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 Adding a skeg to the WK250
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WK 727
1st Mate

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64 Posts

Initially Posted - 04/17/2022 :  09:27:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I added a skeg to my 250 this past winter. It is made out of Divinycell. The hull was sanded down to the fiberglass for the proper adhesion. The skeg dimension is 6"H x 2"W x 48"L. Wrapped in two layers of fiberglass cloth and then tabbed with two strips of fiberglass on each side 2"W and then 4"W strips of cloth. After fairing I applied the white Totalboat epoxy barrier coating (10 mils). The rudder is the factory fiberglass/foam filled rudder that I reshaped/reinforced a few years back in another post to improve performance.




Regards, John
Westlawn Institute graduate
Yacht Design and Naval Architecture
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel

Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5717 Posts

Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  10:09:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What is the purpose of the skeg?

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8848 Posts

Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  11:12:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Milby

What is the purpose of the skeg?

I'll take a guess: To counteract rocker.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge (but still sailing when I can).
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  11:45:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The usual purposes of a skeg are to protect the rudder and prop, or to help the boat track straighter. My first guess is that it was primarily to deflect crab pot lines and debris from snagging in his balanced rudder, but I'm curious whether there were any other particular considerations.

My C&C 35 had a very similar rudder/skeg arrangement, but it also had a pin, about 2 1/2" long, that I assume was stainless steel, that was set in the skeg about 2-3" forward of the rudder. Its purpose was to deflect any thin lines from getting caught in the little slot between the skeg and the rudder. It wasn't foolproof, because a line still got caught there once, but I have no way of knowing how many lines were deflected by that pin through the years.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  11:56:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My guess, To aid in tracking.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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WK 727
1st Mate

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64 Posts

Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  15:36:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It has to do with lead. The center of lateral resistance is too far forward on the C250. This was pointed out in 1996 in the first review of the boat. I wish Catalina had addressed it back then.
https://www.practical-sailor.com/sailboat-reviews/sailboats-21-30ft/catalina-250

The lead impacts the ability to reduce weather helm. Ask a Catalina 25 owner if weather helm is a problem. Of course not because it has the correct amount of lead, created in part by the skeg on it.

Hope this helps,

Regards, John
Westlawn Institute graduate
Yacht Design and Naval Architecture
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5717 Posts

Response Posted - 04/17/2022 :  19:24:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When I first started sailing C25s in 1980, they were notorious for having a very heavy weather helm. That notion changed as owners learned how to reduce weather helm by tuning the rig.

I've never tuned a C250, but the typical way to reduce weather helm is to adjust the relationship between the CE and CLR by tilting the rig more nearly plumb (reducing the mast rake). I tuned my C25 with very little rake, and I tuned my Cal 25 with a virtually plumb rig, and their weather helm was light enough that I could make the helm neutral by sail trimming.

The C250 owner's manual recommends a 4" rake in the mast, but that isn't a "commandment." By reducing some or all of that rake, you could make a massive reduction in weather helm.

I don't know if it's necessary to add a skeg to a C250 to achieve a nice, light helm. It might be. But owners should first try to achieve it by tuning their rig.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
8848 Posts

Response Posted - 04/18/2022 :  11:58:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
C-250 WB boats were especially notorious for weather helm, which people found they could reduce by pulling the centerboard back (up) a little. That moved the CLR back. I hadn't heard many complaints about the WK version--comparing the drawings of the two models made clear to me the difference in the CLRs, and the 135% headsail more common on WKs might have helped by moving the CE a bit forward. I hope the skeg helps...

Steve's pin sounds like a good idea for people sailing anywhere around pots. How far forward of the rudder was it? The risk from step on the balanced rudder is obvious from the photo above--the tighter the gap under the skeg, the tighter a pot warp is likely to be jammed inside it. With the pin, the warp might slow you down temporarily until the marker buoy slides under the hull, but it "might" not get jammed on the rudder. (Then again.....)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 04/18/2022 12:03:30
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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Response Posted - 04/18/2022 :  12:56:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If the WB centerboard rotates aft and up, like the C25 SK, then raising it some would move the CLR aft and reduce weather helm.

