Kayak kites

Can someone weigh in about Kayak kites ? I had a great experience “sailing” along with several chums on an open water crossing. When I search for kites web sites are a bit sketchy on info. I’m looking for something small and lightweight. Any thoughts?


Sea kayaker did a write-up a year or so
ago. You may be able to search it. I have a small two line kite but haven’t tried it in the boat. One thing I remember from the article is with a dual line you can tether one to the boat and if things get busy you can drop the handles and the kite will crash (leaving a major entanglement hazard). With a single line kite can be run hands free with a cleat on the foredeck, however if things turn to foofoo it’s going to take awhile to get the kite under control.

Good Luck Randy

kite power
As long as one is running before the winde, any kind of a sail rig or kite will do the job, but it must be rigged so that you can spill it or douse it in the water FAST, if the wind shifts.

Take it from an old veteran of sailing center boarders and small keel boats in San Francisco Bay, things can happend awfully fast when the wind suddenly gusts or shifts, and the higher the kite’s center of effort, the more vulnerable it is to this problem. Keep in mind that friction with the water surface slows down wind.

It can pick up quite a few knots 15 or 20 feet higher up.

You can compensate for this somewhat by running a few points “off the wind”, or by slipping wind from your kite or sail, but you are going to have to have a double control line kite to do this.and in in any kind of a breeze you are going to also have to have some kind of skeg, keel or lee board(s) to keep the boat from making “leeway”. Sailing canoes, which are very fast, are routinely equipped with the latter.

Also unless you want to run the risk of swamping should the wind pickup, you’d better be prepared to use an of outrigger, at least on the leeward side, to keep the boat steadied, particularly in view of a kayak’s relatively narrow beam and confined cockpit, which precludes any practical possibility of shifting your weight (“hiking out”) onto the windward gunwale.

Have fun, and if you want to push the envelope, wear a good life jacket and mebbe even a wet suit! Better safe than sorry.