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Old 01-07-2018, 21:56   #1
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Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

Hello everybody,

So, I just bought the Sea Eagle Fast Track 465 15' inflatable kayak with the idea of rigging it up for sailing to extend my fishing range as far offshore as possible here in Ecuador where I live. I plan to DIY my own lateen-style sail, basically copying the idea of sailboatstogo.com,or more commonly, sunfish-styrene. I'm mostly interested in that style because I've read that it's the simplest, most efficient style for small craft (feel free to chime in with other ideas if you want!).

My question mostly revolves around the correct size for the sail. The kits on the website above mentioned are 45 sq ft, with 55 sq ft as the optional larger size. I've found a design online that is 70 sq ft. I wonder if you think this is too big? Here in Ecuador where I plan to sail, the average wind speed, according to https://weatherspark.com/y/18291/Ave...dor-Year-Round is between 8.7 and 10.7mph,so not too intense. I would install a reefing system to basically narrow the triangle when necessary. Do you think this would work? Thanks for your ideas!

Anthony
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:39   #2
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

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Originally Posted by Elgrindio View Post
The kits on the website above mentioned are 45 sq ft, with 55 sq ft as the optional larger size. I've found a design online that is 70 sq ft. I wonder if you think this is too big?
70sqft sounds enormous for a 15ft kayak ... my kayak has about a 30sqft sail, and I can't imagine having 230% of that sail area.

Although it is fun to sail a kayak, and downwind you can get a great boost (and there are lots of simple sail options for that), kayaks are not particularly well suited to upwind or reaching sails and it gets much more complex ... don't expect great upwind performance without going to a lot of trouble and expense.

Unless there is a kit specifically engineered for YOUR particular boat, then for your purpose, I would initially forget about masts, outriggers, leeboards, oversized rudders, balanced rigs, etc and investigate downwind options instead to help extend your range (but don't sail further out than you can paddle back against the wind). Once you know your boat and local conditions well enough to design a suitable upwind rig, you'll already know how big a sail you need.
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Old 13-12-2018, 17:40   #3
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

As mentioned before don't sail downwind in an inflatable kayak.

Come over to Salinas, Ecuador and I'll take you out sailing and explain some basics.
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Old 14-12-2018, 07:55   #4
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

Before thinking about the sail, what about the mast? On an inflatable kayak, is there a suitably hard and firm place to step it, where it won't make a hole or slide around? How are you going to hold it up? If there are shrouds or stays, how will a lateen sail be able to work? What will keep the boat from capsizing if the wind catches in the sail at the wrong angle? What will keep the boat on course? A more workable idea might be to carry a golf umbrella that you could open and hold out in front of you, downwind, and put away for the LONG paddle back.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:59   #5
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

I agree with psk125, using a sail on an inflatable kayak is going to be tough. Based on the materials used for inflatable kayaks, using a sail is going to be quite tough. I'd aim for a sea kayak if I were you.
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Old 08-01-2019, 17:36   #6
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

There is a gentleman who is selling his sailkit for kayaks like yours, and mine, on ebay. I have no idea if it is good, but it looks like it's worth a look.
Check "Sail Kit for Pathfinder II, Viamare XXL, Sea Eagle, Saturn Inflatable Kayaks" and "KAYAK SAIL KIT - fits any kayak, no drilling, big sail, W/steering, tacks upwind"
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:05   #7
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

I do hope you have better luck with the SEA EAGLE brand than I have. Bought one years ago to keep on my cat. Used it twice in the two years I had it. Otherwise it was stored in a dry locker inside my boat after a proper wash. Went to pump it up and all the seams had come apart. Contacted SEA EAGLE and after telling them they needed to change their manufacturing process they sent me a new one. Used it once and again stored it in a very dry area inside my boat. After a few months got it out and again all the seams leaked. Again spoke with them about their manufacturing process and they assured me they knew what they were doing but no replacement at this time. They would have given me a reduced rate on a new one however.
Anyway.....good luck!
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Old 15-03-2019, 14:53   #8
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

Ok, first, thanks to everybody who gave their 2 cents. I have to admit that I didn't exactly follow the recommendations and made it big anyway. (in my defense, I had already made it by the time some of the answers came in.) I made a tall lateen that measures 4.25meters (luff), 3.10meters (foot) by 4.35 (leech). About 69 square feet. It didn't work... And now I'm trying to find the most logical way to cut it down. I could just turn it into a symmetrical lateen, measuring about 45 Sq ft. If so, could I make it simpler by using a rig like the one in the picture? What's the difference between the two options? Thanks for your input!
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Old 15-03-2019, 20:19   #9
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Re: Appropriate size of sail for 15' Inflatable Kayak

For some reason I can't see the picture, but when you say it didn't work, what does that mean exactly? The kayak flipped? Wouldn't go upwind?
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