Any sail recommendations?

I’m thinking I might like to try a simple sail rig just for the heck of it. This would probably be for a pack boat but I also have a sea kayak. I’m wondering what’s out there that is easy to setup, deploy, and use…and doesn’t get in the way when you are paddling without it? I assume that given those parameters, and my lack of sailing experience, that the options are pretty much downwind sailing. Is that right? Oh, and no rudder on boat if that matters.


Think you are going to need a rudder or skeg, something to keep kayak from sliding across the water.


The simplest sails are the free flying Wind Paddle sails, no permanent rigging (or very little), drawback being that you have to hold the sail up with your hands, so no ability to also hold a paddle.

A (big) step up from those would be the Falcon/Flat Earth/Sea Dog sails, these require some hardware and possibly deck reinforcement but once set up are quite simple and hands free operation. I have a Sea Dog sail on my 19’ Mirage 580 and I can “sail” within about 60 degrees to the wind without significant leeway. in 12-15 knots I have sustained 5+ knots of boat speed for 3 miles.

At the top of the complexity list would be something like the Balogh sails with outriggers and a leeboard. These will allow true upwind sailing but are much more involved to set up.

You can always try the old golf umbrella route - honestly I’d try that before buying a Wind Paddle!

Sails are fun, although if you have never sailed before I’d suggest reading a good learn-to-sail book to familiarize yourself with how sailboats work and some of the terminology.

Without a leeboard you will be limited to mostly downwind. A rudder or skeg does help, but for messing around isn’t really necessary.


The first video at 9 minutes and 47 seconds watch him talk about his canoe sail. The second video is his work on a kayak sail.

Skin On Frame Nesting Canoes: Rowing, Sailing, Catamaran, and more! - YouTube
Skin on Frame Kayak Sail Testing! - YouTube

how do you find your sail impacts stability? Even been blown over :-)?

@mickp The Mirage has very high initial stability. One nice feature of the Sea Dog sail
is that the sheet has a short piece of bungee cord where it attaches to the sail, which really does a good job of taking the bite out of any gusts. It would certainly be possible but I haven’t had any problems yet. I have also been sailing for over 30 years so am a pretty high on the learning curve!


Check out the second video I posted above. Brian talks about your concern, and demos a capsize with his sail.

1 Like

Not necessarily. Check out the video I posted below.

Here is a good video on canoe sailing.

I have used a bed sheet successfully between two canoes. A fixed sail is risky. Mostly canoes and kayaks only run downwind. Changing winds can easily knock you over. A bed sheet can be dropped in a hurry.

Without a rudder or skeg, a sudden change in wind direction will spin you around and make rolling more likely especially with waves.

1 Like

I have a Falcon Sail. Fun! At times can it can be a bit of a challenge for me . I am not a sailor like Brodie.

I can roll with it, it doesn’t act like the sail Brian rolls with in the video Castoff posted. When you go over, it does like a sail board does, sail points directly down. Have to release the mast a few inches, so there is a little play. Then it just rolls as if it isn’t there.


Makes me wonder about a mast float at the tip of the sail?

If you watch Brian’s video, He has lots of air in his drysuit…maybe he doesn’t burp it so that he actually is not able to go over.

I don’t mind loosening the Mast to roll…not a big thing.

Changes in wind direction does not spin you about, at least not with a 17’+ sea kayak. With skeg up it makes skidding turns a lot of fun due to the differential pressure at the end of the boat and freeing up the stern when heeled over. Quite fun! As you’ve always got forward momentum a static low brace becomes a lift foil. I haven’t had the wind inadvertently knock me over in years. Only time that nearly happened was at a standstill with my face in a gps screen trying to figure out where I was.

I’ve got one SeaDog Commander 0.8m sail left plus mounting tackle. Can ship.

Pics from this past weekend.


See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

1 Like

One thing I like about the Falcon Sail, is that if the wind dies down or if you want to paddle into a cave, the sail folds down and is stowed on the deck but is easy to deploy.

And what Marshall said…the wind doesn’t just spin you around…YMMV



I paddle on the Gulf of Mexico, there is always a swell, and wind only makes it bigger, so if I was going down wind and the wind changed direction it would turn the bow towards the swell without a rudder or skeg, and if you do not know what to do and do it quickly, it could result in a capsize.

I edited my “Fake News” to YMMV…just because I’ve never experienced it …doesn’t mean it isn’t hypothetically possible and someone else has had this happen. I paddle Lake Superior and our waves are short period and many times very steep.

Best Wishes

1 Like

Definitely YMMV… a change in wind velocity can put a turning force on the boat, but not generally a change in direction. Never noticed that happening in either the kayak or any of the “real” sailboats. Also, unlike sailboats, kayaks with sails generally don’t have a strong weather (or lee) helm. They are so long and skinny that they are forgiving of imbalances between the center of effort of the sail and the center of lateral resistance underwater. And with no keel to pivot around they tend to just scoot sideways in a gust, which is an effective heavy weather technique even for larger vessels with shoal draft.

Google “lead” in relation to sailboats if you want to learn more!


On my QCC 700-XL ~18’, if I am heading into the wind with the rudder up, I have to paddle to within +/- 5 degrees of the wind heading to maintain course, if I get past that angle the wind will push the bow leeward. So I do not see why the same would not happen with my kayak (rudder up) and a forward mounted sail that gets hit with a side gust. Wind will be able to push bow leeward. Same applies to sailing, use the jib to bring the bow around, not the main sail, because the jib has more leverage on the sailboat due to its off center position.