Friday, October 01, 2010

Flat Earth Kayak Sails

I first heard about Flat Earth kayak Sails in a blog I regularly follow called GnarlyDog News by Damiano Visocnik.  If you don’t know of this blog, it is well worth a visit.  He’s done a great job of labeling his posts which make it easy to search a topic, like kayak sailing.  I’ve gotten many great ideas regards kayak outfitting, gear, repairs, etc… from reading this blog.

Regards sailing, GnarlyDog has played around with kayak sails for awhile now, has even designed his own. But he has also written a number of posts reviewing Flat Earth Kayak Sails, his most current, posted just a few weeks ago, is a very positive review after playing with the sail for a year.

Here is a great video GnalyDog made sailing with one of these sails:

Of particular interest to me, was how Mick and GnarlyDog mount the sail on the kayak, each does it a bit differently.  Both require mounting a mast using side stays to hold the mast, and a sheet that is attached up the mast and to the front of the deck (in a pully) and then back to the cockpit that functions to hoist the mast and sail and work as a quick release letting it all down onto the deck, then stored under a bungie in front of the kayak.

The picture below clearly show the stays and sheets.  This picture was taken from a posting on the blog Seakayaking with  Written by another kayak sailor using the Flat Earth Kayak Sail, this blog contains a great posing titled Flat Earth Sails Fitting Instructions .  And of course Flat Earth Kayak Sails has some excellent instruction videos as well on it's website.

GnarlyDog prefers his sail lower and closer to the kayak, he says it helps with kayak stability in high winds (though Mick disputes this reason).  Aesthetically, I prefer the lower placed sail.  Below is a picture (I've cropped it a bit) taken from GnarlyDogs blog site that shows his Flat Earth sail mounted with the side stays ½ way up the mast, allowing the sail to be lower.  I'm not sure which method would create more stress.

There is also lots of talk on "The Sea Kayak Forum" regards kayak sailing  and sailing with a Flat Earth Sail.

I'm looking into a different mounting, but it’ll take some experimentation to make it work. I really love the simplicity of our CoreSound20 sailboat with it’s unstayed self-supporting masts. And I think simplicity is always best. So last weekend at the WaterTribe Challenge, I picked the best minds I could think off, people who are both excellent sailors, sailboat and kayak designers and builders; Matt Leyden (Wizard), Graham Brynes (Roo), Vladimir Eremeev (Crazy Russion) and my son both a sailor and engineer, Alan Stewart (SOS). Matt came up with an idea to try to set up a self supporting mast, that also can be easily raised and lowered, using struts, and he drew out a rough idea.  Further conversation with all above had them doing some fine tuning on the idea. Now it’s in Alan’s hands to help me make it happen.

In the meantime, because I’m pretty impatient, I’ll likely mount it Mick’s way (no cutting the sail for the stays), and get it on my NDK Explorer as quickly as possible. While Paul and I get the fittings on the deck of the new kayak, Alan will keep working on the design and implementation of the new mount. Stay tuned for further details.


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hello Sandy, I agree with Mick, a higher mount of the sail puts it into freer air. Low down near the waves, the windspeed is less and more turbulent.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy , Glad you like my sail, one corection, its more than just a down wind sail as im shore you will find out.
one coment on mounting it on a high or low mast , Iv yoused both it sets beter up higher and with the stays below the boom it runs beter, and its also a safty thing , you can let the sheet right out and loos all your wind (dont cut your sheet short!) sumthing you cant do with the stays from 1/2 way up the mast
also the ferther up the mast the stays are the more downword presher is placed on your deck.
Mick MacRobb
flat earth sails