I’ve used a couple different set ups for my kayak sail sheet pulleys. First off, the term is a bit misleading as I don’t actually have a ‘pulley’ in any of the installs! On a couple installs the sheet line passes thru a plastic pad-eye on the deck and on the other install the ‘pulley’ is actually a SS thimble knotted. I don’t see any added advantage of having an actual pulley ! Thus far my systems have been adequate.
However the thimble approach is a bit clunky in my mind. Maybe it’s because I’ve used a knot instead of splicing the thimble eye nicely into the line.. or maybe it’s just too.. Clunky!??
Anyhoo, some while back whilst surfing boatchandlers websites I noticed a very inneresting product. Something made by Antal, a lowfriction ring. Whats more, they have a product called a soft link, which at least looked aesthetically nicer than my self made unspliced thimbles!!!
“Must have” me thinks! That is, until I saw the price! The soft link with the smallest sized (7mm)low friction ring was slightly over 31€ + postage !! Ofcourse Finland is known for generally overpriced everything when it comes to yachting products.. but 31€ is just ridiculous!!
OK.. so time passes by and every time I see the clunky thimble on the deck in front of me, it annoys me ever so slightly.. which with time just gets worse. So then I get to thinking that mayhaps, I’ll buy one of those darn low-friction rings and a bit of 4mm dyneema line and make the rest meself! The ring itself costs 11€ which in my mind still IS highway robbery.. but fortunately I’ll need just the one for now (Imagine the poor yachtie who’ll need 10, 20 or more.. oh wait.. there is no such thing as a POOR yachtie… Haahaa!)
I did contemplate trying to fabricate a ring myself out of several materials.. aluminium coated with epoxy+graphite powder, or laminate something with CarbonFiber+Graphite powder etc etc etc.. And in the end the highway robbery of 11€ seemed quite decent! After all , I’ll just need the one! 🙂
So finally when the mail arrived (well, actually I had to pick the mail from the store 2 km’s from home.. but that’s Finland for ya, and another story) I was a happy and eager new owner of some 4mm dyneema line, a D-Splicer F15 .. splicer thingy, a couple Antal 7mm lowfriction rings. Add to the mix some semi sharpish scissors, splicing yarn , needle, some odds and ends. Finally armed with knowledge gleaned from a confusing dutch language instructional online videos: here, I was ready for the real deal.
First attempt, I cut the total length 35 cm.. which was way too short! Repeat after me.. 35 cm is TOO SHORT!..
Second time around.. I cut the initial dyneema line to a length of 45 cm, which at first seemed 5 cm too long but now that the first self made softlink is at hand.. it maybe just right?
How well will this work? Dunno. A couple questions that will be answered in due time:
Is the polyester line for splicing was proper?
Is is spliced properly?
Is two loops around deck line enough to keep the softlink from sliding and following the sail, left and right across the deck? It might need the three as in a proper Prusik knot…
Time will tell. Needs to be tested in use and go from there.. well hopefully sail from there!
Making a modern dyneema spliced loop was surprisingly easy and quick work with the proper tools! Making the closed loop, on second attempt took less than 10 minutes! Doing the splicing with string took about the same. Overall time was probably approx 30 minutes. I kinda liked it.
If working with Dyneema , good sharp scissors preferably ones meant for the job is a must. Making one or two soft links will go wit a sharpish household scissors.. sort of. but it will nut “cut it” in the long run! 😉
Atleast this version looks nicer than the previous version! 😉
The time had come to make my Beaufort even better than it was ! Time for a sail ! A kayak without a sail is boring.. sorry I had to say it! Now its out there. 😉
I had ordered the SeaDog Commander sail last year with the primary thought of using it on the coastal paddle and since the Beaufort is the chosen kayak for the trip, I needed to modify the Beaufort accordingly!
