Kayak Sailing--Is it worth it?

Yes did that but it only did 1mph. Group paddled faster. Can’t have that.

Just came across this older thread. I’m hooked on sailing my kayak. I can sail to 65º of the wind. I’ve just installed thigh straps and I’m hoping I can sail closer to the wind this coming summer. Here’s a video from 2020:

You can see me struggling to keep the boat flat. I’m sure the thigh straps will help with that.

Nice. How many square feet is the sail? Ever thought of getting a Laser or Sunfish?

The main is 15 square feet and the jib is 4.3 square feet. I’ve had 5 sailboats of various size, starting with a sunfish, and for various reasons I’ve given them up. This is by far the easiest boat I’ve had to transport and launch.

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Sailing is a great sport and I have enjoyed it in several different boats. I had a Columbia 23 at Lake Tahoe for many years. We used to sail my uncle’s 35 foot ketch in the San Juan Islands of WA.

For canoe sailing I have used a flannel bed sheet held between 2 canoes. With a tail wind it works amazingly well. For reaching, lee boards are required. It is very easy to capsize a kayak or canoe with a sail unless you are running before the wind.

When I was a kid my friends and I would use hefty bags for downwind bike runs. I’ve also done it recently in a kayak. It’s not so eloquent but cheap fun and not difficult to source.

I also have a paddle sail which is basically a round saucer shaped sail that is only good for downwind. I take that one with me when I’m in my smaller kayak which doesn’t have attachment points for the kayaksailor. It’s nice to have the option to pull it out when the wind is going in my direction.

Group on FB for kayak sails look there. Videos and info. Probably try it myself this year. Guess I’ll talk with Marshall at river connection.com I want more than downwind if I do it.

If anyone is interested there is a brand new kayak sail that’s listed on the classified section under used kayaks.

PD52 you’re going to need leeboards if you want to make way at more than 40 degrees upwind. That’s where the benefit of the SeaDog Commander sail fades. I’m still more kayaker than sailor so I’ll let those that use a rig like kayaksailor rig chime in on effectiveness.

See you on the water,
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PD52 - Thanks for the heads-up on The Facebook group.

Marshall - Looking to make way at better than 40º seems really optimistic even on many cruising sailboats. I’d be thrilled to make 60º on my kayak. There have been a few times I thought I was at 60º but then I reconsidered and figured it was more wishful thinking than actual progress.

Why did you step away from the previous 5 sailboats?
I’ve been looking into getting one; is it too much headache?

Mountainpaddler: I miss my sailboat and highly recommend them!
There were a number of reasons I gave up mine. I used to be at marinas where the boat would be kept in a slip. Then I moved to another state and my only financially reasonable choice was to be on a mooring. That was fine except the whole socializing dynamic changed. Whereas it used to take me 1/2 an hour or more to get to my boat because I was able to talk to everyone as I walked the dock, now I only got to talk with folks on the launch. Working on the boat also became a headache since everything was done out on the water. A forgotten item took 45 minutes to retrieve since I had to hail the launch, wait for a ride, get my item and then get back. That’s not mentioning the tools that fell overboard and now live on the bottom. Then there is the fact that a sailboat is definitely more expensive. I can lavish my kayak with all kinds of upgrades for the money I wouldn’t have thought twice about on my sailboat. You’ve heard of the Boat Buck; = $100. or BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand. Both true.
If you have the chance to own a sailboat, do it. There is nothing like traveling to new places and the self sufficiency you feel doing so. And you are always learning new things/having new experiences.

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Lee boards are required for anything but running before the wind.
Canoes and kayaks generally do not “point well” at all. They can reach at a 90 degree angle to the wind. Trying to beat one into the wind is a losing proposition. Forty degrees off is a fantasy. Many sailboats do not beat that well.

The leeboards on the kayaksailor work pretty well. This surprised me since their surface area seems relatively small.

Mountainpaddler: I have sailed perhaps 20,000 miles in boats from 8’ to 80’, and I think sails are not well suited to kayaks. When the winds are light, prudent-sized sails will not propel you much. When the winds exceed 10 knots (12 miles an hour), things become unstable and you can easily be capsized even when heading directly down wind. In addition, when not sailing, the rig adds a pile of stuff on your foredeck, sometimes extending to one side of your cockpit. Sure, you can find posted videos of kayaks sailing along without incident, but kayakers tend not to publicize their failures.
Sailing can be a wonderful delight but it is best done in sailboats. A good starter boat is an used Laser, which comes with either the full, Radial, of 4.7 rigs, suited for different body weights and wind conditions.

I know a few people that are serious kayak sailors. They pretty much all use outriggers and sail rigs that are similar to a conventional sailboat. In decent conditions they can maintain speeds much faster than I can paddle. I don’t know what maximum wind speeds they would consider as limiting, but I would suspect that sea conditions may be the more limiting factor in open water in many cases. As with all sailcraft, good sail handling practices are critical in higher winds.