For the upcoming finnish coastal paddle, Marko and myself took our new Beauforts for a ‘spin’, or more seriously a trial run. A couple night trip with basic camping loads to figure out how these kayaks work, how they should be loaded, how we perform, how new bits of kit work, what we forgot, what we won’t need and also.. just for the fun of it! 🙂
We logged some 100 km’s total trip. The weather was beautiful! Not so much wind, = very little sailing. The sun and warm more than made up for the lack of the wind.
Overall the kayaks worked VERY well ! Both were pleased. On smooth waters and a semi-full load paddling @ 6.5-7 km/h daily average speed was surprisingly easy for day trips of 36-38 km. We could have improved that average quite easily if we felt like it. But being the first trip of the season, we took it easyish.. Nothing fell off, nothing broke so all in all a VERY good trip!
A more complete or review of the kayak will follow after this summers trip!
Got a couple semi-decent pictures along the way. Trip took place in the Lake Saimaa system, mainly: Yövesi, Liittokivenselkä, Varissaarenselkä, Pajusaarenselkä and Hietasaarenselkä
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…
At the writing of this article, I have installed SeaDog sails on three different kayaks. Each installation has been different due to differing circumstances. Each installation, while requiring some extra work, has been reasonably easy and straight forward. In this article I will concentrate on making an adapter for the mast baseplate on a Skimkayaks Beaufort.
The Beaufort however, with its negative groove (or gutter) running down the center of the deck is the most demanding installation thus far. The negative groove will require an adapter for the mast base plate. The flat bottom of the plate needs to be mated with the bottom of the groove. Otherwise this may cause pressure ridges onto the deck groove which may later cause cracking. Also the mast base plate needs to be slightly higher to allow enough counterclockwise rotation of the mast attachment piece!
More about the actual installation process of the mast will follow…
Now be honest! Have you ever fantasized, in a following wind, under a heavy load , somehow .. harnessing that wonderful wind to help you get along….? Now don’t lie! I suspect EVERY sea kayaker has in one point or another thought like this. 😀
Springtime 2015 I found myself trying out something completely new. GnarlyDog convinced me to give kayak sailing a try. Uptil now I’d only tried using windpaddle sail briefly, but did not like the concept at all as it is strictly downwind sailing and while it does not require a rudder equipped kayak, it works better with one… And I’m not going to install a rudder on my kayaks. End of discussion! Also it ties ones hands to operating the sail…
Gnarly suggested SeaDog Sails, whom I contacted and some weeks later I received my first SeaDog Sail ! Its been fun ever since! It was early may 2015 when I was able to go out and start learning to use the sail.
About the sail, it is surprisingly smart set up. Contrary to common beliefs it DOES not require a rudder for installation! A skeg would be nice to have but basicly one can sail decently without a skeg installed, however here one will need to use corrective strokes or a paddle rudder quite often. That said I will be retrofitting a skeg in all of my kayaks!
The sail basicly operates as follows: When you want to sail. You release it from “Stowed on deck” configuration, pop the mast into its “mast up” configuration, cleat the up haul line and “Voila” ready to sail! If the going gets rough or you need to go into the wind, then you reverse the previously described operation and your kayak is back in its “pure kayak – mast down” mode. Quite simple! With a little practice each operation takes no-more than 5-7 seconds to perform.
While under sail, one can still use the paddle for correcting strokes, stern rudder or bracing… or not! So the sail does not tie the hands while sailing. Only during mast uphaul or downhaul, and tweaking the sail angle with the cam-cleat, ones’ hands will be doing other than paddling. This last feature is one of my favourites!
Another misconception is that this sail is purely for downwind sailing. Not true! Depending on the sail set up, kayak configuration and your sailing skills one can sail beam reach and perhaps even close reach. My rough best estimate has been to sail maybe 25 degrees into the wind, on a sharply chined kayak and quite a bit of edging…
However there are some little requirements or rather common sense suggestions before one should start installing a sail on ones kayak!
One should be a confident and able kayaker. Minimum requirement (in my mind ) for kayak sailing is that one should be able to do self rescues, braces + some kind of eskimo roll. I haven’t had to do a single roll or self rescue under sail, but the fact that I know I can perform these gives me all the more confidence to handle the kayak under sail… me hopes ! 😉
Some understanding about the concept of sailing comes handy.. though starting with light winds and an instructor close-by one can be self taught quite quickly to kayak sail! I’ve had two “experimental students” to test this claim and both are still alive and breathing and in friendly terms with me.. 😉
While kayak sailing isn’t for the first or second time, “beginner” kayaker it does open a whole new world for the more experienced confident kayaker- A world of fun if nothing else!
