Kayaking Technique Forum

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Going nowhere slowly

Here are a couple of links that can give you some ideas.

http://www.vision.net.au/~jennings/sail/sail.html

http://watertribe.com/Magazine/August2000/August00Welker.asp

You seem to want a downwind sail rig. With your concern for taking down the sail in higher winds, why not just get your self a parasail... a kite? They are good for running downwind up to a max of about 15 or 20 knots. They are easy as can be to ditch... just let go.

But... why not go for the full joy of sailing and put up a battened reefable sail with outriggers and leeboard? If the wind picks up you simply reef the sail (preferably to one of several available reefing points). If it is really bad you can fully reef the sail and paddle to safe harbor.

Sailing is a skill sport. The notion of taking down the mast when the wind picks up seems a little crazy to me. If the conditions are bad enough to reef sail, then they are really bad for using both hands to take down a mast and fasten it to the deck and get your lines in order... and balance your boat in the increasing waves.

I think the case you descibe is one calling for sailing technique versus changing equipment (taking doown the mast) in mid stream so to speak.

Anyway... that's my take on it. I don't use sails on my kayaks because I don't want the hassle of it all. Sailing has been described as "an expensive way to go nowhere slowly." As a coastal kayaker, I go nowhere slowly enough. Indeed, I go much slower that the sailing kayaks do... and that suits me just fine. Heck if I wanted more speed I would just get a powerboat or PWC.

But sailing is fun so go for it... just do it safely... that usually means get training and good equipment.

Safe Paddling!
Brianne