Here, the Madeline 16 floats on a nice, even keel when she's empty.
But, fill her up with water and things change. The only thing preventing Cleopatra's Needle here was the bottom of the Lake holding the stern in place.
Now, here is the skinless Abatross 14, no skin, but full flotation.
And, even with a 245 pound paddler on board, she floats level in calm water.
The skinless kayak needed some bracing occasionally, but I was able to paddle it away and back to the beach.
I would liked to have tried the skinless kayak with a sea sock and a spray skirt as well, but, as you can see, I didn't have the coaming installed on the Albatross. I think the spray skirt would have held a lot of air in place inside the sea sock, though, which would have provided additional flotation.
Lesson learned: If you're not going to use a sea sock, you need to have flotation bags if you are going to paddle on open water with your skin-on-frame kayak. Ideally, you should have both flotation and a sea sock.
The first time I ever capsized my kayak I had no spray skirt and no float bags. I did a sculling stroke, the paddle dove, and pulled the kayak over with it, flooding the entire thing. That was before I knew even how to do a self-rescue, much less dewater the kayak. I swam it to shore and hauled the heavy kayak out of the water so I could empty it.
You need to have flotation, and, ideally, it should be backed up with a sea sock.
You can find video of the test here: