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 Post subject: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 21st, 2016, 11:52 am 
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Any thoughts on solo sailing while tripping? Will be crossing some big lakes this summer on a big trip and a sail might come in handy. Have done some digging around on the subject and am not sure what would be best suited to my needs, if anything.

Buying something like a Falcon Sail rig looks very functional but without a rudder or dagger boards I wonder how good it would do sailing across or into the wind. I've also got a dog in the bow as well as gear that somewhat limits the placement. I'm afraid it would be more hassle than it's worth as I don't think it would be able to lie down as "out of the way" as it would on a kayak deck. It's also a very expensive downwind sail if that's the only way I'll be using it.

The other sail that's available for purchase is the much simpler and less expensive windpaddle sail. Lightweight, easy to stow and deploy, and really not in the way when stowed. Could portage the canoe without removing the sail. But in all the videos I see of people using the sail they're holding the control lines with their hand(s) meaning you can't paddle or do other things at the same time. I suppose they could be tied off with a quick release but many of the videos show the height of the control line being changed to keep the sail filled and any attachment points for the control line would have to be relatively low (gunwale).

Then there's the option of a DIY sail fashioned in the bush. Never done it but have been rolling the idea around in my head. What I mostly don't like about this plan is having to work with the rig solo. If the wind suddenly becomes too strong or I find myself in another situation where I need to take the sail down can I do that quickly and safely as well as maintain control of the canoe (steering)? Also worry about visibility as it will have to be right in front of me so I can reach it but I doubt I'll have any clear panels.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. I'm not dead set on sailing this summer but if it's something I can do safely and relatively easily I would like to take advantage.

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 21st, 2016, 4:19 pm 
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Hi Alan,
I'm a big fan of Windpaddle sails. I take one with me on all trips and it usually gets used, and sometimes a lot. It will get used if you've set up the attach points on the gunnels ahead of time, i.e. two loops of cord that the clips snap onto, and keep the folded sail handy, not stowed away in a pack. The design is simple, but brilliant. It's only for downwind sailing, but you can still grab winds from about 45 degrees behind. I usually stow it under my seat or in tandems under the bow seat. I have the small one which is max for safe sailing in a dedicated solo. In a larger tandem, however, I think the larger sail would be great. They are very light: under a pound.
The cord that you use to adjust the sail's orientation does usually require being held in one's hands. In steady cooperative breezes, however, I have managed to tie the cord off at the thwart leaving me completely free to snack, drink, daydream, and think about how lucky I am to be sailing. :) In perfect breezes paddling a tandem solo I've rigged the sail and proceeded to standup paddle with my SUP paddle. It makes for a glorious mixture of watersport technologies, jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
Anyway, I never leave home without it. They are kind of expensive, though, considering the materials used in their construction. You're paying for a brilliant concept, a mast-free pop-up sail that likes to flex with, and follow, the breezes. The other advantage is that the sail sits low above the hull, and can be dropped immediately when gusts become intimidating.
BTW, I'm still nursing thoughts of WCPP and the Bloodvein this summer, August if with my son, or September if solo.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 21st, 2016, 5:58 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
My top speed sailing in a canoe was about 18 kmph on the lower George River.

The "sail" was a rain jacket supported by a paddle and a stick!

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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 21st, 2016, 10:49 pm 
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Quote:
The cord that you use to adjust the sail's orientation does usually require being held in one's hands. In steady cooperative breezes, however, I have managed to tie the cord off at the thwart leaving me completely free to snack, drink, daydream, and think about how lucky I am to be sailing.


Good to know that it can be done in some conditions. Ideally I'd like to have a sail that would allow me to paddle and sail at the same time; especially in light winds. The now unavailable Spirit Sails look like they would have worked well for that purpose.

Quote:
My top speed sailing in a canoe was about 18 kmph on the lower George River.
The "sail" was a rain jacket supported by a paddle and a stick!


Not a bad point. I was thinking of ways to rig a DIY sail to be hands free but if my hands are going to be holding the control lines of a factory sail then I shouldn't expect the DIY version to be hands free. Hands-on would make it a lot simpler.

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2016, 1:00 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Alan Gage wrote:
Ideally I'd like to have a sail that would allow me to paddle and sail at the same time; especially in light winds. The now unavailable Spirit Sails look like they would have worked well for that purpose.


Some years ago I had the opportunity to try several of the downwind sail rigs in a head-to-head tripping test, including the QuiverSail, Pacific Action Sail, Windpaddle and Spirit Sail. For my solo boat tripping purposes the Spirit Sail was by far the best.