At the writing of this I have logged some 360 kms with sail, of which approximately half have been under touring/expedition conditions. Most if not every km has been either fun or educational and thus very interesting! Introducing the sailing concept into kayaking also opens the world of sailing and wind in a new way to the kayaker.
I will not dwell into sail installation in this post, that will come later. However there are a couple of excellent blogs that covers sail installation: Douglas Wilcox’s site and GnarlyDog News
Contrary to common beliefs.. A kayak sail will not make the kayak go faster! Well THAT fast. Usually the defining factor is the maximum hull speed. But it does help make the kayak go at hull speed with minimal paddling! Going above hull speed will require high winds and following seas.. and that while is FUN as anything, it does add certain risks. I’ve usually been able to clock 9-11 km/h in winds of approx 10m/s. This wind speed I have found to be the maximum safe wind speed. Any higher than 10 m/s one needs to be on ones toes, alert, awake and accept the fact of a cold bath. I think the strongest winds I’ve encountered and still stay upright was in the 14 m/s range. The highest speeds that my GPS have logged momentarily under sail, high winds+following waves have been 16.4km/h and 17 km/h. This was with the Guillemot Expedition Single without any load.
Under full expedition load I have been able to coast along at 6-7.5 km/h in a run or a broad reach, using the paddle as a rudder only. With light assisting strokes I have been moving about 8-9.5km/h.
The newest SeaDog sail , the Commander is my favorite, the added reefing points add more versatility to the sail. The sail is more efficient sailing into the wind than the previous models. The older Code Zero Black Diamond maybe easier to handle for a beginner than the Commander, but the commander has the reefing option so this changes the balance quite nicely. I have ordered the sail with the lower panel with Clearview panel, giving me some forward visibility, which can be useful in narrow (and congested) waterways.
All of the SeaDog sails I have used thus far have excellent work quality!
Here’s a couple of my favorite sailing videos that I’ve found online – from downunder. Courtesy of GnarlyDog The first one shows how the sail works.
And some just sailing that brings a smile on your face..
Some pictures AND a map of last summers paddling trip in /around of Åland archipelago.
We started from the Ferry stop of Vuosnainen, Finland. The trip lasted some 2 weeks. The planned one day of rest in Maarianhamn, grew to two days! It was such a nice town to see! Much recommended! We finished at the ferry stop in Parainen, Finland.
Overall it was a great trip, but we had to keep a constant watch on the changing weather and plan and re-plan our routes accordingly. Fortunately we were able to come up with alternate routes in the labyrintine passages of the archipelago and weren’t held ashore due to bad weather. We were lucky in that respect.
Paddlingwise, year 2015 was kinda lazy. Not as much touring as the previous two years. I spent only about a total of 5 weeks “out” kujuking. The trips weren’t as long as I’d hoped either, but still 2015 had some definite highlights.
Paddling around the Åland isles was one definite highlight, another highlight was getting started in kayak sailing!
Paddling in and around Åland had been something I had been putting off for some time now. Mainly due to the fact that the isles “were out there”, at least from my limited experience/perspective. After reading and hearing many trip reports, not to mention photo blogs of said isles, I decided “what the heck” and went for it. It was a great trip, at times somewhat demanding due to weather conditions but we got through. Lotsa places seen and explored, yet (thankfully) many more left to be explored at later tripS.
The second “super-duper-I’am-So-EXCITED-I just can’t hide it!” highlight of the year was: kayak sailing!!!
Kayak Sailing had been something I’d read and heard about and always thought that “maybe some day” I’ll give it a try. Then with some coaxing from Gnarlydog, (it really didn’t take that much), I ordered my first kayak sail , from Sea Dog Sails, and that “some day was” here ! Its been great ever since! Kayak Sailing has brought many new aspects to sea kayaking. With some 360 kms of sail assisted kayaking/sailing logged for year 2015,n salt waters as well as fresh, it is safe to say I will have a sail installed on all of my kayaks eventually! One might be as bold to say that kayak sailing is just about the best thing to do with one’s pants on!
Whenever there are fair winds to enjoy – Up goes the sail! 😀
Learning to sail in slightly rougher conditions, has been very rewarding and helpful in finding ( some of ) my limits.
Didn’t build that many new paddles but just enough to keep the interest going. A couple, (well a bunch really) of prototypes are on their way for 2016 paddling season as well.
Kayak building was quiet, but I did manage to build one kayak. ‘Viatrix‘, a Guillemot designed Night Heron “Stitch and Glue” kayak, was first afloat almost as soon as the waters were free from ice, also she was the first one to have a sail installed on her. On her own a very fine kayak for waves and light touring BUT excellent fun with a sail !! Best overall kayak I’ve built thus far…
Already many new kayaking adventures are on the drawing board for 2016 (and beyond) ! Here’s hoping that I will learn to be a bit more diligent in my blog postings as well….
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.