• We apologize for the somewhat convoluted sign-up process. Due to ever-more sophisticated attacks by chatbots, we had to increase our filtering in order to weed out AI while letting humans through. It's a nuisance, but a necessary one in order to keep the level of discourse on the forums authentic and useful. From the actual humans using WCP, thanks for your understanding!

Aquanaut Skeg Repair

After just one or two outings in my Aquanaut, I find my boat with a skeg that does not easily retract or drop down. I assume the culprit is a kinked cable. The boat is now located in the Seattle area but was purchased at Alder Creek in Portland so taking it back to the dealer is not without some hassle.

I am looking to see if anyone has any instructions or can point me in the right direction on how to disassemble and repair?


Replacing a kinked cable is easy. All you need is an Allen key (2.5mm I believe...), a Flathead screwdriver, the replacement cable and something to cut it with.

Take a look at the skeg slider knob, there should be a grub screw inside it. Unscrew it so that the knob slides freely (the grub screw is easy to lose so I wouldn't remove it completely).

Once the knob moves freely, flip your boat over and start pulling your skeg blade out. There is a groove cut out of the skeg blade which un-hooks from the skeg blade housing.

Pull the skeg all the way out, and the cable should follow. If the cable has any bends, frays, or kinks in it, it needs to be replaced. If it looks fine, you may just have an accumulation of salt/sand in the tubing.

If you have to replace the cable, unscrew the screw on the skeg blade and remove the cable. Measure the cable length. Finding a replacement cable may be difficult. It needs to be the same diameter and the same stiffness.

When you cut the cable, make sure that none of the strands are frayed, otherwise it will get caught in the cable housing and cause other problems. If you can, get the shop that you buy the cable from to cut it to the exact length. Also, it's a good idea to get a second, back up, cable cut to save you the hassle next time.

Once you have the cable, flush out the cable tubing by blasting water through the hole in the skeg box with a garden hose. A good rinse will do it good. Don't lubricate the cable as it just attracts more gunk.

Reattach the cable to the skeg blade and feed it through the hole in the skeg box. Once it's mostly in, you need to hook the groove back in place and push the blade in all the way.

Now go to the slider knob and move it to the 'skeg up' position and tighten the grub screw.

And you're done! Sounds like a lot of work, but it's really quite simple.

Also, If you haven't already, I would drill into the skeg blade and add a small amount of rope so that you can easily pull the skeg down.


  • skeg.jpg
    121.4 KB · Views: 2,228
Hi Pat,

I had similar troubles with my Nordkapp. Part of the problem on my boat was that the plastic tubing that the cable runs in wasn't fixed in place enough beside the seat, it allowed too much movement. When I went to lower the skeg the tube would flex and then not allow the cable to travel freely. I ended up using a couple of plastic "P" style clamps and attaching the skeg tube to the two seat screws. Worked fine after that.

First, nice job Alana for a straightforward "walk-through" of a cable replacement. For a few extra pointers: Valley uses 3mm as their stock cable diameter. Good luck finding it. Here in the US, I use 3/32 marine stainless. Specify 1x19 spec, NOT 7x19. The latter is too flexible to work. If you have to cut the cable to length, rather than your marine supplier doing it for you, a set of quality linesman pliers with the cutters in good condition will do the job. In prepping the cable end that you'll thread up to the control slider, sometimes bevelling it slightly with a dremel tool helps. I dip mine about 1/4" into enamel paint & allow to dry. Helps hold the wires together & avoid their snagging in the tube or housing. Do two while you're at it so you have a spare.
Seaddict, Alana and Doug

Thanks so much for all of your assistance. I am going to jump on to it this afternoon. My wife's Scorpio has the same problem although it seems to be freeing up a bit more easily.

Again I appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge and experience.
The Kayak Academy (and perhaps others in the USA) sell original equipment metric (3 mm) Valley skeg cables. You can also find replacement instructions on their web site.
I've got to do my Rotomolded Aquanaut's skeg cable sooner or later, so I am following this post. Thanks for all the info.

My boat has a black something or other as part of the skeg slider (see pic below). Anyone know what this is for? Does it need to be removed as part of the cable replacement?
Peter-CKM said:
My boat has a black something or other as part of the skeg slider (see pic below). Anyone know what this is for? Does it need to be removed as part of the cable replacement?

