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kayak sail on lake

Homemade Kayak Sail (DIY)

Updated On March 11, 2021

There are pre-built kayak sails from most manufacturers, but we assure you that building your own isn’t that complicated plus you get the bonus satisfaction of making it your own while saving a couple of bucks.

The idea is that you need a mast and of course a sail. These components aren’t the complicated ones. How to set them up and make them function is what’s tricky. There are a few ways you can make a kayak sail. Today we will take a look at what we think is the easiest way, but still, you need to carefully follow the instructions to get the best possible results. Let’s take a look at how to make a homemade kayak sail. If you’re looking to buy a kayak sail outright you cant find a guide to the best kayak sail here.

The Base

Now, let’s discuss the base. Every kayak has a different layout. Some of the kayaks tend to have housing for a sail, but this is not the case for many. If your kayak has a place for a kayak sail, you can skip to the next section, if not you need to find a place for the base of the mast.

If the kayak you own has an air compartment at the front the best way to set up your base is with clips. The first thing you want to do is measure out the depth of the compartment and get yourself a piece of PVC pipe of that size and make sure that it’s wide enough to house the PVC pipe from the mast. Now you need to attach an equal cross on the base right above the opening of the compartment. Connect a short pipe to the front of the equal cross. You need to have something that looks like a cross with the vertical housing at the end. Now attach the clips at the ends of the pipes facing outwards. Make sure they are securely attached to the PVC. All there’s left to do is to place the base inside the compartment and tighten the clips on the kayak. (1)

You can find other guides and builds for a homemade kayak sail that requires drilling, but if you are not comfortable with drilling, or you can’t get your hands on those expensive tools, we recommend trying out other methods.

The Mast

As we previously said, you need to make sure the mast can fit into the base. Once you pick out the right PVC pipe, you need to settle on length. Keep in mind the bigger the mast the bigger the sail. We recommend between 6 to 8 feet, but if you need something bigger, make sure the pipe can withstand more pressure. After you place the mast into the base and it fits snuggly, drill through both pipes and make sure the hole is big enough to fit a screw. This step is to secure the mast from not falling off while you enjoy sailing on your kayak.

The next thing you need to do is get a PVC tee for your boom. Set it on the mast and secure it on a height that feels comfortable for you. To secure the tee, you can place PVC joints between the tee, or you can simply drill through it and secure it with a bolt and a screw. Pick out another PVC pipe that will be the boom on the kayak and drill a small hole at the beginning of the boom. The length of the pipe can be as long as you want it, but it’s preferable the boom comes out to the seat on your kayak. If the boom comes all the way to the corner of the kayak, it might be difficult to paddle while the sail is up.

a Homemade Kayak Sail

To further secure the kayak sail, place a PVC cap on the top of the mast and screw three screw-in hooks, one facing the front and the other facing the back. Get two ropes and attached them from the top to the front and back handles of your kayak. Leave the other hook unattended for now. All there’s left to do is attach the sail and you’re ready to begin your kayak sailing adventures!

The Sail

If you made it this far, let us assure you this is the easiest part of the build. The sail is the most expensive part if you decide to buy a pre-build kayak sail, but it’s where the DIY kayak sails save you the most. Most of the DIY kayak sail guides online use a shower curtain as a sail. With just a little bit of sewing, believe it or not, you can end up with a pretty decent kayak sail if not the best sailing kayak you could ever make by yourself.

Measure out the pipes of the frame and lay them on a flat surface, lay the “sail” on the ground and draw a line from the top of the mast to the end of the boom. Now draw a parallel line 5-7 inches below the boom. You should end up with a right triangle-shaped sail. After you have cut your sail, fold the excess part below the boom, and sew it. To better understand, imagine like making a pocket for the boom. On the side of the mast, sew in plastic rings 3-4 inches apart. And now that’s left to do is touch up a few things, and your homemade kayak sail is finished.

a Homemade Kayak Sail


To finish up your homemade kayak sail, take a rope that’s long enough to go the boom and the mast and back. Run the rope through the boom and exit on the hole you previously made to the top of the mast and back down to the base. Place the boom through the pocket you’ve made on the sail and wrap it around, leaving the edge of the sail facing upwards. Attach a carabiner on the end of the rope and hook the top of your sail. Place shower curtain rings on the sail, and when you have everything ready pull the rope to bring up the sail.


As you can see, making a kayak sail isn’t that difficult. We’ve shown you the simplest way to make one, but we encourage you to try your own things to get better results. With the materials we’ve used, we assure you making the kayak sail is really worth it. The perfect kayak sail is yet to be built!

For some more info on kayak sail plans check out this article.


(1) PVC pipe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbQ1vN1vNJQ

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