Sailing Kayak Guide
From the past month, kayak sails have been becoming more and more popular because of their convenience and low prices. Kayak Sailing is my favorite sport and hobby, and I want to show and teach, how you can get into it today. From the advantages of a kayak sail, to how to pick the perfect kayak sail. This guide will focus on choosing a kayak sail rather than buying a kayak that already comes with one since its more common to get one sold separately.
Perks of owning a Kayak Sail
There are many perks of owning a kayak sail. It is cheap, portable, and convenience, they have been getting extremely popular over the course of the past few years for good reason.
For most kayak sails, all you have to do is either tie it over your kayak or position it in the middle of it. They are very useful for long trips, fishing and for convenience. The inspiration for kayak sailing came from New Zealand and Australia before it came to North America and has continued to flourish since.
Best Sailing Kayak Report Card 2017
How do I choose a Kayak Sail?
There are lots of small differences between all of the kayak sails and considerations to take in when choosing one.
The main difference between all of the different sails are the design. There are lots of different types. There are the traditional sails, and the newer types. The wind-paddle sails are more of a circle shape. The Hobie sails, are more like the triangular traditional sails. The difference with the Sea Eagle sails, is that you can only use them on a limited number of boats. The Sea Eagle uses more of a synthetic material, which is why the QuikSail by Sea Eagle is one of the better quality and more durable sails. Some kayak sails work with specific boats. For example, the Sea Eagle Quiksail would not work with the Sun Dolphin Aruba. Some sails only work for sit-on kayaks, and some only work for sit-in kayaks.
Main Types of sail we know of are
- Vshape Sails
These sails are downwind sails and the main dissadvantage here is that if a large gust of wind comes you will tip over pretty quickly and the fact that you can no sail upwind with these you can only go in the dirrection the wind goes.
- Circle Shape Sails
Most the models here are also upwind sails that can only go in one dirrection and cannot be adjusted. They come with a visor to see through the center of the sail and help you manuever. These are mostly meant for beginners.
- Tall L Shape Sails
Some of the best sails come in this design and they can be pivorted to switch directions and adjusted to take advantage of the wind wherever it may be coming from. These can also be some of the most expense sails and the most saught after.
Another consideration is the material. Depending on the company and sail the most common materials are cloth and plastic. The main difference, is that cloth is heavier but lasts longer than plastic, although the plastic sails stay efficient for longer.
To Learn more about materials scroll down to our materials section with more info.
3. Experience Level
Another way to choose the right sail is to decide how experienced you are with kayaking. If you are looking for an easier sail to setup and navigate, the Windpaddle might be the right sail for you. This is because, of its circular mast shape which makes it easier to control. However if you are more experienced and want something a little more heavy duty the hobie sail may be for you. Some sails are easier to setup for beginners in order of difficulty of experience level we would say the following from easiest in regards to setup and control to hardest:
- Windpaddle, Sea Eagle, Falcon Sails, Hobie
What are the advantages of owning a kayak sail?
- Speed: Kayak Sailing is an innovative sport. It is sailing and kayaking combined, so whether you like to sail or kayak, you get a combination of the two here. By combining these two sports you get an extra boost from one to the other. Though paddling can create an increase in speed the addition of a sail harnesses the power of the wind to add an extra few kilometers an hour to your speed.
- Exertion: The addition of a kayak sail takes away the reliance on the paddlers arms and instead puts it on a renewable energy source which is the wind! This allows you to focus more on the other things like fishing or navigating rather then worrying about exhausting yourself
- Fun: Why get a sail on your kayak? Because it’s a blast! The feeling of sailing with your kayak is great. You can pull up your sail, in a matter of seconds whenever the wind comes. When I first got my kayak sail, I had no idea how to use it but after a few hours of sailing with it, it was a piece of cake and something to this day i cant live without.
- Convenience: An advantage of kayak sailing is that it also has some convenience considerations. For example; if you’re tired, you can sit back and let the wind take you, and feel the breeze while relaxing on your kayak. One of my favorite things to do while Kayak Sailing.
- Fishing: One of the main reasons I first got into kayak sailing, was because of the fishing advantages. It is extremely good for trolling, and getting you to and from your fishing area. For those less experienced that know what trolling is, this is the art of leaving your fishing line out and slowly moving across bodies of water waiting for a fish to bite.
Top Kayak Sail Brands
Hobie, was one of the first kayak sailing companies and has great quality sails. Very durable, and easy to setup. It has great customer service, and they sell the sails in major retail stores and online. The Hobie sails are made from clear plastic materials, which is why the Hobie sails tend to be lighter than some of their competitors.
The sails are not customizable, but boast a great efficient design and are very easy to set up with any kayak. Wind-paddle has great customer service. Its simple to pull up and fold. The wind-paddle sails, have a very unique design and are very different from the other kayak sails. It is a circular shape, and is put in front of the kayaker with a transparent plastic material in the middle so the kayaker can see.
Sea Eagle sails have great quality sails but only work with specific kayaks because they have a different way of attaching to the kayak. The Sea Eagle, has one of the best quality sails because of its composite design, and it is mainly made of synthetic plastic. This is better than having a cloth sail, because it is lighter and more efficient.
