Kayak sails are the next big thing in kayaking. They’re affordable, simple to stuff into a daypack or in the back of the boat, and easy to set up. Kayak sailing makes it easy for you to get a fantastic workout in by paddling out as far as you can go without the annoyance of having to paddle the same way back. If you’re on a fishing voyage, you can use one to get out to the prime spots. If you want to beat the crowds of yakkers and paddler enthusiasts near the lakefront, just attach your sailing rig and zoom out to quieter shores, where you won’t hear the bump of the bass the college kids are playing near the beach. If you’re planning a longer voyage, a sail is a great way to take a rest for a while when you’re sick of paddling but still have miles of open water to cover.
Many people report that a sailing kayak is so fun that they’ve begun always bringing the sailing rig with them when they paddle. They also say they’ve started checking the weather and looking for windy days to get out on the water for some kayak sailing.
If you’re a beginning, we recommend you try paddling your sale in a light breeze before moving to stronger winds. The lighter the breeze is, the easier it will be to get used to paddling in it. Once you’ve gotten used to using the sail, you can begin sailing on windier and windier days. It’s best to make sure your sail is nice and full while you’re paddling, rather than flapping around. Lean upwind to avoid getting tipped, and use your paddle for balance. You’ll also want to let the boom out when you’re paddling away from the wind. On days when the wind is stronger, you’ll generally want to use a larger sail, while larger sails are fine for less windy days. If you're on a larger body of water with a sea kayak, you'll probably need a bigger sail kit and sailing rig to fight the stronger wind. You can even set up your system in the backyard and practice while safe on the ground!
It’ll take a little bit of getting used to, but the added challenge of paying attention to the sail and harnessing the wind’s energy is exciting, challenging, and extremely fun. If you aren’t the type of person to try whitewater kayaking, sail kayaking could be right up your alley.
All you need to do to set these puppies up is, depending of course on the type of sail and kayak you have, is to position the sail on your kayak and to secure it. And you can use any type of kayak for sailing, as the sails are made to be adjusted to different types of boats. If you have an inflatable kayak or catamaran kayak, be careful not to fly away once you attach your sailing rig. If you enjoy these setups, you can consider a sailing canoe in the future to carry more equipment. Canoe sailing also opens opportunities for longer voyages.
We took a look through the most popular kayak sail kit setups available today. Without further ado, we present you with:
Our top 5 budget-friendly kayak sails of 2017:
This is a fairly simple sail that comes in a variety of colors. It’s great for solo kayaking, as it’s pretty simple to use, and it’s ideal for low to medium winds, which makes it an excellent kayak for those who are just getting started. When you want to fold it up, it basically springs back into itself, so it’s easy to pack up. You can set it up on the water as well, as it’s self-launching (meaning it just flips up), so that you don’t run into the hassle of paddling back to shore to attach the sail. It weights just half a pound. Worried it’ll tear? The company’s motto is, "If you can figure out a way to break it, we'll fix it for free." Users found it a good value for the price.
This kit includes stabilizing outriggers, so that you don’t have to worry about tipping over if the wind picks up. It also includes leeboards. This model is simple to install (you just strap it on), so you won’t need any tools, and it can be affixed to any kayak or canoe. This model is a little sturdier than the WindPaddle and comes with a telescoping boom and mast, so it does generate speed. It also weights a lot more, tipping the scales at 22 pounds. The mast is 12 feet long, and the boom is 8 feet. This model is made by Sailskating LLC.
This sailing kit differs from Sailskating LLC’s Serenity Sail Kit in that you do have to screw a hole into your kayak or canoe to rig it—it’s just one eyescrew, though, and this means it’s a pretty stable system. It weights 22 pounds as well, and the dimensions are similar. The entire kit fits easily in your car. This model doesn’t come with a rudder; you just steer by holding the mainsheet. We love how these are made in the US, also.
This is another model which fits most types of kayaks and canoes. It’s ideal for someone just getting started or for those who live in areas where the wind isn’t too strong. We loved the shade factor—great for reading on the boat, fishing expeditions where you don’t want to bake in the sun, or for enjoying some cool shade when you’re paddling a long ways. You can affix it to the hardware already on your boat. If you’re serious about getting into sail kayaking, we’d recommend one of the above models, but if you want some shade for long, hot paddles, this model is a lifesaver!
At just under $80, this model is one of our favorite budget options. It’s compact, folding down into a tiny disk. We love the clear windows in the sail, and how it’s so fast to set up. This is great to buy for the lake house for the summer, or for the kids when they’re tearing around the water on the weekend. Users reported that it “hauls” in a breeze, and that it’s really helpful for crossing long stretches of open water. Users also reported that they were quiet and great for bird watching.