Skip to content Skip to footer

Kayak Sails: An Easy Guide

When kayaking, paddling is fun until it is no longer fun. Sometimes, we wish someone or something else can paddle for us while we sit back like a king and perhaps enjoy the beautiful scenery around us. A kayak sail can make this dream come true.

Kayak sails especially come in handy during long or multi-day kayaking expeditions where you need to paddle for a long time. And since you are no Clark Kent, you’ll need to take breaks from paddling every now and then.

A kayak sail will be more effective in open waters where there’s a lot of breeze as you’ll be able to travel faster while using less energy through paddling.

Kayaking sails come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles with each design more suitable for particular kayak hulls or wind conditions. Read on to learn all there is to know about kayak sails, before getting one for your kayak.

Why and When to Use a Kayak Sail?

The main benefit of using a sail on your kayak is that it allows you to take a break from paddling while increasing your speed by utilizing the power of the wind.

The best time to use a sail is during long or multi-day kayaking trips as you’ll be able to take breaks from paddling. It’s even better if you are kayaking on open waters where there’s a lot of breeze or light winds that the sail can use.

Types of Kayak Sails

There are three main types of kayak sails – Circle-shaped sails, V-shaped sails, and L-shaped sails.

Circle-shaped sails are circular as the name suggests and are ideal for use by beginners as they are easy to use and control. They also come with windows that allow you to see where you are going. Ideally, you should use circle-shaped sails in downwind situations which allows the wind to push you along.

V-shaped sails have a V-like shape and are able to catch more wind due to their design. The heavy top design of V-shaped sails means they are not suitable for use on small vessels. Ideally, V-shaped sails are designed for kayakers with intermediate sailing experience even though they can be used by beginners.

L-shaped sails require the most sailing experience and should be used by expert kayak sailors. They are not limited to downwind use and can be used regardless of the wind’s direction.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Kayak Sails

The advantages of kayak sails are obvious – increased speed, break from paddling, hands-free, and a more enjoyable kayaking experience.

However, the overall stability of your vessel could be affected by using a sail, especially in strong winds. You can fix this by installing your sail in the proper position.

Safety Aspects of Kayak Sailing

Kayak sailing is all fun and interesting, but you should be aware of some of the risks that come with using a sail. The stability of your vessel could be affected when using a sail, especially in very strong winds.

This is why you should use a sail that’s within your skill level and make sure you are comfortable with the sail before heading out on the water. You should be very familiar with deploying and stowing away your sail before embarking on kayaking trips.

Be mindful of the weather and check weather predictions before heading out. Whether you are using a sail or paddling, you shouldn’t be on the water in a storm. Only go on kayaking trips when weather conditions are favorable.

How and Where to Mount Your Kayak Sail?

The foredeck of a kayak is generally considered the best place to mount a sail and that’s where you should mount your sail.

Most sails are designed to be used on almost any kayak and come with a universal deck mounting clip which can easily be attached or removed from the deck rigging of vessels.

How to Make a DIY Kayak Sail?

If you are a lover of DIY projects, you can consider making your own DIY kayak sail. I’ll be giving you the basic elements of making a DIY sail below:

  • You need to create and draw out a plan that will include the desired dimensions of the sail as well as the needed materials (tarp, oak wood, mast material, and rope).
  • The tarp of your sail should be of good quality. Heavy-duty plastic is ideal. Cut the tarp to your specifications.
  • Cut piping (among different piping options, PVC is regarded as the best) creating a triangle shape for your mast. Make sure the mast is strong and capable of supporting your sail.
  • You’ll need a rope to hold the free vertex of the sail after which you tie the rope efficiently. This is key to being able to sail comfortably.
  • You’ll need to create a wood block with dimensions for the bottom cutouts and a mount for the bottom of the kayak.

Final Thoughts

I bet you are now pumped up to buy a kayak sail or make one. And you should be pumped up since sails can take your kayaking experience to a whole new level. Remember to follow safety precautions, and you’ll have no problem cruising the waters.

Leave a Comment