Small, light, compact, easy to install on the fly in the boat, no mast sticking up or battens lying retracted across the hull when the sail was down, carbon fiber battens that flex to spill sudden wind gusts for a smoother ride with fewer “Oh-shit” moments.

Alan Gage wrote:
Not a bad point. I was thinking of ways to rig a DIY sail to be hands free but if my hands are going to be holding the control lines of a factory sail then I shouldn't expect the DIY version to be hands free. Hands-on would make it a lot simpler.


Hands free if I don’t have a rudder is pretty important to me. I can plant a paddle blade as a rudder, or even as a small leeboard if needed. I can still paddle in light winds, or even power stroke on the downwind side for real speed. But more than any of that, when the boat gets moving and riding waves I really want to have a paddle in my hands. Even in a ruddered boat under good control I often hold a paddle, maybe just as a comfort item.

You can go hands free using sheets/lines, fairleads and cam cleats, but setting up and running the lines on the fly is a mess at best.

Making something DIY similar to the plug-and-play Spirit Sail is not only doable, most of the parts are readily available.

The Spirit Sail consists of three parts. The sail itself is simply the sail material, held in a V between foldable shock-corded carbon fiber battens. So, sail material, carbon fiber tubes that sleeve together, shock cord kit. Simple.

The base mount for the sail is a (was) simply a rebadged Scotty Rod deck mount. $8

http://topkayaker.com/index.php?main_pa ... ts_id=1030

That Scotty deck mount has a toothy arrangement in the center so that a rod holder (or etc) can be locked in place at 0, 30 or 60 degrees.

The missing and unavailable piece of a Spirit Sail is the Y connector that fits into that toothy base, so that the sail can be locked at 0, 30 or 60 degrees. That Y connector is no more; not a single Spirit Sail vendor I have found has one left. BTW, that piece, in the Spirit Sail design, does not float. Ask me how I know. Hence maybe why there are zero spares still in stock.

Scotty however does make a couple of accessories that fit in that base mount with the same 0, 30, 60 degree lock function.

The swivel fish finder post bracket and the universal sounder mount.

http://topkayaker.com/index.php?main_pa ... ts_id=1040

http://topkayaker.com/index.php?main_pa ... cts_id=166

One of those, perhaps beefed up top or bottom to accommodate V posts, sized to fit the interior diameter of some carbon fiber battens and you’ve got a hands free sail, in your choice of size or V angle.

Some articles that may be of interest, also from Tom’s Top kayaker site.

http://www.topkayaker.net/Articles/SurfSail/Sail.htm

“Converting the Primex Deluge Sail” (top of page) and “Do it yourself kayak sail instruction” (bottom of page) may be especially helpful.

Some dimensions if you decide to try making a hands free DIY sail. Spirit Sails came in two sizes, full size (17 SF) and mid-sized (8.5 SF).

The full size uses 6 ft battens, with two shock corded pole sections on each batten. It is a handful in any wind to get up or down, with lots of sail flailing around, and having the extra batten section on each pole to take apart and fold (while holding the first folded sections together) is awkward at best.

I just took a full sized SS out and unfurled it. Unfurling it was fine, but even standing at the windless shop bench it took me a couple of tries to get it properly folded, furled and put away. And that was with the sail battens already detached from the base and held in hand.

The other issue with the full sized Spirit Sail is that, for me, it is often too much sail. In double digit winds the 6 foot tall battens will flex so much that it can be difficult to remove the battens from the Y to collapse the sail.

In a 15-20 mph tailwind I’ve had the battens bent towards the bow at a held-steady 45 degree angle, with so much stress on the connector that I couldn’t rotate it to dump air and the following waves were big enough that I couldn’t afford to put the boat sideways, even briefly, to spill air from the sail.

All I could do was ride it out until a shallow sandy beach appeared where I could safely ground the boat. The second time I did that (yes, twice) I began to appreciate the force of the wind filling 6 foot carbon battens bent near horizontal. Nuh uh.

I still bring the full size and put it up in light winds, but I know to take it down before the breeze hits the teens.

The mid-sized SS uses 4 ½ foot battens with one shock-corded sleeve on each side. WAYYYY much easier to step and unfurl. With a little practice it takes me 10 seconds to set up or take down the sail, maybe 15 seconds if it is really windy. I can, and do, use the smaller sail in higher winds (10 mph provides a decent cruising speed, 15 is fun fast, 20 starts getting exciting) and have never had a problem turning the mount to spill wind and detach the sail.

