Downwind sail for my Wildfire

-- Last Updated: Feb-21-05 2:09 PM EST --


I am finishing up my outfitting for trips this summer, and I am considering a downwind sail set-up for some of the big lakes on days when the wind is in my favor.

I don't mind getting creative with the mounting, but I don't really want to make my own sail from scratch.

I am not looking to challenge my boat's stability, only add maybe 1-2 mph by sail downwind on top of my paddling efforts. The sail should be hands free, and lightweight for portage. I am not interested in sailing upwind or carrying a leeboard, or any of that.

My basic choices seem to be spinaker type:
Maybe more control, clearly most expensive.

Or, V-type:

The vsail price is quite low compared to the others, so I am looking hard at that one.

Any experience with any of these? How much sail area should I be looking for for my 14' solo boat?

Thanks in advance . . .

just put a sunfish sail on it

– Last Updated: Feb-21-05 2:49 PM EST –

it's a bell. it can handle it. don't worry;) seriously, i've heard really good things about spirit sails. i think they offer one in the 8-square-foot range. that would probably work pretty well. i'm guessing you'll be steering by means of straight shaft when underway? the watertribe folks have a lot of good info. on canoe and kayak sails for tripping. it's at

Get the larger Spirit sail for Wildfire
The smaller one is best for low volume kayaks. Your canoe can easily handle the larger of the two (17 sq ft I think) because they are designed to spill gusts over the top with their flexible sail stays. It works great with my 15’ Saranac. However, you may wish to mount it lower rather than on the Wildfire’s gunwales. I mount it’s base on the other web seat in my canoe and that seems perfect.

I was thinkin’…
about a V sail design made from the front half of a canoe cover. Fibre glass tent poles that lay on the gunnel when the “sail” is a cover, and extend up from the bow when the “cover” is a sail.

Kanawa magazine winter issue
has a great article on using your tent footrpint and a paddle to make a sail. Not hands free but you carry nothing extra and when the wind is in your favor you need not paddle at all.