DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

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DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

Post by Yoav »

3 month ago I bought a Pakboat Saranac. It is my first boat and I like it a lot, apart from one thing - tracking. I used it mostly on the fjord nearby, and often have cross winds and waves. I bought with the boat with a skeg. While looking on the many row boats around, I got an idea to make a better keel to my boat that will help me to keep it going where I want.
I bought two pieces of a T shape elastic band, about 2 meters long each. It is made for gluing on the floor of shower’s corners to keep the water in. It is about 3.5cm wide and 5cm high. First I attached the bands to the keel with rubber strings through small holes I made and carbines hooked to the D rings on the boat. With 2 bands (4m) on the improvement of the tracking was amazing, I used much less effort and attention to keep the boat on track. Using one band (2m) improved the manoeuvrability, but since it was so easy to put on and off, I always use the long version in the fjord. Lately I had a better idea and bought a long Velcro band with adhesive layer on both part, glued the band with tiny plastic hooks on the boat’s keel and the other band glued to the T bands. It works just as well, looks better and add another protecting layer to the deepest area of the keel.
Bad tracking is one of the main disadvantages of kayaks and canoes with smooth bottom, especially foldable and inflatable. I find this keel improvement very cheap and effective, very easy to make and easy to remove if one wants better manoeuvring.
Try and enjoy.
4m Velcro long
4m Velcro long
Keel velcro 01.10.14 (2)a.JPG (103.23 KiB) Viewed 3006 times
4m Velcro wide
4m Velcro wide
2m strings and carbines
2m strings and carbines

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Re: DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Very clever modification! I've used a strap-on skeg for my Feathercraft kayaks for years (much like a shorter version of your original cord connected design), but this velcro invention of yours looks like an even better solution for the kayaks' tendency to windcock. Just curious though -- what is the actual material that you used, the flexible T shape, and from what sort of store did you buy it?
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Re: DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

Post by Yoav »

The material feels like a sort of soft plastic. It is so soft that I do not remove it when I fold the boat. I got it from a friend who works in a shop that deals with bathrooms. As I wrote it is made for glue to the floor and keep the water in the shower corner. Since I live in north Norway, I guess an address will not help you. I saw in the internet that one can buy T shape rubber bands.

The effect of this long keel extension is much better than the effect of a rather short skeg. A week ago I went for 2 hours tour on the fjord, with head wind 30deg to my right, and waves of 30+cm. In these conditions there is always enough length of the keel to keep me on track, and reduced the drifting of the boat to the left, although I was not going fast. To test the effect I stopped and removed the keel extension. After 5 minutes I stopped to put back on.

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Re: DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

Post by Alv »

The Saranac shown in the photos is from the 2012 model year. 2013 Saranacs and newer come with factory installed removable skegs to address the tracking issue.

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Re: DIY keel improvement for better tracktion

Post by DLee »

Pretty ingenious, and easy application with the velcro. Something to keep in mind and maybe even in the tool kit if you ever find yourself on a long journey battling a cross wind. Pretty cool idea.

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