Kayak & sailing

Hello: Has anyone had experience towing kayak behing a sailboat. Typically, I just lash mine down but if I have company along I thought about towing. I have a 36’ sailboat.

P,S… also, I am open to “shared cost” adventures using my “go anywhere” sailboat as a mothership. Will take just 2 plus myself.


yes, and…
…unless you have no other alternative, it’s a strain on the mind and nerves, and not worth the bother. An empty kayak will bob and weave about in the water, even if being towed after a boat only going 6 to 8 knots, the result being that you’re constantly checking back to make sure that it’s riding well and hasn’t completely dumped itself. While you’re doing this, you run the risk of your cockpit rim cover coming off and the 'yak filling with water, which will either 1. damage the yak (did a repair not long ago for a woman whose bulkheads were blown out after a friendly tow into shore filled her boat with water and did the damage), or at the very least 2. slow your sailboat down (and anyone who sails knows what that does to a captain’s mood; ok, maybe it’s only me…:wink:

Find a way to lash the kayak along the stanchions and call it done, imho.

Towing a kayak
My family has a 23 foot sailboat that we take to the 1000 Islands between NY and Ontario every summer.

Two summers ago was the first time I brought my kayak along. Strapping a kayak down on your boat when it’s as short as ours just doesn’t really work that well, so we did tow it.

We had to experiment with different lengths of line and different tie down locations. A short lead and the kayak will catch up with you and crash into your stern whenever the sailboat’s speed changes (especially downwind).

A long lead and the kayak will still zip to starboard, then run out of line and reverse to port… like a waterskiier who is able to almost catch the boat towing him. Very disconcerting.

In the end, the best way to tow was one in which you tied the kayak with one end (the bow worked well) out of the water, either resting on the sailboat, or on a short line (your boat is probably higher than ours).

This kept it from having its own freedom of motion and basically made sure the kayak moved at the same speed as the sailboat.

When we had 2 kayaks and 4 people on board last summer we put 1 kayak on each side and us kayakers would bail out and paddle until after the sailboat was docked.

I’d recommend a cockpit cover when towing. And definitely keep an eye on your boat until you figure out the most reliable method… but that’s true with any dinghy.

(on a side note, it might not hurt to register your kayak. my grandparents lost their blow-up dinghy on a sail from the bahamas to florida and it was recovered and mailed to them by the coast guard because they traced the registration stickers)

As for your note about being a mothership… that’s a very fun way to travel and kayak. And if you can find somewhere to let people camp out it’s possible to take a more people along! I really enjoyed last years kayak camping trip with the sailboat… we didn’t have to pack as much since all our gear and food was on the mothership.