Frequently Asked Questions
What was the motivation behind the Kayaksailor?
Will I enjoy the Kayaksailor?
What happens if I flip over?
Can I sail without a rudder?
What do the leeboards do?
Do the leeboards slow the boat down?
What about outriggers?
How much wind can the sail handle?
What is reefed?
Can I reef out on the water?
How fast can I go?
How close to the wind can I sail?
How does the Kayaksailor attach to the boat?
My sea kayak has a sharply peaked foredeck. Will it work?
Can I put the sail on more than one boat?
How much does it weigh?
Will Kayaksailor improve my sex appeal?
What type of kayaks will the rig fit on?
I have a small boat. Will the rig work?
Can I use the rig on a tippy kayak?
What is the best type of boat to use the sail on?
What do you at Kuvia prefer to use the rig on?
Are you sure the Kayaksailor will improve my sex appeal?
What size Kayaksailor should I get?
I’m a competative sailor so I should be able to handle the 1.6m² on my touring boat, right?
Can’t I use the 1.6m² on my touring style boat and just reef it down when the wind picks up?
So, when should I choose the 1.6m²?
How can I find a Kayaksailor dealer in my area?
I live outside of the USA. Do you ship internationally?
What does it cost?
Being avid sailors our entire lives, it was just a natural progression. You look at an efficient hull and you want to put an efficient sail rig on it. We couldn’t help ourselves. Every time we went out kayaking and the wind came up, it drove us crazy. You know that feeling, when you are doing something and you know it could be more fun. So we decided to make it happen.
Yes. It’s easy and fun. Almost everyone can remember a paddling experience when the wind came up and you struggled to make headway. Now imagine yourself effortlessly gliding to windward . A smile comes to your face. Now you will be enjoying your kayaking experience.
For most people flipping over isn’t a common occurrence although it can happen
from time to time, especially in very strong gusty winds. The procedure
involves bringing the boat to an upright position, releasing the
sheet (sail control line), pointing the boat into the wind and doing
a standard reentry. The sail can either be left up or lowered down
depending on your skill and comfort level. We usually lower the rig before re-entering. We recommend practicing re-entering your boat at least once prior to venturing far from shore.
Absolutely, because the sail and leeboards are balanced to each other. Course corrections involve adjusting the leeboards, along with using sweeping and rudder strokes with the paddle. Sailing without a rudder is not as easy as sailing with a rudder, but it helps improve our paddling and sailing skills. The first boat we tested this type of sailing rig on was a mid 1980’s Aquaterra Prism. We sailed this boat without a rudder for years and had a great time. That said, we eventually purchased a rudder and had an even better time. It’s really nice to be able to stow your paddle and have your hands free when you want.
Leeboards help to transfer the sails power into forward motion. Most non-sailors believe that leeboards keep the boat from tipping over like the weighted keel of a sailboat. Although the leeboards add some stability to the hull, their main purpose is to reduce the sideways sliding motion of the boat. They allow you to point upwind (at an angle toward the direction the wind is coming from), and efficiently sail to windward.
The shape of the leeboard cross section is important. If you were to look at a typical fish from above, you would see that it has a streamlined shape, somewhat narrow at the head, wider in the center and tapering to a thin tail. This is a natural foil shape. Our leeboards have a carefully calculated foil giving them the ability to slice through the water with very little resistance.
In the past many people believed that upwind kayak sails needed to have outriggers, stabilizing pontoons on either side of the kayak. Outriggers may be useful if the sail area is too large or if the center of effort is placed too high causing a pronounced heeling effect. One of our design goals was to keep your kayak a kayak and not turn it into a trimaran. The Inuit people understood boat handling characteristics and we chose to preserve them as much as possible. We accomplished this with efficient sail design.
The sails pack an amazing amount of power into a tiny package. One of the most important design features is the use of controlled head twist. As the wind speed increases, the top of the sail or “head” twists away, spilling some of the wind from the top part of the sail. This allows the center of effort on the sail to travel down towards the boat. As a result it heels less and is easier to control.
