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Relax and enjoy the pleasures of kayaksailing…..


Whilst wandering around in cyberspace, I came across a mention of kayak sailing. I have always been drawn to the unique and unusual, so I was compelled to investigate further. It turns out there is quite a bit of material on the web on this subject, and a diverse selection of sailing rigs. I decided to have a go...

After some research, I came to the conclusion that the simplest (and least expensive) way to experience this novelty would be an umbrella sail. What a kick! It really adds a whole new dimension to the sport, distinctively melding the two experiences. On a typical day I can paddle around the coves in the AM and then hitch a downwind ride on the breeze for the trip back to shore as the wind picks up in the afternoon. It's amazing the power of that umbrella, I calculated that there is over 20 sq. ft. of sail area in the 62" canopy, pretty substantial. I have thought about purchasing a Pacific Action sailing rig, but after considering the pro's and con's, I'm going to stick with the umbrella, for the time being anyway. It represents what I call "elegant simplicity".

The advantages: large sail area, extremely portable and maneuverable, doesn't require mounting, easy stowage, low cost, and if it rains you've got it covered. You can also very quickly spill the wind for safety, just position it horizontal. Generally, you lift it high enough for a good catch and to gain a forward view, one or two hands depending on the wind velocity. The main advantage of the V-sails is the hands free feature, but with a rudder for steering (a necessity), it's not a big factor. Being able to brace with the paddle, if needed, is advantageous, but I only sail in moderate conditions downwind or with a short reach and this has not proven to be necessary.

Of course, for more "serious" sailing, there are many more sophisticated options out there with outriggers, etc. Another interesting new concept is the "Windpaddle". You tie it to your foredeck and it deploys like a parachute. Possibilities...To try the umbrella method, you need to purchase a top quality 5ft. golf umbrella, one designed to handle extreme wind loading. The "Gustbuster" seems to be the ultimate, list around 40 bucks. Check on E-Bay for discounted offerings. A leash is a good idea, in case you lose your grip. Regardless of the apparatus, sailing can be an exhilarating addition to the kayaking experience, a smile is guaranteed. I definitely agree with the sailor quoted at the top of this page, "one good wind and you will be hooked"...  ~Rod