Drop-in Sail Rig for Canoes & Kayaks
Turn a Canoe or Kayak into a formidable sailing boat
Sail Area 1.64 sq m
(17.6 sq ft)
This article details how one owner has used the same drop in rig on several different canoes over the last 13 years.
Sailing Rigs for Canoes and kayaks usually break into three groups.
There are auxilary sails for (usually) seakayaks that are used to propel the boat downwind only.
There are rigs to give a canoe high performance.
A rarely seen variant is something in between - a no-fuss rig that does not make the boat hard to handle but provides enough power to sail reliably upwind and down. It should include a sensibly sized leeboard so windward progress is reasonably efficient. It is important that the leeboard is of a reasonable size - boards much smaller than this have poor windward performance.
This rig is the third type. It does not offer the highest performance possible, but it is small enough to fit inside the boat when not in use. The leeboard necessary for upwind sailing is removed at the same time as the mast support leaving the boat ready to be used as a pure paddling canoe.
Recently I received an email from Trevor Killmier who purchased the first set of the plans 10 or more years ago. I'll let him tell the story . .
Wow - how lovely to hear from you Trevor!!!
Your letter is EASILY one of the nicest things I have read in a while. When I design something it is often the case that I send the plans off, have a bit of correspondence while the boat is being built etc.
BUT ... to get a letter after 10 years showing the damn thing works, that it has been moved from boat to boat - AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - has fitted into someones lifestyle so perfectly is just the best thing.
Thankyou so much!
If there are photos available of the different incarnations of the rig I would love to see them - perhaps to scan them and put on my website.
Again thankyou for getting in contact!
Notes from the Plan:
This rig is designed to drop into a paddling boat, whether canoe or kayak. As far as possible all the gear is removable from the boat except for the mast step and three unobtrusive fittings that will not interfere with the paddling function. The blue jibsail in some of the photos is not part of the plans.
Many people have a paddling boat and would like to gain a feel for sailing at moderate additional cost. The objective of this rig is to add the ability to sail to the function of an existing boat without interfering with its existing paddling performance.
If steering with a paddle take particular note of the section at the end on sailing the kayak. It explains how to adjust the leeboard to minimise the steering loads.
A reefing point has been specified in the drawings to enable the sail area to be reduced in marginal conditions. It is not expected that the boat will be able to sail upwind while reefed, though it will still be able to sail well downwind.
I would recommend doing some practice capsizes in safe waters on a warm day to see if you can rescue yourself or if you need outside assistance.
The spars and leeboard have been sized to fit inside most boats or the leeboard can be swung forward to be out of the way of the paddler should the boat have to be paddled home.
MAKE SURE THE BOAT IS EQUIPPED WITH AND THAT YOU WEAR APPROPRIATE SAFETY EQUIPMENT. KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER.
Another factor for consideration is that canoes and kayaks can be very fast under sail - particularly with the wind coming from astern. Take care not to go excessive distances from your home base without realising and setting yourself up for a very long paddle home. A good way to avoid such problems is to start toward the direction the wind is coming from - then you will be able to enjoy a quick sail home.
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