That depends on your weight and skill level. The rigs are designed with a very large wind range: 2-15 knots, and up to 30 knots reefed. A heavier or more experienced person can handle more wind than a lighter or less experienced person.
Reefing is the ability to reduce the size of the sail area for use in strong winds. For safety reasons, reefing should be done prior to leaving the beach or dock.
Yes, reefing can be accomplished while out on the water. We do it every now and again. The technique involves pointing the bow of the boat directly downwind, then tying the aft reefing lines on the sail with quick release knots. If the boat is pointed into the wind, which is the normal procedure for most large sailboats, we find that the boat looses momentum and turns off the wind, thereby allowing the sail to power up before we have a chance to get the reef knots in. Some of our friends rig their sails with a jiffy reefing system. Basically, the reefing lines are redirected, via pulleys, to the back of the boom where they can be adjusted quickly. Here is a link to a post on the subject on our FaceBook page. It’s pretty cool.
Most kayak designs have what are known as displacement hulls. This type of boat design will reach a maximum speed determined by its hull length and shape. Most kayaks travel at a maximum speed that is equivalent to a fast walk or a jog. Depending on your weight and skill level, the Kayaksailor will bring the majority of boats close to their hull speed in approximately 12 knots (14 mph, Force 4) of wind. That said, if you catch a swell while paddle-sailing, your speed over ground (sailing speed plus boat speed) can be quite exciting.
Closer than you would think. The sails and leeboards are amazingly efficient. While traveling at angles closer than 45°, sails lose much of their wind pressure, one of the beautiful attributes of this rig is that it gives you the ability to paddle and sail at the same time. By sheeting in while paddle-sailing upwind, you can point very close to the wind with little effort, sharing the forces needed to get the boat upwind. Motor Sailors do this all of the time.
Initially with the under-the-hull webbing strap for all boat types. After sailing your boat and feeling satisfied with the ideal position, the stainless steel eye strap mounting kit can easily be installed to hardshell boats. To view this being done, please view our videos. For inflatables and skin-on-frame boats our NRS D-Ring patches or your boat manufacturer’s D-Ring patches can be adhered to the hull. These can be added to the exterior or interior of the hull (One should always do sea trials and be sure of the rig placement prior to attaching the patches).
MOUNTING THE RIG FOR WATER TRIALS – click here
INSTALLING THE MOUNTING KIT – click here
Yes, Our micro channel mounting blocks or Y40 High Density Foam Cradle Mounting Kit are a nice way to attach the rig to most touring style hulls that have a peaked or rounded foredeck. They will keep the rig perfectly secure on the center line of the foredeck plus, they are low profile, light weight, and just work really well. We like them.
By ordering extra, inexpensive mounting kits, you can easily transfer your rig from boat to boat.
The entire rig weighs 10 lbs (4.5 kg). This is quite light considering how quickly it will bring your boat to hull speed.
The rig fits on most styles of touring, recreational, and skin-on-frame boats, as well as many inflatables.
The Kayaksailor is designed to fit on boats 13 feet and longer. It works on smaller boats in bow sprit mode and is optimal when the sail is far enough in front that it allows unrestricted paddling and bracing while under sail. If you have a sit-on-top with multiple seating positions and sit further aft, this can work nicely as well. Here is a link to some dimensions, the most important being,”the length of the rig from the front of the main body tube to the back of the boom with the sail raised is 67″/170cm. Here is a test : With a tape measure in hand, sit in the seat and raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height. You will want the back of the boom to be near the area of your hands/finger tips when the sail is raised. Measure 67″/170cm in front of where your hands are, and this will give you an idea of where the front of the rig be in relation to the bow. It can extend beyond the bow in what we call bow sprit mode, see next FAQ to learn more about bow sprit mode.
Maybe, it depends on the boat. Friends have rigged hulls as short as 10′ with good success. Often boats under 12′ need to be set up in “bow sprit mode”. The rig can be mounted out past the front of the bow up to 15″ in what we call “bow sprit mode“. An example of a boat rigged in this manner can be seen on the Your Photos page of the gallery. Here is a link to some dimensions, the most important being,”the length of the rig from the front of the main body tube to the back of the boom with the sail raised is 67″/170cm. Here is a test : With a tape measure in hand, sit in the seat and raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height. You will want the back of the boom to be near the area of your hands/finger tips when the sail is raised. Measure 67″/170cm in front of where your hands are, and this will give you an idea of where the front of the rig be in relation to the bow.