The CLR on the WB is almost directly under the mast. An overlapping jib would add sail area aft of the CLR, and that would increase weather helm. I hadn't thought about it before, but, if you add a 135% genoa to any of the C250 versions, you should reduce the mast rake, probably by a fairly significant amount, to move the CE forward. If you don't, you can expect to have increased weather helm.

If I was tuning a C250 rig with a 135% genoa, I'd start with the mast plumb, and then sail the boat in 8-10 kt winds. If it had lee helm, I'd increase the rake a little and sail it again. What you're looking for is a light, comfortable weather helm. Rake the mast about an inch at a time until you find the sweet spot.

The pin was set 2-3" forward of the rudder.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8848 Posts

Response Posted - 04/18/2022 :  21:43:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Milby

...if you add a 135% genoa to any of the C250 versions, you should reduce the mast rake, probably by a fairly significant amount, to move the CE forward. If you don't, you can expect to have increased weather helm.
I was referring to the 135% on the wing keel model--the keel on which (and presumably the CLR) is significantly farther aft. The CE of the 135% headsail itself will be somewhat farther aft, but the amount of the effort on that sail will be greater, which is part of the overall CE calculation for the rig.

My recollection is the early complaints about excessive weather helm on the C-250 were almost exclusively about the WB model, which I believe was the first version to be released, so got the early reviews. Catalina should have modified it to not lower the centerboard to vertical, like the rake of the C-25 swing keel, which is centered much farther aft relative to the sail-plan when lowered, even though the C-25's mast is also farther aft. The C-25 skeg is very small--it probably contributes more to directional stability at speed than to the CLR.

I wonder if that pin was added by a P.O. or was an original feature. I've never seen that...

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge (but still sailing when I can).
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5717 Posts

Response Posted - 04/19/2022 :  08:14:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you go to sailboatdata and compare the side view of the C250 WB with the side view of the C250 FK and WK, it's immediately apparent that the WB keel is farther forward than the FK and WK. All sailboats rotate on their axis. Their axis is situated in their keel. Their axis is the Center of lateral resistance. If you move the keel forward, you also move the CLR forward. That means, to achieve optimum performance, you have to tune the WB rig differently from the other versions.

For WB owners, I'd suggest they begin by the procedure I described above. When you sail it with the mast plumb, if the boat has lee helm, first try adjusting the centerboard so that it rotates aft about 6 inches, and mark that adjustment somehow, so you can reproduce it. If the boat still has lee helm, then rake the mast about one inch and test-sail it again. If it still has lee helm, rake the mast another inch. The idea is that the WB has one adjustment that can be made to move the CLR and one adjustment that can be made to move the CE. Alternately use them both to find the optimum adjustment.

This sounds like a bit of a hassle, but it doesn't take that long, and once you find the optimum settings, and can reproduce them, your boat will sail better for as long as you own it.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 04/19/2022 13:32:59
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5717 Posts

Response Posted - 04/19/2022 :  08:29:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave, I think the pin was original. Whether it works depends on what you hit. If you hit something like a crab pot, with a float attached, the float will pull upwards, and the line might jump over the pin and get caught in the rudder. If you hit a weighted fishing line, or something that exerts a downwards pull, then the line might slide down the leading edge of the rudder and fall away. It isn't foolproof, but it improves your odds of avoiding a problem.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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k3fuller
1st Mate

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69 Posts

Response Posted - 04/21/2022 :  07:28:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is certainly an interesting discussion. On my 2004WB the centerboard does not go straight down but has a slight aft angle to it when fully down. I also usually have a slight tension on the lifting cable when sailing as well, though it vibrates/hums at 5+ knots. I also have a 135 genny. I run the mast plumb straight with no rake. It would seem to me also that one's rudder would come into play with the weather helm as well. My boat had the Gen3 short rudder where the WK's I understand have a longer Gen1 or Gen2 rudder. I put an aftermarket Ruddercraft 'blue water' naca foil kick up rudder which I think is about 13" longer than the Gen3 stock rudder. It's excellent. No weather or lee helm on my boat and she sails well even in 18-20 knots.

2004 250WB #781
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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812 Posts

Response Posted - 04/21/2022 :  08:53:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John,

You clearly have spent a lot of time and thought to add a skeg to your C250WK.
I'm impressed by your project in general and your execution in particular.
Thank you for posting your photos.

Other members have "discussed" a skeg, but yours is the first one I've seen completed.
Here's an archived post from our former C250 technical editor.
He owned one of the first C250WB and is no longer active on the forum.
Unfortunately, his website is no longer available, so the links to his photos are broken.

Arlyn Stewart
More boat handling stuff (long)
https://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3442


Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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812 Posts

Response Posted - 04/21/2022 :  09:17:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Kemp,

It's nice to hear from you again.
Just to clarify for everyone else about the C250 rudders.
There are several rudder versions.

C250WB Generation-1 Rudder
The original 1995 rudder was quickly replaced (1996?).
I heard 1995 owners were offered a free replacement (unconfirmed?).

C250WB/WK Generation-2 Rudder
There is a fixed rudder and a kick-up rudder version.
Standard from 1996 to 2003 (rough dates).
Because the water-ballast has a shallow draft when the centerboard is raised, it uses a shorter rudder.
I think the fixed was for the wing-keel and kick-up for water-ballast

C250WB/WK Generation-3 Rudder
The last rudder and standard after 2003
This a balanced rudder.
The water-ballast is 5-foot long, while the wing-keel version is 6-foot long.
John's photo is the longer 6-foot rudder.

I have replaced my 3rd-gen WB "short" rudder with a 2nd-gen kick-up rudder.
The replacement rudder works much better for me.
I agree with Kemp, the rudder plays a role, but John's boat has different hardware.
The reason I bring this up is for readers who aren't aware their hardware may differ from this project.


Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793
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slacker
Deckhand

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USA
8 Posts

Response Posted - 04/26/2022 :  09:43:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Please do a follow up after you've had time to assess the results.

Paul Schupbach
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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4995 Posts

Response Posted - 04/28/2022 :  09:42:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like the pin idea on the skeg ahead of the rudder. I wonder whether a simple pin would work as well as a triangular shaped appendage hanging down just ahead of the rudder, maybe stainless steel?

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Milford, CT
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WK 727
1st Mate

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USA
64 Posts

Response Posted - 06/02/2022 :  12:31:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Clarifications:

My mast has always been tuned, I didn't take it down over the winter or need any adjustments this spring.

I have not suffered severe weather helm since I faired the rudder (see prior post NACA 0012).

Two C25s in dry storage were used to determine the size. Both are 6" tall and are 2" wide at the tip. The main difference is the radius between the keel and skeg which is much more gradual on the C25 (it is about 3" wide at the keel).

Current results:
Sailed in small white caps and upper teens and it handled perfectly and confidently. Only one sailboat stayed out in the rough conditions with us. Single reef in the main and full jib (125). We had fun.

Sailed yesterday in about 10 knots, calm water and it tracked so well I didn't need to keep my hand on the wheel. 5.5 knots SOG and full sails. Sailed like a dream.

Handling in the marina was probably the best improvement. It wasn't squirrely like it used to be. (I haven't experienced a strong cross breeze that can wreak havoc on our high freeboard design).

I plan on putting it thru the paces this season and I'll put out more information in October, but so far, it was worth the effort to me.

Regards, John
Westlawn Institute graduate
Yacht Design and Naval Architecture
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel
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