Faction Sails is a great sail company, with amazing customer service. If you email the owner of the company he will instantly respond. Falcon Sails, use a carbon fiber material for their masts which is one of the better materials for a kayak. One of the main perks of choosing Falcon Sails, is its coolest online feature. The option to customize the mast; you can choose the colors of everything on the mast, you can choose how the lines go and what the logo looks like. This is the main reason I love Falcon Sails.
There are some other players in the kayak sail field and these are more customized. Some of these offering from serenity and complete were really impressive they come off as more advanced brands that create large oversized sails for professionals or kayakers looking for the best in quality materials. If you are willing to dish out the higher prices we would definately recommend checking these alternatives out. Especially our favorite the complete giant start, supernova and the serenity upwind
Kayak Sail Materials
- Synthetic Plastic and Cloth: It’s always good to know the materials of the products that you are buying. The newer kayak sails, are generally made of synthetic plastic, it may not last as long as the cloth but it does keep efficiency for longer duration. Another traditional type of sail, is cloth. It definitely lasts longer, but as I said loses efficiency quicker. It is also significantly heavier, especially when wet.
- Visor Material: Because the Wind-paddle Sails are directly in front of where the kayaker sits, they put a plastic transparent material in the middle of the sail so the kayaker can see.
- Carbon Fiber: Falcon Sails, use carbon fiber for their masts which are one of the better materials. Falcon Sails make really high quality and super durable masts, which is why it was a good idea for them to make it an option to customize the colors of the kayak sail.
Kayak Sailing Tips
Kayak Sailing is fairly a new concept, and even though it is a very simple sport to get a hang of, it is important to be aware of safety procedures and safety tips to have the best Kayak Sailing experience.
Make sure you know the area that you will be kayaking in, to make sure you will not get into any hazards or incidents while Sailing your Kayak. Also understand there are boats and swimmers, so you know where those are and how to avoid them.
Make sure the weather is good for sailing
It is important to check the weather before you go on a day of sailing, because heavy rain and lightning, or extreme wind might pop up. This is a major tip for safety.
Do you have the right Sail?
There are many variety of kayaks, and different sails. Some are meant for fishing, but some are meant for heavy winds and rapids. This is important that you pick the perfect sail for you, to maintain safety.
Kayak Sailing is not a sport to be taken lightly it brings dangers and hazards that could be threatening. Make sure to be prepared with all necessary equipment on your kayak, by wearing the necessary equipment such as a helmet and a life jacket. You can save yourself from harms way if an incident or collision ever occurs.
Keep your kayak clean!
To keep your Kayak and Sail looking good on the waters and more efficient and durable for longer make sure when you are done for the day clean your kayak and if you have been using it on the ocean to get any salt off that may degrade materials.
Know who is boating around you!
It is important to know who is kayaking, sailing or boating around you. This can stop many incidents and avoid collisions that could really harm you.
Make sure to bring some food and water
Even if you are planning just to be on the water for a couple hours, as a precaution keep a supply of food and water on your kayak in case anything goes wrong or you choose to stay longer. This is a very important safety precaution.
Know your own equipment!
This seems obvious but is important. Make sure you know how to use and coordinate the kayak sail, and understand how durable and what kind of things the Kayak Sail can handle.
Do It Yourself Kayak Sail
Creating your own kayak sail could be an option if you don’t want to shell out the money for a prebuilt one. However in all honesty some of the premade options are cheap and could save you a lot of hastle however we know theirs always those doityourselfers out there.
The Basic elements of creating a kayak sail are listed below
- Create and draw out a plan with dimensions and what materials you will need
- Cut the tarp to your specifications (for this you need to choose a solid tarp material there are many options out there but a heavier duty plastic would probably be your best bet.
- Cut piping (usually pvp piping is the best) creating a triangle shape for your mast, the mast must be secure and hold your sail.
- Cut Rope and attach with hooks to your piping making sure to make the sail mobile so it has some give at the bottom of the pvc piping
- Create wood block with dimensions for the bottom cutouts and a mount for the bottom of the kayak (more detailed instructions can be found in the video linked to and the attached documents.
Resource: 1. Video One (creating a Simple Sail for a canoe kayak for little over $20)
Resource: 2. Video Two Do it yourself kayak sail, rotatable kayak sail.
Kayak Sailing is an innovative sport. It is a very new and simple concept, and is extremely enjoyable, and this is why it is my favorite hobby and activity. It is an add on to kayaking, and after adding the sail it still keeps its simplicity but offers a new dimension to kayaking.
After reading all of this, you should be ready to purchase your first Kayak Sail and get on the waters. Kayak Sails, are really beneficial because of their price which easily fits in most people’s budgets. Before you buy a sail, first think what kinds of things you will be doing with it, because certain sails are meant for certain things. Also keep in consideration that some sails only work with specific kayaks.
Make sure you read through this whole guide, because every single piece of information is important. From how to pick the right kayak sail to how to maintain your safety with one. I hope you learned a lot about kayak sailing and I guarantee Kayak Sailing will be your favorite hobby after you pick it up. Thank you for reading the guide, and happy sailing!