AirFusion Skeg Wins Fans!

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lee johnson
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Location: vancouver canada

AirFusion Skeg Wins Fans!

Post by lee johnson » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:13 pm

The skeg that is designed for the AirFusion has won over a couple more paddlers. Both thought it made an "incredible" difference to the tracking and gliding of the FUS. They say that whatever hull speed is lost through "drag" from the skeg - an argument I have made - is more than made up for by the fact that the kayak moves in a straight line, with no "waggle," thus increasing the distance it travels with each stroke. The main trade-off is a noticeable loss of maneuverability; quickness is important to me, which is why I normally keep the skeg in its "up" position.

One of these paddlers is my oldest son who says the new skeg makes such a categorical improvement that he would keep the skeg engaged at all times; the trade-off with maneuverability is well worth it to him. The other paddler was a youngish fellow in his mid-30s who came by to ask about the AirFusion and Expedition we were using. He had rented a number of hard-shells over the years, and so we let him "demo" our kayaks. He immediately chose the AirFusion, and I asked him to paddle it first with the skeg up and then with it down in the water. He was blown away by the difference the skeg makes and said the kayak + skeg worked better than any other kayak he had tried. He and his girlfriend live in an apartment and thus see real possibilities with AE's kayaks that come out of bags. I suspect two FUSes in their future.

Since the skeg can be kept "up" or "down," everyone can be happy with it, whether one desires "incredible" tracking and gliding or the quick and maneuverable equivalent of a rally car. Bottom line: this is one great accessory.

Tee Loo
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:46 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by Tee Loo » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:07 am

Well, I have the skeg too now and I must say it does a great job. Tracking is really good and it also stabilizes more in longitudinal axis (roll), obviously because of the drag sideways.

I even think the skeg is over designed and could be smaller. But hej, it's a great product and you can easily alter many things yourself.

I changed a few things myself: took off the bungee that keeps the skeg down. Now I have one cord to pull up the skeg and the other to pull it back down. For me the skeg is heavy/big enough to stay in the water with no bungee keeping in down.
The skeg is fairly blunt which causes most of the drag portion. Not sure what it would be when streamlined.

I have to put a nickel between the skeg's side plate and the gray rubber from the stern in order to keep straight, otherwise it will go ever so slowly to the right.
A very easy and effective fix. Probably nothing to do with the skeg and all about my FUS' inherent symmetry drawback compared to hard-shells.

I keep the skeg out of the water on long no-side-wind powerful paddle stretches, but any other time it goes fully in.

My next project: make a rudder out of it.

To be continued.

Tee
Last edited by Tee Loo on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rsimpson
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Post by rsimpson » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:06 am

nice write-up Lee.

JimD
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Location: UK

Post by JimD » Thu May 10, 2012 2:32 pm

Sounds a useful accessory.
One point I'd make to Tee though. I think they use bungee to keep the skeg down, because if you go into shallow water, or over a snag, it will allow the skeg to lift rather than cause damage.

bertel84
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:01 am
Location: Wisconsin

Skeg ?

Post by bertel84 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:03 pm

I just picked up the skeg. Whats the best place to run the cord too. I have some ideas just wondering what works for you guys. thanks.

robbyw
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:27 am

Post by robbyw » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:26 pm

Hi Tee:

I also have a AFand have been wondering about the Skegs ability to reduce its rolling.. After falling due to a wake in the Alameda channel andhaving to swim to shore have become less comfortable going out with the boat and even considered selling it. If it really helps with making it more stable I might buy the skeg
Tee Loo wrote:Well, I have the skeg too now and I must say it does a great job. Tracking is really good and it also stabilizes more in longitudinal axis (roll), obviously because of the drag sideways.



Keep us updated on the rudder project!

My next project: make a rudder out of it.

To be continued.