The goal in finding the correct rig placement is to have the rig far enough away from you to have a clean paddle stroke, yet close enough so that when the sail is lowered, you can reach forward and place the folded sail between the goal posts.
Please note that when folding the sail, it is only necessary to be able to reach the top of the mast and not the goalposts. If you are able to reach the goalposts from the seated position, the rig is probably too close and your paddling will be restricted to some degree.
We like to position our sails as far forward as possible. In fact, we are required to shift forward in our seat a little just to reach the top of the folded mast. Since the mast is on a track, the top of the folded mast can be can be grabbed and pulled back a short distance to facilitate the folding of the sail between the goal posts, then the mast can then be pushed forward to it’s final resting position. This ensures the maximum distance between ourselves and the sail.
In any case, it’s always best to perform sea trials first to determine the best location for the rig. Then, only when you are absolutely sure it’s in the best spot, is it time to install the mounting hardware. Otherwise, one ends up with holes to fill if they need to move the rig.
If you have any questions on mounting please feel free to ask. We are always happy to help.
Interestingly, the Kayaksailor rig can actually mellow out much of the tippy feeling of a narrow boat.
I know it seems odd, but it’s true. The leeboards produce a roll dampening effect since they don’t like to move sideways through the water. The sail also helps to stabilize the roll motion, as long as it is not overpowered to the point that your torso weight becomes insufficient to compensate for the heeling force. In this case the mainsail should be reefed to lower the sails center of effort, keeping the heeling force more controllable.
This is a very personal question and you are likely to get different answers from different kayak sailors. Each boat has a different personality and excels in different situations. If you are new to both kayaking and sailing, we recommend a stable boat. Maybe a sit-on-top fishing kayak with a rudder option; these have become very popular lately and are terrific sailors. Experienced sailors who want to go out in strong winds will also enjoy the stability. Some people believe that recreational sit-on-top kayaks are not very exciting craft, but it’s amazing how even the most sluggish boat will magically come alive when you put a sail on it. As your kayaking skills improve, a sleeker touring boat will surely bring a smile to your face.
It depends on what we have planned for the day. If we have our dogs with us, we end up using our sit on top fishing kayaks. The dogs sit behind us in the storage space. They absolutely love it. When we don’t have the dogs with us, we often use our hardshell touring boats and our folding kayaks. We also enjoy using our self-built Inuit style skin-on-frame kayaks. They are incredibly light in weight and have the ability to ghost along at remarkable speeds in minimal wind.
A good question that requires some thought. We offer two sizes, a 1.4m² and a 1.6m². We’ll do our best to help you decide.
If you have a relatively narrow (less than 25″/63.5cm) sit-inside touring boat, a small recreational boat, or a tender sit-on-top, the 1.4m² with or without the genoa is most likely the best choice. The 1.6m² can be super fun on a touring kayak when the winds are light (10 knots or less) but if you plan on using your touring boat in a variety of conditions, the 1.4m² will be more versatile.
If you have a stable fishing kayak and live in an area with generally mild winds, the 1.6m² is probably the better choice. The 1.6m² is taller and has more leverage over the boat when the sail is powered up. And, since one has a limited ability to “hike out” (leaning one’s body weight away from the sail to compensate for the heeling force), only very stable boats are a suitable match for the 1.6m². That said, if you have a stable boat and live in a windy place, you will probably be better off with the 1.4m² and the genoa. The 1.4m² has stiffer spars, which makes the foil more stable in higher winds.
Feel free to contact us if you would like assistance. We are always happy to help and want you to have the best possible paddle-sailing experience.