I know you are a tricky devil Alan. I am sure you could DIY a hands free sail of your own design using a few manufactured pieces. $40 or $50 in parts and pieces for a small, lightweight piece of gear that can provide effortless propulsion? A good paddle can easily run quadruple that, and a small sail is a whole different arrow in the quiver.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2016, 1:05 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon
I have a friend (Jimmy MacDonald, for those from the prairies) who swears by the improvised rig with a tarp shown in Fig. 43 here: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.anc ... essup.html
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Every time I bring my Windpaddle sail I get headwinds or no winds. I have never really used it much and have pretty much stopped bringing it. I'll give it another try this summer.

Fastest I've sailed was about 12-14 kph (?) with 2 canoes lashed into a catamaran and a large tarp as our sail, heading downwind on Amisk Lake. Fun times. I don't think the other 3 guys knew how hard I was working on ruddering in the stern.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2016, 9:56 pm 
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Joined: November 7th, 2010, 4:35 pm
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Quote:
Hands free if I don’t have a rudder is pretty important to me. I can plant a paddle blade as a rudder, or even as a small leeboard if needed. I can still paddle in light winds, or even power stroke on the downwind side for real speed. But more than any of that, when the boat gets moving and riding waves I really want to have a paddle in my hands. Even in a ruddered boat under good control I often hold a paddle, maybe just as a comfort item.


The more I think about it the more I think you're right. I just don't like the thought of barreling downwind without the ability quickly turn or brace using the paddle.

Thanks for all the info and links. I'll certainly be mulling over a DIY solution but the trip draws near and there are many other things to be done as well.

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2016, 8:04 am 
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Joined: August 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
I have never used a sail but have used a golf umbrella quite effectively. So easy to pop up and down as you or the wind change directions.
We have used my nylon hammock propped on 2 paddles sailing down Wahwashkesh with 3 canoes. Got the thumbs up from a couple of sailors---that was fun.


I find big lakes a bit boring and on smaller lakes I need to change direction frequently. I guess a proper sail is useful for barreling downwind on a big lake.

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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2016, 12:38 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1662
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
My biggest complaint about the Spirit Sail, Wind Paddle and some other downwind sails is the “clear” vinyl window. The view through that smeary window leaves much to be desired. In order to see any detail or distance I have to turn the boat slightly to glance past the sail.

In the Spirit Sail design it would be far better to simply have a window void cut in the sail at eye level to provide a clear, unblurry view ahead. That void would not reduce the sail area by much, and a slightly higher or wider sail, up or out where it best catches wind not blocked by the paddler’s body, would more than compensate for the window void sail area loss and be easy to design.

I love the simple functionality of the Spirit Sail design, but I detest looking through that blurry vinyl window, especially when it is covered with rain or spray.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: June 30th, 2016, 9:11 pm 
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I went ahead and ordered a Windpaddle sail. The big dilemma was which one to get, the Adventure or Cruiser (bigger). From what I can see the Scout (smallest and cheaper materials) and Adventure used to be the same size, quality being the only difference. But sometime in 2015(?) the size of the Adventure sail was increased so now there actually is a small, medium, and large. I decided to go with the new, larger, Adventure sail (medium). It showed up Monday and the wind on the prairie promptly quit blowing.

At least until today that is. Nice cool breeze blowing out of the north and gusting 20-25mph. Went out to a small local lake this evening to give it a try. I just did one short downwind run, less than 10 minutes, but it worked well. Of course the batteries in the GPS were nearly dead but I got a readout for a few minutes at least.

It easily achieved 4.5 mph when the wind was still pretty light and being blocked by the shoreline. As I got farther down the lake speed increased to 5-5.5 mph and by the time I was getting close to the end higher wind gusts would pick it up to 6.5mph. Fun stuff.

I tried rotating the sail slightly to cut diagonally to the wind. It was hard to tell if I was really traveling on that angle or just being blown down the lake sideways. I'll have to try that again when I'm on a bigger lake where I can set, or try to set, an actual course. Either way cutting across the waves at an angle certainly made it more interesting but never did I feel like the sail made the boat much tippier.

The whole time I was sailing I had both hands on the paddle. No way would I want to attempt sailing on a big open lake with cold water (where I expect to be using it) without having both hands free. It took some pretty hard ruddering at times when the wind would gust to keep it going straight, especially when I tried cutting at an angle. I suppose with more practice I could get more comfortable with one hand on the control line and the other ruddering with the paddle.

