Thursday, December 22, 2011

New P&H skeg slider.

I have been testing the new P&H skeg slider (above). Some of the first generation of sliders (see photo below)  became increasingly difficult to operate, sometimes even after just a few days on the water.

In both photos, the slider is on the left side of the kayak and the bow is on the left of the photo. The basic mechanism lifts the skeg up by pulling the blue dyneema cord (against an elastic down-haul) as the slider is pushed forward. A ratchet holds the skeg slider in place until a lever disengages it. On the old slider this lever was on the sliders rear side, which meant you had to push it forward with your thumb as you pulled the slider back. Some people found this counter intuitive. On the new slider the ratchet lever is in front of the main slider. A quick pull back on the lever releases the ratchet as you pull the slider back.

This is a great improvement. The new slider works intuitively and easily. I was concerned that paddlers with a high paddling action might brush against it as they pulled the active blade back, close to the hull. However, this has not happened at all. The kayak I have been testing has a prototype of the new slider. The production version will have a slightly stiffer spring on the ratchet lever to reduce any  likelihood of accidental release.

A second change is from a stainless steel slider bar to a composite moulded one. Apparently the stainless steel ones were cut from a large roll of stainless steel wire. On some kayaks the rod began to bend back to its original slight curve (it had on the roll). This curve made the slider action stiffer. The new composite bar on my test kayak has given no problems at all.

A third (less obvious change) is that there is a little more clearance between the slider body and the channel it runs in. On a 2009 Cetus, the slider worked perfectly until I had done a couple of surf landings on the on the fine white shell sand beaches on the...

...west coast of Colonsay. The slider became just about impossible to move. The resultant heavy scores on the channel walls told their own story. I have not had the Cetus MV to Colonsay yet but it has been in smaller surf on sandy 

Culzean and Maidens Bays. There has been no scoring and the slider remains light and positive in use.

The Cetus MV is not a kayak that needs a lot of skeg in normal paddling but I have been using it with a sail... 
...and ease of skeg use is very helpful when sailing. 

I am delighted to report that the new slider has worked faultlessly even allowing for frequent and rapid micro adjustments to skeg angle in...

...force 4-5 winds with following, closely spaced seas.


  1. You canny beat a faultless skeg.

  2. Hi Tony, it was only some of the first generation skegs that had problems and not all the problems were caused by the slider...

    It is good to see that P&H have listened seriously to the minority that was affected and acted to resolve the situation.


  3. This is great to hear. For me, I never had any problem getting the skeg down but getting it up has always been next to impossible from day one. Because it has always been been so much work to retract it, I hardly never use it.

    In my case I think the bungy spring is set to tight.

    David J.

  4. Hi Douglas

    Do you know if the new slider can be fitted into the mark one version?


  5. Hello David and Phil, if you are having problems with a mark 1 slider (and not all are affected) then P&H have a report form and warranty support process to help affected owners.

    If the slider needed replaced I think it would be a return to P&H job as it is glued into the hull recess.

    The bungy elastic which pulls the skeg down on my prototype Mk2 skeg is very light. I think it is too light because if you pull the slider back very quickly releasing tension in the cord, the skeg only partially extends, leaving excess blue cord sticking out of the front of the slider.

    I have found pulling the slider slowly and steadily back helps to stop this. Having said that, I am still not convinced that this is a step forward from a steel cable skeg control. My Valley Nordkapp LV cable has not kinked in 7 years and my P&H Quest cable only kinked once in 8 years.