Most appropriate kayak sail

I have only found two of the ‘downwind’ type sails that appear appropriate for my NDK explorer HV. These two are the Spirit sail or Pacific Action Sail.

Actually both claim to be able to do a beam reach in my boat which only has a skeg to prevent lateral drift but I have never seen either of them nor have I been able to speak with anyone who has experience with either manufacturer. I would be happy with downwind or even a few degrees off the wind. So, if there are any who would care to expound upon first-hand expeience, I would be deeply appreciative of any advice you might give, prior to just flipping a coin and purchasing one or the other. Now, which size should I get?

I have the Spirit Sail
Check the review/article from about the Pacific Action Sail ( ).

There was also a review about the Spirit Sail on the same site but I can’t find it anymore. It’s probably in the archived articles but the page is not available today.

I use the Spirit Sail system with my skegged Nordkapp and it’s a lot of fun when I come across the ideal conditions (10 to 20 mph downwind). I wish I could find these “ideal” conditions more often but ……

I have the non-permanent mount with 4 suction cups, the system is reliable but bulky, I might end up installing the much smaller permanent mount on deck soon.

I have the small size sail and I do not recommend going bigger, removing the rig under wind action is already shaky, the bigger size could be better with a wider boat equipped with a rudder or a double.

Pacific Action Here
Have used the PA 1 sq meter sail for the past few years on various SOT and SINK boats.

Could coax a slight tack out of my Prijon Kodiak if the planets were in proper alignment. A beam reach was never a problem.

Also are very easy to set and stowe, even in strong winds.


Pacific Action
Can do a beam reach, but nowhere near what a vertical mast and sail would do. In anything higher than 20 mph winds it gets really scary in my long skinny boat with just a skeg.


PA on Explorer
I own a Pacific Action sail and used it for a couple of years on my skegless Explorer and these are a few of my observations.

When sailing exactly downwind you need to angle the sail a bit to set it to one side, otherwise it will tend to rock back and forward as it sets one side then the other. This becomes worse in choppier conditions.

As to sailing 90 degrees to the wind by this stage you are either going so slow as to be impractical or side slipping so that although you are pointing 90 degrees your actual path is less than 90. I find around 60 degrees to be the limit for practical use and the optimum angle seems to be around 30 degrees.

As the sail is located close to the end of the kayak the pitching of the kayak in large chop causes rapid changes in the amount and direction of force on the sail. I don’t have it up if the seas are more than about 1.5m or if the seas are very confused or there is a lot of clapotis.

Swell does not pose as much of a problem due to it’s longer period. The main problem I’ve had with swell is the tendency to accelerate while on top of the wave and outrun it. You then hit the back of the next wave which kills your speed, plus you are now in the wind shadow of the wave you started on. This wave then outruns you and if you are not careful you repeat the process on the next wave. If you have a tail wind at 90 degrees to the swell it’s great fun and my favorite sailing conditions.

If you get the Pacific Action sail be aware that the self tappers that are used to hold the masts at the correct angle to the base seem to come loose or wear (can’t work out exactly what happens ) and need to be removed and the mast angles reset occasionally.

I find the biggest advantage of these sails is the way they can be taken down in seconds when conditions require it. They can also be taken down when your kayak is lying on it’s side after being blown over with the wind preventing you from rolling up into it and the sail preventing you from rolling under.


Most appropriate?
I find no matter which direction I go, I am always paddling against the wind. Go figure. Therefore, I am getting the upwind sail.

Delta swivel rig…
this sail is capable of upwind sailing without dagger or lee boards…

How do I know? I built my own…

I used a Hawaiian version to fashion my rig after, the principals are the same…

I met a guy on Isle Royale who had a golf umbrella strapped to his foredeck that he claimed was very effective for short downwind sailing excursions. I think he was paddling a Solstice GT.