PA Kayak Sails: does size really matter?

I’m planning on buying a Pacific Action Sail for one of my kayaks. As I have no previous experience sailing, I was wondering what the size differences were for: amount of wind, stability of the kayak, maybe? I’m going to put it on a Necky Narpa touring kayak, 16’ long w/ a rudder and will be using it on the NC coast and around the mouth of the Neuse River. What size is best for me? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


I think I have the larger size
I don’t think I’d want anything bigger. I’ve had mine going at a good clip several times and it’s a blast. Here’s mine…

Those photo’s were taken a few years agp, and I’ve made some changes in my rigging that I don’t have photo’s of yet. Mini cell base for the sail, fixed clam cleats, and will soon change the sheet lines to slighter thicker ones.


I’d start with the smaller size
The small size can be used in just about any winds you would feel comfortable kayaking in. If I wanted a larger size I’d upgrade to the balog rig and get a lee board and outriggers too.

Smaller size
I use one from time to time on an 18’ Impex Force 4. Works great! For beam winds the sail does not torque the hull particularly much but it does require using you hip flexors to keep an even keel so the larger size would be more work in beam winds.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

remember one thing
It’s kinda like starting paddling in a river and letting the current carry you down stream first. You have to get back to where you started.

Similiar with a down wind sail, it won’t sail upwind and you’ll have to paddle back against the wind, so use care on how far you sail. Might be better paddling upwind first then sailing back.

Or…get a sailing rig that allows sailing upwind.

Bill H.

expereince with two sizes…

– Last Updated: Jan-26-10 12:12 PM EST –

I own and have used both the 1.5sq meter, and 2.2 square meter PA sails. I started out cautiously with the 1.5 sq meter, but after a few months (based on fairly light wind conditions) I thought it would be better to step up and try a 2.2sq meter PA sail.

For the record, I've used as much as a 45sq ft. lateen mounted on a kayak (with outriggers), so what may seem tame to me might seem lively to another. I also used a modified version of the mounting for the PA sail (featuring fixed cam cleats, like KIWIBIRD):

For my part, I think the 2.2 sq meter sail was a better choice for me (my wife now uses the 1.5sq meter exclusively). I typically use the 2.2sq meter sail on my WS TSUNAMI 135 kayak, but sometimes swap it over to my PAMLICO 145Tandem. To be frank the 1.5sq meter sail was just not enuff on the tandem.

The biggest factor in choosing the size of sail to use will be the kayak hull it's self. The WS TSUNAMI 135 is incredibly stable (I can stand up in it), I'm not sure I'd want the 2.2sq meter PA sail on a less stable boat. I've used the 2.2 sq meter sail in storm winds with 35mph gusts... It's quite a chore to wrangle in high winds, and you have to keep very aware and watch out for puffs. The design does flex somewhat and help to spill some of the really strong winds. That being said, I prefer to sail, and it's great fun with the wind from behind.

I'd rule out the 1sq meter as being ineffective, and say the the 1.5sq meter is likely suitable for most.

Remember, the PA sail is an all or nothing design, there is no effective way to reduce the sail are while underway (short of stowing it).

A pic of my sails in calm use (note no paddling):