Tee

lee johnson
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:51 pm
Location: vancouver canada

Post by lee johnson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:59 am

Robby -

Tell us more about the incident and why the FUS rolled on you. Out at sea, I never use the FUS without a sprayskirt because it sits low in the water and large waves can wash over it and threaten to swamp it. Without a sprayskirt, I would feel uncomfortable about taking the AirFusion out in rough water. Having said that, however, I do find the FUS to be less tippy than most hard-shells I have used. My favourite kayak, though, for seaworthiness and an enjoyable time, even in wild wind and waves, if they come up at sea, is the Expedition. I have never had any issues involving stability with that one. By comparison, I generally reserve the AirFusion for lakes and rivers.

Last year, I was contacted by a chap in Barcelona who asked whether he should purchase an AirFusion or an Expedition. When he said he would basically be using the kayak on coastal ocean waters, I recommended the Expedition. I would like to hear more from those who have used the AirFusion at sea and what kinds of issues they have encountered.

lee johnson
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:51 pm
Location: vancouver canada

Post by lee johnson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:01 am

Postscript: there is no doubt that the Skeg for the AirFusion helps to stabilize it and makes it safer in rough weather. However, there is still a need for a sprayskirt.

robbyw
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:27 am

Post by robbyw » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:52 pm

I am not sure I can tell very much. I was out on the Alameda channel and it was quite choppy with waves coming from many directions so I was constantly struggling to stay stable. At one moment a bigger wave caused me to go off balance and the kayak flipped onto its side


quote="lee johnson"]Robby -

Tell us more about the incident and why the FUS rolled on you. Out at sea, I never use the FUS without a sprayskirt because it sits low in the water and large waves can wash over it and threaten to swamp it. Without a sprayskirt, I would feel uncomfortable about taking the AirFusion out in rough water. Having said that, however, I do find the FUS to be less tippy than most hard-shells I have used. My favourite kayak, though, for seaworthiness and an enjoyable time, even in wild wind and waves, if they come up at sea, is the Expedition. I have never had any issues involving stability with that one. By comparison, I generally reserve the AirFusion for lakes and rivers.

Last year, I was contacted by a chap in Barcelona who asked whether he should purchase an AirFusion or an Expedition. When he said he would basically be using the kayak on coastal ocean waters, I recommended the Expedition. I would like to hear more from those who have used the AirFusion at sea and what kinds of issues they have encountered.[/quote]

lee johnson
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:51 pm
Location: vancouver canada

Skeg=Keel (almost)

Post by lee johnson » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:00 am

I have been thinking about stability and the "ride" of my various kayaks and must say that the skeg on the AirFusion and the Feathercraft rudder on my 17'6" Boreal Design Epsilon 3 are essential for sea-kayaking. Both the AirFusion and the e3 rock alarmingly when unexpected large swells or waves hit their hulls, but using the skeg or the rudder is almost like a putting a keel in the water: immediately, both kayaks settle down in their longitudinal stability. By comparison, my Expedition has such incredible initial or primary stability that it is like a silent stealth hovercraft, gliding mysteriously over the water with very little rocking from side to side. It has the best "ride" in that sense. For use at sea, all three of these kayaks benefit from a spray-skirt, especially the AirFusion, which sits low in the water, well out of the wind (which is most desirable) but low enough that waves often wash over the deck.

maruby95
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Mediterranean

Post by maruby95 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:42 am

Lee,

I have some additional feedback in favor of the FUS in rough water, albeit With Skeg AND Skirt. I'm located in the Eastern Med, though most of my previous kayaking experience was in the Mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake Bay area. When I lived in the States I had an AE Expedition as well, but when we moved I only wanted to bring one boat, and chose the FUS.

My feedback for the FUS on flat days is universally positive. It's a fantastic inflatable boat for long paddles...light, fast, stable.

