Sail for Kayak

Does anyone have any experience with Kayak sails. I thought [if they work] it might be a interesting to try.

Thoughts, Opinions, recommendations???


It is fun…
I have a Pacific Action sail…

photo’s here…


oh here we go!!!

– Last Updated: Oct-21-08 2:23 PM EST –

I'm also a kayak sailor, who has used a plethora of different rigs (sail types/outriggers, etc.).

Like Andy, I'd also highly recommend the PACIFIC ACTION SAIL line. I think the PA sail design is best when installed in a modified fashion:

Both the above mentioned individuals clearly know what they're talking about, and I have managed to very much improve the handling of my sail by mounting/using them in this modified fashion.

The PA sails seem to perform well not only running before the wind, but with the wind abeam as well (use you paddle to rudder, or make the occasional corrective stroke). The PA sail is also one of the few sail designs that lends it's self to paddle/sailing in combination. Some of the other sail rigs available do NOT do this well (requiring the sail to be dropped to effectively paddle).

I just had two of my PA sails (one 1.5 sq meter, and one 2.2sq meter) out on Saturday at POINT LOOKOUT, MD with winds in excess of 25mph!!! Both sails handled fairly well considering the excessive gusting, but it was a wild and sketchy ride with the largest of the two. There are 3 sizes available, determining which is best can be daunting.

Kayak sailing, a great way to add some fun, and extend your range (winds allowing of course).

Here's a couple of pics, the first during a small craft advisory, and the second from a "nice" day:


This video says it all!

I love this vid, a good demonstration of the capabilities.

hey break rule?
where from?


eu sou Angoleiro…

– Last Updated: Oct-21-08 3:00 PM EST –

I'm from the Baltimore area. I ordered my sails off AMAZON.

Gor blimey Brasil, I love that boat shed you have on your photo site (I need one of those real bad)!!!! I'll take that lovely green TEMPEST 165 you show a pic of too while I'm at it. ;)


A different spin to Pacific Action
I kayak with a lot of folks with kayak sails.

On some trips we manage to sail most of the time.

Half of us have Pacific Action sails and the other half have lateen style designs.

The latter is commercially available but I believe that they have some fault.

And so do the PA ones.

They are not as efficient as the lateen designs and the surface of the sail is mostly high up creating more leverage for the the wind to tip your kayak.

After tinkering with my design I have finally something that works well.

I have seen several PA sails fail under loads of more then 10 knots of wind.

The lateen design sail plans are available at

Images of sailing with lateen sail are at


Join this groups to see all other options

How did the PA sails fail?
I see from your pics GNARLYDOG that you have been out and about. I do like your sail design as well.

Can you tell me how the PA sails have failed? I have used mine in 25mph + winds and they were solid as a rock. I’d likely be long rolled over before the sail hardware failed.

Perhaps this is due to the alternate mounting method, rather than mounting per the PA sail standard instructions?


the PA sails fail
at the masts.

The fibreglass masts have a hole drilled half way for the stays anchors. That is a weak spot.

I have seen some fail there and some others fail at the base of the mast/insertion of plastic knuckle.

The fibreglass tubes splinter and fail.

No pix unfortunately…

Primex/Deluge Kayak Sail
I’ve been using a Primex/Deluge Kayak Sail for a couple of seasons now and love it.

I’m not sure if they are still available, I bought it on e-bay from Lyon Expeditions (I think he was selling the last of his supply).

Here are some pictures from a trip last summer:

It’s a nice, simple design that mounts easily by clipping onto your deck bungees. It’s paddle controlled, so you can’t paddle while sailing, but it allows you to adjust quickly and “spill” wind fast (a nice feature in strong gusts).

It also made a nice rain shelter when t-storms rolled through during our trip (see pictures).

Give Windpaddle A Try!
Windpaddle just had a demo day on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon on Saturday and I came away enamoured with their adventure sail! It’s completely stable, deploys easily, and once you learn how to fold it up (it’s not instinctive) then it’s a piece of cake to bring down and stow, as well. It doesn’t require any hardware or alteration to the boat. It’s a clip on system. Unlike some of the other sails on the market you can’t move the sail from side to side so some may view that as a disadvantage, but you’ll certainly cruise well with the wind at your back.

I am not sure I would have bought one if I hadn’t tried it out first. Some products on videos, etc. look very easy to use, but then once you fork out the money and buy it yourself it’s a big hassle. Not so with the Windpaddle. It exceeded my expectations. Now when it’s a windy day I will probably look a little more forward to paddling because I’ll get to sail part of the way, at least, and it’s kind of fun.

I highly recommend trying the Windpaddle out if you get the chance. It’s a wonderful device and thanks to some birthday money and another small windfall I just became the owner of one. It’s really quite a cool deal.

Here’s a link to their website:

Best regards,


Amanda, you do realize
that the type of sail you like only allows you to sail downwind. You are probably able to use only 45 degrees of the 180 degrees that other kayak sails offer.

Despite being very simple (that is their main point) they are rather rudimental designs compared to other offerrings.

But, hey to each their own… :slight_smile:


The Windpaddle reminds me of my 1st sail
My old Golf Umbrella, haha!

Back in the summer of '05 I brought my umbrella because the forcast called for a couple of days of rain (turned out to be sunny every day!).

On the way back to the launch, we had a nice wind at our back, and my friend broke out with a home-made sail he constructed out of an old tent fly and poles. I thought to myself “I can sail too!”, and opened up a Beer and the umbrella!

I managed to get (somewhat of) a picture of it:

RE: Amanda, you do realize
Hey gnarlydog!

I do realize that Windpaddle is limited. You can’t really tack back and forth with it or anything, true enough. However, I’m more a paddler than a sailor so it’s more about getting a free ride in one direction for kicks than to gain actual sailing skills. As I said, some may view that as a disadvantage, but it will do exactly what I bought it for.

Folks who technically want to sail their kayak as if it were a sailboat will undoubtedly opt for something more versatile, complex, and expensive. To me the Windpaddle is a fun accessory that will cruise me faster coming back from up river and it will certainly make me enjoy windy conditions a lot more in the future. I have no doubt about that.

Best regards,


Not trying to bash the windpaddle

– Last Updated: Oct-31-08 6:23 PM EST –

but I found it restrictive on a couple of points. First of all, you need to attach the base near you so thht you can get to it to fold it back up. This puts you in a position your own body blocks some of the wind that could be utilized by the sail. 2nd, that sail is very close to the water level which reduces wind speed just from the resistance it feels. third, the sheets, due to the proximity of the sail, intefere with you being able to paddle it. fourth, the paddle itself is not stable or will not stay upright if there is insufficient wind causing you to have to address it immediately as the circular sail is now on your deck and then collecting water on the side unless you grab it right away.
it will be on ebay soon.


Maybe…I hope not
Well, I definitely have a crush on the Windpaddle for now, but I hope it’s a long-lasting love affair. I think I like that it’s low down and stable and pretty easy to manage. It could be in time that the rose colored glasses I have on concerning this product may go crashing down to the ground, but for now it’s a nice plaything. I’ll post more as I gain experience with it.

Best regards,


Sails to surfskis
Andy, Let’s see if we can add a sail to our surfskis - LOLOLOL - that should be a hoot!


Sailing kayaks for 20 years
I been sailing Balogh Sail Rigs for 20 years. It the only rig I would sail. BSD has everything you need to sail a kayak or canoe.