Kayak Sailing

As spring finally creeps into a snowy Alberta, I cannot wait to get out on the water and sail my Feathercraft K1 with it’s Balogh Sail Designs Sport 32 sailing rig !

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That is quite a rig. Took me a minute to figure out the yellow thing in the air.

Is it hard to get the proper trim on the sail with it behind you? In my old age, I would have difficulty turning far enough to see how close to luff the sail is.

With such a small kayak [the K1 is only 16 1/2 feet] I wind up sailing more by “feel” and the sound of the hull on the water anyway… I use my rudder pedals to point the bow where I need it, then I simply haul in or loosen off the sheet until I get the best speed on the GPS [mounted on top of my deck bag]… I rarely twist around to actually look at the sail !

Yeah, the ama for my Balogh Sail Designs rig is [in my opinion] the finest setup out there ! My friend has the Feathercraft sail rig, and the ama’s on that routinely spin around and point backwards ! When I installed my BSD rig, I applied the suggested upward angle of attack on the aka’s, so the ama [almost !] never submarines under the water !

That works for me. I haven’t done any real sailing in years, With my “Wind Paddle” round sail, my paddle as a lee board, and my rudder, I work very hard to tack as much as 10° Windward.

Oh… the BSD rig works so well, with it’s long leeboard, and I have a custom-made sailing rudder; so I can sail upwind, within 40 degrees into the wind !

That is a sweet looking rig. Not to put too fine a pine on it, but can you rig the sail in front of you? I used to sail and you need to dial in the sail trimm [by looking at it].

Well, no. Installing a Balogh Sail Designs rig is a VERY time consuming and very intricate process ! I had an older Feathercraft K1 and installed this same sail rig on it, with the mast 1 foot in front of the cockpit coaming. It sailed very well, but you simply could NOT paddle it at all. When kayak sailing you need to be able to paddle occasionally, launching and recovering to shore, when you wind up “in irons” and have to turn the boat side-on to the wind, etc… A front-mounted mast prevented ANY paddling. I find the rear mounted mast far better !

How fast have you gotten either boat going? I have a sail rig from an Aquaglide thingy. Eventually I’m going rig it up to my Whisper kayak. It’s not going to look or probably work cool like yours. But hey who hasn’t wanted to sail while out paddling.

About the fastest was 10 km/hr. I know it can go faster, but the winds that do that are pretty intimidating. And sailing is the opposite of straight kayaking. When I would kayak, I always wanted nice calm days which gave SMOOTH water… But for sailing, I want the wind, and that always gives WAVES !

There’s the rub. That’s plenty fast though. It’s difficult to imagine going that fast in a kayak.

It IS pretty intense ! I have found (at least with my current K1) that at around 7 km/hr the hull makes a low “thrumming” sound, and at 10 km/hr, the hull water-rushing noise and cavitation behind me at the rudder and especially the water sound created by the ama’s become very loud !

It’s definitely a well designed boat. And solid for a frame on skin one. I was thinking that the only time I’ve gotten up to speed is surfing a wave. And then my tourer wants to round up in to it like a lot of boats, no rudder though. I’ve read about F. Romer’s and Dr Lindeman’s transatlantic crossings in Kleppers (it’s said Romer’s is more of a sailing canoe) and the flex of the boats is probably what saved them when the going got ruff.