I've got that too. You shouldn't have to remove it. I do find that the cable sometimes gets stuck while trying to pass through it, so you may have to loosen the grub screw on the far right side of it (just be careful not to over-tighten it when tightening it back up as you may damage the copper crimp on the tubing)

If the cable really won't go through it (it's happened on some of the rental boats that I've worked on), you can disassemble the whole unit and fix the problem from there. Again, just be careful when tightening the grub screw on the far right of the unit.
Having never done a skeg cable on a Valley boat(P&H only), my only suggestion is that you can also chop the end of a cable very clean with a sharp chisel/hammer on a hard metal surface.
rider said:
...my only suggestion is that you can also chop the end of a cable very clean with a sharp chisel/hammer on a hard metal surface.

I've been through this process a couple of times myself in the last year and I'll simply second Rider's recommendation that you figure out a way to cut the cables very cleanly which means putting away those wire snips (which will squeeze the cable and cause it to fray which creates more problems that it solves).

Any shop that sells aircraft grade cable will have a proper cutter. I take mine out to a mechanic at our local aerodrome http://www.airnav.com/airport/KPRC
The folks at Confluence (Wilderness Systems, etc.) suggest using either Park bike cable cutters or marine cable cutters. See the 4:30 mark here:



Dec 7, 2011
Victoria, BC
West Coast Paddler is a great resource. Yesterday a friend brought me her NordkappLV with a skeg problem. A few minutes online led me here to words of wisdom from 8 years ago.
To the owners and moderators of WCP (and to the many contributors of content here) - now and in the past: Thanks!!
I'll give an update once I have a closer look at the Nordkapp problem.
John, some photos of your process would be great. Thanks in advance!

John, some photos of your process would be great.
Coming up. I have to sweep the 'shop' (single garage) and move my current building project to one side and squeeze the Nordkapp in there.
It's a nice day here, but the warm shop with lots of lighting is better than the back yard! :)
Well, it's another one for my file:"What were they thinking????"

Problem analysis: The plastic tube that the skeg wire runs in has been disconnected from the skeg control box - either the tube fractured or (more likely) pulled out of the connector to the control box.

Not a big deal, you may think...just figure out how that tube was connected to the control box and re-attach it, lubricate the skeg wire, etc. ...

Valley entombed that whole area under fiberglass - it looks very original, not a later 'mod'. The owner recalled Brian Henry doing a repair on the skeg 10+ years ago - perhaps the black sikaflex sealant at the tube/fiberglass junction?

If it were my own boat I would get out the Dremel. But my recommendation to the owner is : "Andrea at Blackline."

As Harry Callahan ('Dirty Harry' aka Clint Eastwood) said: "A man's got to know his limitations." :)
John, How do you lubricate the skeg wire? Joy has an EddieLine LV w/skeg. The snow is almost gone from our yard so I’m looking more at getting the boats ready. Usually that’s a cleaning, checking the bungees, and applying some 303. But I’ve done nothing for her cable - except put a pull string on the skeg and remind her to lift it when coming ashore. If there’s an easy maintenance for the cable and/or the control slider, please share.
I agree 100% on the necessity for a string on the skeg blade - another thing that almost all experienced paddlers would agree is necessary but that manufacturers don't put on kayaks. I guess they don't want to have prospective customers thinking about 'problems' ??

I don't know what is best for skeg control wires.
Some thoughts:
Most stainless will corrode without air contact, so it's generally a poor idea to put grease or oil on stainless. Fussy sail and power boat owners get upset if people touch stainless fittings with sunscreen-contaminated hands! :) However, inside the skeg tube I don't know if that applies.
Some online advice says that any sort of grease or oil will tend to collect grit.
Other advice is to use a dry lubricant or a wax like furniture polish on the cable.

I have used spray silicone lubricant - which seems to be about 99% volatile solvent - to try to make a cable run more easily. Turned the boat over and sprayed it into the skeg box and let gravity and a lot of back-and-forth 'exercising' of the skeg cable get the lube into the tube. It seemed to help but was a pretty crude approach.

I've found that the setscrew at the control knob tends to crush/deform the cable a bit. So I hesitate to pull the cable out unless I have a plan to put in a new cable. But some folks seem to pull the cable and lubricate ,flush out the tube, etc. as almost routine maintenance, so I may have had bad luck with the few I have worked on.
I try to avoid the adage: "If it ain't broke, I'll fix it till it is!" :)

I think the KS line control skeg is a good idea - spring in the skeg to push the blade into the water, thin Spectra cord to retract. Time will tell how they hold up.