are good levers to rack a skegbox on sidehits. but all in all a more simple system, more simply repaired.

    anyway, some skeg stuff. (but i'd choose the pushpull anyway, for the speed and accuracy)
     
  9. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Thanks all... Talked to MEC mail order and when they went to check the boats they had a similar problem with the new models. The tubing is only secured with clips which attach to the bolts that go through the deck to hold the recessed deck fittings in place. They are contacting P&H for a solution but I imagine that I will be doing what you suggest fester and replacing the cable with a stiffer one and heavier housing.

    I wanted to buy a glass Quest for my next boat, but if they are going to start manufacturing in China then I might go with a VCP Nordkapp Jubilee instead (this purchase is going to be well in the future) or look for an older model, used Quest.

    Brad
     
  10. fester

    fester Paddler

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    You might benefit in more ways than one if you end up going the route you suggest and get an older model. My last purchase was a VCP demo boat over a year ago,and I was glad to find it has the old style integral glass seat.[Some newer model VCP products come with modular foam seats]

    Two years ago a friend of mine bought a quest that I had looked at, but declined owing that my bum is too big for what was otherwise a very well engineered seat. Newer model quests come with plastic whitewater seats which are prone to breakage and corrosion. But don't take my word for it, the folks at MEC are quite farmiliar with this.

    You see thier hatches on all manner of boats but I don't know if any other manufacturers use Valley's skeg components. The VCP boat I purchased most recently has a much beefier cable than my four year old Skerray,and it even has a stainless tube at the slider. If your that way inclined, Shearwater in the excited states sells VCP boats and skeg hardware. Otherwise I think the next nearest outfitter is in Newfoundland.
     
  11. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Yes I have already seen what you are talking about on my boat fester, in that the buckle for the seat back is already starting to oxidize. The seat itself it very comfortable but it appears that they are beginning to cut corners with materials.

    When I bought a Nordkapp in 93, Derek Bamfield at Pacific Canoe Base in Victoria was the only dealer in BC (and one of a few in NA at the time) and as I imagine he is no longer in business if I did decide to go that way it would require a little more searching.
     
  12. fester

    fester Paddler

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    Sadly Derek passed away a couple years ago. He was a really decent guy
     
  13. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Yes he was a nice guy and I misidentified him as it was Derek Bamforth :oops: . Very sorry to hear of his passing...
     
  14. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Update on skeg trouble (admit it you're fascinated)... I have been dealing with Yo (sp?) at MEC and he contacted P&H who are going to send me some mastic and a new skeg cable. I purchased some long-work Sikaflex 292 on the weekend but will probably wait to receive P&H's product. MEC was excellent to deal with and I have been nothing but impressed with their service once again.

    The only difficulty will be that I will be unable to get a caulking gun (I can only find the Sikaflex locally in cartridges) in the day hatch to apply product along that seam so I hope that what P&H sends is in a tube. If I affix the entire length of the housing to the inner seam I should eliminate the flex that was causing the problem.

    Brad
     
  15. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Received package from P&H yesterday containing a new skeg and cable. The cable is fused into the plastic of the skeg, which, to me, seems odd as if you do kink the cable you have to replace the skeg as well. If they placed a barrel on the end (like a bicycle cable) then you fit it into a slot and not have to replace the skeg when encountering problems.

    Speaking of the skeg, was paddling the last few nights in some howling gales we are experiencing up here right now and even with only a little of the skeg showing it makes an incredible difference in the handling of the boat. With the skeg retracted, paddling with quartering waves astern requires a lot of correction and in heavy winds the boat is difficult to control without the skeg deployed.
     
  16. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    that seems to be a std practice - here's a kajaksport (eddyline/current design looks identical)

    [​IMG]


    the basic idea is to provide some further stiffening to the cable.
     
  17. andreas

    andreas Paddler

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    impex kayaks just glues the cable in the skeg with epoxy. this way you only have to drill the glue out, fit a new cable in and fill it up with epoxy again.

    if your cable is "molded"in then i'm pretty sure that you can get it out by pulling really hard on it.
    the next idea would be: cut* the old cable right at the skeg and drill a new hole (about 1.5"deep) right beside the old one and then glue it together with waterproof epoxy (there are div. quality levels of that stuff!!!)

    * cutting a skeg cable can be really tricky because it's pretty thick---you will need a special wire cutter for that. the easiest way to do that wouldbe that when you buy the cable (pacifica paddle sports in vic has some) get it cut to the right length :wink:

    hope that helps....

    andreas
     
  18. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    I've cut stainless wire cable of about that diameter using a high-speed right-angle grinder equipped with a thin abrasive disk. A Dremel tool similarly equipped will also do it.
     
  19. fester

    fester Paddler

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    Some skeg systems use a set screw in the blade to secure the cable. If you retro fit one like this, you can leave some extra length of material at the control end of the cable. That way if you do get a kink, you can trim off the kinked portion and still use the same cable.

    The cable housing has to be a fairly snug fit. Otherwise the skeg won't be inclined to stay where you position it.
     
  20. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Thanks for all the tips and tricks guys... Going to be staying in the village on the weekend in a couple of weeks and I will tackle the beast. I am going to Sikaflex the housing to the seam along its entire length and if the cable is not kinked then that should solve the issue. Now just have to remember to always retract before landing (go with this where you wish :wink: ). Getting chilly up here and did not get out this week as by the time I get off work it is dark, but lack of visibility should not stop one from enjoying themselves...

    As an aside, I was asking recently about glues to use with plastic boats and I have had good success so far with hot glue liberally applied to the item to be glued and then sealing it down with a bead of glue around the perimeter. I glued down some velcro to attach my pump to the floor of my boat between my legs and, so far, this seems to be holding.