How to Make a Kayak Sail-DIY Guide
Despite not being the most traditional for kayaking, in recent years the use of kayak sails has spread.
Whether for fishing, recreation, or water sports, sailing has some unique benefits and features that many boaters love.
However, acquiring a candle can sometimes be a bit expensive for the most modest pockets.
Fortunately, it is possible to manufacture a candle that fits our needs and, mainly, our budget.
How to make a kayak sail
Let’s see then a step by step for the manufacture of our own candle.
The first thing we need is the base, that is, the mast.
The ideal is to have a mast that we can use and adapt for the kayak, such as a windsurf board.
If not, the best thing then would be to use PVC pipes or if we get some made of aluminum, the better, since this material is very resistant and at the same time light.
Once we have this material, we will also need bolts, nuts, screws, PVC couplings, and everything we consider necessary to fix our mast to the kayak.
The next thing, then, is the candle.
For the sail we will need a very resistant fabric.
As in the case of the mast, if we have some fabric from another boat or water sport, such as the material used for kitesurfing, we do not hesitate to use it.
Otherwise, we must choose a light, resistant and waterproof material. A good option can be the fabric of a tent.
If we already have the fabric for our sail, the next thing to do is cut it in a V shape and sew it to the mast.
To be able to use the sail, we can have a pulley circuit from the boom to the stern of the kayak and vice versa.
In addition, the idea is to have a line that comes out on the starboard side and another on the port side to direct the sail and take advantage of the wind in favor.
Another fundamental element is the daggerboard to avoid drift produced by the wind and give more stability to navigation.
If we have a self-emptying kayak, it is very likely that the sail center coincides with the holes, so a few screws and rubber plugs to reinforce it will be more than enough.
The daggerboard can be made with a stainless steel sheet, taking care to make it thin to avoid resistance to water as much as possible.
When we navigate using paddles, we use the paddles to control the direction.
But in sailing, things are a little different, since our hands will be busy controlling the sail, which, depending on the strength of the wind, can be a more or less complicated task.
Therefore, it will be essential to have a rudder to adjust the direction of the kayak.
This is also important since with a sail we will reach speeds much higher than if we were sailing with a shovel, then we need a more effective, practical and quick control of the direction.
Again, if we have a rudder from another boat, let’s not hesitate to take advantage of it.
To adapt the rudder we can use a U-shaped plate and screw it to the kayak.
Advantages of using a kayak sail
The adaptation of a sail for kayak has become very popular thanks to the advantages of using it to navigate in a light and individual boat. Some of them are:
- Greater speed: This is the main advantage since sailing with sail we can travel a huge distance just using the force of the wind. In addition, kayaks are currently very light as well as resistant, so they can withstand this adrenaline.
- Less effort: Taking advantage of the wind and with a rudder in hand, it will be possible to navigate without much effort, unlike sailing with a paddle that many require us to row against the impetus of the water.
- Easy handling: As we said, modern kayaks have their advantages, and one of them is stability, so placing a sail on this type of boat will not represent any problem to navigating.
- Without bureaucracy: Another very popular practice is to put a motor in the kayak, but many times this requires a license. In contrast, kayaking does not require a license, making it a great way to start sailing on a budget.
Kayak sail designs
Depending on the type of sail, we can take advantage of the sailing experience in different ways and adapt them to our degree of experience.
As the name suggests, they are sails in a circular shape, more like a parasail than a traditional sail style.
They are recommended for beginners, as they are very easy to use and control, and most models that are sold commercially come with a window to see where you are navigating.
They are great for learning about sailing techniques and how they work before venturing into more complex sails.
It is the model that we suggest in our tutorial to mount a sail for your kayak.
The V shape makes most of the area of the fabric face up, leaving free space at the bottom for easy navigation. However, it is also possible to find models – or make them yourself – with windows.
Thanks to their design and height, these sails can catch more wind but, being smaller than others, they may not be the fastest.
They are suitable for beginners but highly recommended for those who already have experience sailing using a kayak sail as well as another type of sailing boat.
It is worth noting that many commercial models if they are not designed especially for kayaks, can be a bit heavy so, if you are thinking of buying one, read the specifications well both of the weight that your kayak can support and the weight of the candle.
If you are going to make it, we have already mentioned that one PVC or aluminum pipe should be more than enough.
L shaped candles
They are not recommended for beginners.
Its shape is quite traditional, similar to the sails found on yachts.
They tend to be more difficult to use and require more sailing skills and experience than, for example, a circular sail.
The advantage is that unlike the others that depend a lot on the downwind, with the sail in L simply moving it we already control the direction. It is precise because of this characteristic that they usually have a mast and boom.
Building materials for kayak sails
We have already mentioned the basic and essential materials to build and assemble a kayak sail, but let’s take a closer look at everything we can use.
- Aluminum ducts
- PVC couplings
- Nylon ropes or twine to hold the sail
- Lightweight and waterproof fabric
- Metal tube strap
- Some sturdy sheer fabric to make a window, like a shower curtain
- PVC pipes
- PVC glue
- Sewing machine
With all the materials in hand and a little ingenuity and patience, we can have a kayak sail made with our own hands.
In this way, the pleasure of kayaking is combined with the satisfaction of the sail made by ourselves.