There are several ways to install a SeaDogstyle sail onto a kayak. Heres a very rough categorization of what I have found online:
3 stays +1 uphaul the most common method: 2 lateral side stays, 1 aft stay and 1 uphaul opposite the backstay. A good set of instructions
4 stays + 1 uphaul : 2 lateral sidestays, 2 diagonal back stays and 1 uphaul : Some excellent advise by Douglas Wilcox
I’m sure there are several variations of the above mentioned set-ups all have their merits and faults, heck I have used a sail set up which differs from all the above mentioned methods.. which works “ok” , I might share it hereabouts at a later date..
Currently my preferred installation method is the last of the three described: 2 lateral side stays and 2 diagonal back stays +uphaul. Ofcourse this adds the amount of itsy-bitsy strings on-deck.. but the fun of sailing over-rides the negatives of them strings..
The installation of the sail can be divided into the following bits:
Mast base plate installation
Back stay points
Sheet cam cleat
Basicly the method for sail installation described here will probably work with most kayaks. The biggest difference would be the use/need for the mast baseplate adapter to mate it on the deck, as was done here.
Mast Base plate Installation
Due to the Beauforts peculiar deck profile: a semiround groove running down the lenght of the deck from bow to stern, this adds some challenge to make a sturdy and water proof installation for the mast. I had to prefabricate a mast base plate adaptor. The actual installation was ALOT easier than making the adaptor, thankfully so.
Side stay points
The sidestay hardpoints needed more drilling thru the hull. One would normally want to use the existing installed “Recessed Deck Fittings” (RDF) .. and that would be fine BUT.. Usually the installed RDFs have not been installed with the pressures/stresses that a sail will put on it in mind. Without extra re-inforcement there have been cases where a RDFs has been pulled off/thu the deck causing a pretty big hole on the deck! Not to mention annoying extra work to fix it! The Sidestays will have considerable load stresses when sailing beam reach or close reach… So its better to install the sidestay hardpoints on the side of the hull rather than “topside”. Also the fact that the Beaufort has nice 50mm Aramid/Kevlar tape running along the hull deck seam on the inside, gives a good (solid) place to install the hardpoints. The hardpoints were drilled approx 792mm aft of the bow tip..
Back stay points
Contrary to what I said previously about NOT using the existing RDF’s, for the backstay hardpoints I decided to use the existing RDF’s !!! Woo twisted logic!
The logic here is that the RDFs. are so far back that the pull angle is shallow PLUS I will be using TWO points that hopefully will share the load! This is all theory at this point. However I’m confident that this set up will work – time will tell!
The big plus side of using the existng RDF’s is that I dont need to do any thru-deck drilling. Just add a 2mm dyneema loop thru each RDF for the quick-snap-shackles!
Sheet cam cleat
To lock the sheet line, I use the smallest cam-cleat available, with a wire gate of sorts. This allows for reasonable fine-tune-control of the sheet line, especially when tightening the line, but it still reasonably easy to loosen as well.
Since the uphaul line basicly has two clear positions: Mast DOWN and Mast UP, then a simple clam-cleat would be enough! Another added bonus of using a CLAMcleat compared to a CAM-Cleat (as with the sheetline) is that the CLAMcleat is lower in profile, thus less likely to be on the way of anything: paddle, knuckles, lines otherkayaks etc. !
Now most of the big dirty work, ie drilling is over.. hopefully! Some final tweaking of knots and lines.
Adjusting the mast tilt/angle
Getting the mast just right will take a couple sessions on the water testing and tweaking.. for this the right type of knot is essential, recently Douglas Wilcox (Again !) has come up with a suitable looking knot the adjustable grip hitch. At the writing of this post I haven’t personally tested the knot in action but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work..? This is the knot I have used on this particular installation! Seems GOOD!
Some final words..
Adding a sail onto a kayak adds to the fun but there is also added risk of things going wrong. Maybe even REALLY wrong! The writer will assume no responsibility if something goes drastically wrong with this set up! Common sense “laws” should and will apply here. Each does as each sees fit with each own responsibility!
That said, after I started kayak sailing a paddling/emergency knife became a permanent fixture on my PFD! For those extra lines…
Take care and have FUN!
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