Skeg Repair Angst


Mar 26, 2010
North Idaho (Sandpoint)
I don't like boats with rudders, nor even with skegs - although I prefer the latter for aesthetic reasons. Why the dislike when these devices can improve the paddling performance for many kayaks? Well, these devices are mechanical, they break or malfunction, and I am not handy. Clearly the problem is with me, not with the mechanical device.

Earlier this year I purchased a used Valley 17.3 Étaín. I quite like the boat, but it ultimately experienced a bent skeg cable. Without smiting you with the details, the repair required some replacement parts including a skeg cable tube splice. The splice installation necessitated getting the seat out of the way and the most difficult part of the repair was putting the seat back where it was before the project. Faced with this minor project, I was filled with angst.

For repair parts, I typically try Topkayaker or George Gronseth’s Kayak Academy. Topkayaker listed the needed parts, but all were ‘out of stock’. Kayak Academy is a Valley dealer and, not only had the parts, but also reasonably clear instructions! Thanks Kayak Academy! The parts came and the project began.

There were two results. First the skeg repair went smoothly and successfully. Secondly, the angst retreated and I am more at home with my Valley 17.3 Étaín. Do not infer that I am comfortable with other mechanical projects, just skeg repair for that particular kayak.