I recently had it out on a short run 'for fun' in major chop, 20+ knot variable wind gusts, white caps. Fortunately I had a protected cove for 'takeoff and landing' - the waves would've made that pretty miserable, but once I was out, skirt on and adjusted, the boat performed exceptionally well. I was intentional and cautious about being parallel to the waves, always attacking straight on. When I did get sideways I was very pleased to have the skeg for stabilization. Waves were large enough to break over the nose and send water in quantity over the bottom of the skirt. That being said, very limited water entered the cockpit. I was very pleased, and the smile stayed on my face the whole time I was out, save a few moments where I was concerned I had paddled too close to some rocks and thought the odds were good I would be deposited upon them. I was out for about 90 minutes. No complaints.

Still very pleased with the FUS, would recommend to anyone.

Mark R.
lee johnson wrote:Robby -

Tell us more about the incident and why the FUS rolled on you. Out at sea, I never use the FUS without a sprayskirt because it sits low in the water and large waves can wash over it and threaten to swamp it. Without a sprayskirt, I would feel uncomfortable about taking the AirFusion out in rough water. Having said that, however, I do find the FUS to be less tippy than most hard-shells I have used. My favourite kayak, though, for seaworthiness and an enjoyable time, even in wild wind and waves, if they come up at sea, is the Expedition. I have never had any issues involving stability with that one. By comparison, I generally reserve the AirFusion for lakes and rivers.

Last year, I was contacted by a chap in Barcelona who asked whether he should purchase an AirFusion or an Expedition. When he said he would basically be using the kayak on coastal ocean waters, I recommended the Expedition. I would like to hear more from those who have used the AirFusion at sea and what kinds of issues they have encountered.

Tee Loo
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:46 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by Tee Loo » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:10 pm

Hi,

no progress on the rudder option. Didn't have time yet.

I use a long cord in a loop for the skeg. The loop ends at the cockpit. Part of the loop (about 10 inches or so) is bungee cord. Pulling on one side makes the skeg come out of the water, flips all the way over on to the deck and stays there. Pulling on the other side (with the bungee) the skeg drops in to the water. At the bungee end I have a 'carabiner' that I can attach near the cockpit so that the skeg sits under light tension in the water.
I like this flip-flop option.

I did not even start making a rudder version and I already think about the new 2013 FUS Elite rear access hatch... this could be a after market option for our first generation FUS... glueing this 'turtle neck' (yes I have Apple stuff..) into the back. mh.... too many idea's, no time..

I'll post pictures soon ....

Tee Loo
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:46 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by Tee Loo » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:57 pm

Here is a picture just to get an idea.

I actually stopped using the loop system and went to a two single line system. One for up, one for down (including bungee cord).

Another, though very small, mod is the ring which I replaced with a mini carabiner which makes it easier to install and remove the skeg.

Image

Tee

martyrdumb
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Location: Canada

Post by martyrdumb » Sun May 26, 2013 9:05 pm

Thanks to Tee Loo for the simple mod to the skeg. I got mine last week, and I'm happy with the purchase.

The modification is simple and a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. The included 1-line-for-retraction system + bungee to keep the skeg in place is overkill. I immediately cut the bungee off, and simply tied a 2nd cord to the alternate side of the pseudo-pulley (this is obvious when you see the skeg). The result is a 2-line (1 for retraction, 1 for deployment) skeg. Worried about current forcing the skeg upward? Simply tighten the nut/bolt(nyloc) just a hair, and it adds as much or little resistance as you need, without the bungee. I just run the cords through a factory eye closest to the cockpit. The cables don't need to be tight since you don't have to tie them off to keep the skeg up or down. Far better than the stock design imo, and a free/30s mod.

After meeting some rough crosswind coming upstream today, I was happy to have it. And while tooling around some shallow, calm bays, I was extra happy that I didn't have to tie off my retraction cord just to keep the skeg from springing back down :)

JCOOLEY
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Post by JCOOLEY » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:00 pm

martyrdumb,

You must of received some older stock from wherever you purchased it. The bungee was only on the first production run and has since been changed to the cord pull system like your mod. One cord for up and one for down.

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