Even for experienced sailors and kayakers, the 1.4m² is still likely the better choice for most performance touring hulls. For kayak-sailing, a flat boat is a fast boat, meaning, that by keeping the hull from over heeling, we are able to maintain a faster air foil and hold more speed. The vertical rig position of the sail makes it’s orientation in relation to the direction of air flow more efficient. So, what happens is, while sailing a touring kayak with the taller 1.6m², as the wind increases past a certain point, we must compensate for this heeling force by leaning our body weight to windward, to the point where our ribs rest against the windward cockpit coaming. This is an uncomfortable position to maintain for any length of time. Our ribs get sore, especially on long tacks. The is 1.4m² is simply faster and easier to control in a moderate breeze.
Also, bracing, paddling, and paddle steering are much easier to do when the boat is flat. After all, this is paddle-sailing!
In short, the lower center of effort of the 1.4m², especially with the genoa, is more fun on a touring boat in all but the very lightest of breezes.
Yes of course you can, although we’ve found the 1.4m² is still better for touring hulls, for a couple of reasons. First, because of how the sails are designed, the best reefing location is found at the level of the bottom of the top mast. And, because the 1.6m² and the 1.4m² are essentially the same sail, the only difference being the 1.6m² has an additional horizontal sail panel above the boom, both sails reef to exactly the same size. This means that because the taller 1.6m² has more leverage over the narrow hull, it will require reefing at a lower wind speed. This results in a feeling of being underpowered immediately after reefing, at least until the wind kicks up another notch. With the 1.4m², the reefing transition is smoother. Plus, the 1.4m² is just more fun to sail when it’s windy. Partly because of rig stiffness. The 1.4m² and the 1.6m² have the same diameter spars but their lengths are different, and because the 1.4m² has both a shorter main mast and top mast, the rig is noticeably stiffer. This coupled with the lower aspect ratio of the 1.4m², makes for a more stable sail profile (less distortion) and sails faster in a good blow. The head doesn’t twist as much, and this in turn helps to maintain the better foil shape. Are you with me? or am I just babbling at this point?
If you have a very stable boat or a big inflatable, or a stable tandem, and use it primarily in light to moderate wind, the bigger sail will give you more power. It is important that the stability of the boat needs to be sufficient to handle the added heeling force of the taller rig in moderate breezes. Please e-mail us if you would like our opinion on whether your make/model hull is appropriate for the 1.6m². In light to moderate air, and on a stable boat, the 1.6m² is a pleasure to use.
Feel free to contact us if you would like assistance. We are always happy to help and want you to have the best paddle-sailing experience.
We are a small company. It is just the two of us carefully building each sail kit ourselves. We work with a small production volume as the sails and rigs are laborious to build. In addition, we utilize a number of expensive name brand marine parts, and this coupled with the complexity of assembly, has removed the margin needed by dealers. We will continue to focus on building the highest quality sail kits available and do our best to promote and support this unique form of sailing which we all love so much.
Being a small business definitely has its benefits. David and I really enjoy the intimate relationship we have with you.
Sure, we have extensive experience shipping internationally and have sent many of our sail kits to happy paddle-sailors around the globe. If you would like a quote, please send us an e-mail with your country, city, include the postal code, and we are happy to research the options available.
All shipments include insurance. The lowest ship rates are typically through the United States Postal Service/Your National Postal Service.
For certain countries, the Kayaksailor parcel exceeds the Postal Service size limits. If you live outside of the US and would like for us to build you a rig, please contact us via e-mail prior to placing your order to receive a shipping quote. Also note that the shipping rates displayed on our website are only estimates generated by the shopping cart software. The rates displayed may be different from the actual charges for your shipment. Rate differences occur based on the actual weight, dimensions, and destination.
We receive generous discounts on international shipments with FedEx and UPS due to our membership in the Outdoor Industry Association. We gladly pass the discount on to our friends to help offset the cost of importing.
Shipping quotes will not include duty, taxes, or customs fees that may be levied on imported goods by your country’s customs authority. If you would like more information on customs duty in your country, please contact your local customs office.
Please note that your order will be processed when we receive confirmation from you.
We always do our best to find the lowest shipping rates for our paddle-sailing friends.
Less than you might guess.
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