Rather than having left and right control lines it's a single long line that connects to both sides of the sale so you hold the loop in the middle to keep the sail pointed straight or off to one side to angle it. A quick and simple solution to hands free control that seemed to work just fine was to put the loop behind my neck. Not uncomfortable, kept the control line sufficiently high, was quick and easy to slip off if needed, and left both hands free to steer or paddle.

De-powering was easy enough by either letting go of the control line so that it flopped forward and flat (my dog didn't like this move since it drops over her) or pulling it back towards you and letting it lay flat. This way gets in the way of paddling a bit and it feels like it wouldn't take much for the wind to catch it. But thankfully it was pretty quick and easy to fold and stow the sail so that it's secured and completely out of the way.

I can see where it could get a bit hairy trying to de-power and stow the sail in a hard wind with high seas. Both hands are occupied in the process of stowing the sail so you have no boat control. There were whitecaps on the lake tonight but it's a small lake with small waves so being broadside wasn't a big deal. Could get a little butt puckering on bigger water though.

The clear viewing panel doesn't do me a lot of good at the height I sit. I'm up high enough and the sail is low enough that I'm looking down through the window. I can see my dog's head, the bow of the canoe, and about 30' of water in front of me.

I like the sail. It's coming along on my big trip next month. Hopefully I'll get a chance to put it to good use.

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: July 1st, 2016, 12:32 pm 
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Alan Gage wrote:
I went ahead and ordered a Windpaddle sail. It showed up Monday and the wind on the prairie promptly quit blowing.


Congrats on joining the ranks of the Wind Killers. You are now assured many glass calm days in your future paddling. Or headwinds.

Alan Gage wrote:
The whole time I was sailing I had both hands on the paddle. No way would I want to attempt sailing on a big open lake with cold water (where I expect to be using it) without having both hands free. It took some pretty hard ruddering at times when the wind would gust to keep it going straight, especially when I tried cutting at an angle
A quick and simple solution to hands free control that seemed to work just fine was to put the loop behind my neck. Not uncomfortable, kept the control line sufficiently high, was quick and easy to slip off if needed, and left both hands free to steer or paddle.


Ish kabbibble, the control line around your neck? There has got to be a better solution. Sailing with a line around my neck would freak me out. Does the line need to he held that high?

Maybe just a deck hook (J hook) under the front edge of the seat or frame that you could use to hold the line.

http://topkayaker.com/index.php?main_pa ... cts_id=425

Or, for a higher line lock location, maybe a deck hook on both inwales? A hook on either side would be more visible and easily snare-able, and using two hooks might keep the sail angled when offset.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: July 1st, 2016, 3:04 pm 
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Quote:
Ish kabbibble, the control line around your neck? There has got to be a better solution. Sailing with a line around my neck would freak me out.

It gives me some pause for concern as well. I'll be trying other methods but last night it was all I had. If I dip my head it pops right off. But yeah, capsizing the canoe and coming up for air with a cat's cradle wrapped around my neck isn't appealing.

Quote:
Does the line need to he held that high?


It seemed to like it a bit higher. It was nice having the control lines that high since it interfered less with my arms and paddle. The thought of separating the lines into 'left' and 'right' and clipping them to hooks on the gunwales has crossed my mind but it also seems like they'd be in the way of arms and paddle, especially if you wanted to switch sides.

Another thought was a prussick on the factory looped control line. Sliding it left or right would help to properly orient the sail and leave only a single line to hold/attach. Maybe a loop of webbing around the shoulder strap of a PFD with a fastex buckle. The mating buckle would be on the end of the control line. That would let me easily adjust the control line length depending on the position of my sliding seat and should disconnect quickly and easily if need be.

Certainly more playing/experimenting left to do.

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: August 8th, 2016, 12:00 am 
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I brought mine to Haida Gwaii which ensured that we had only the lightest of breezes, except for the day with stiff head winds. :)

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: November 25th, 2016, 11:47 pm 
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Location: Huntsville Ont.
Alan, you may have looked here already.
http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php/135-Canoe-Sailing-and-Sailing-Canoes


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 Post subject: Re: Solo sailing
PostPosted: November 28th, 2016, 10:05 am 
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Joined: February 26th, 2009, 11:13 am
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Location: Eganville, ON
I had great luck with a small sail this summer. Easily hit 8-10km/hr across the wind, or slightly upwind. Poorer performance when heading straight downwind. Packs up the size of a Nalgene; not including the poles from the VCS tarp.

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 49&t=45345


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