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Columbia River kayak sailing is great fun

Southwest Sea Kayak Symposium

June 7th, 2011 by

Here are some photos we took during our trip to the Southwest Sea Kayak Symposium in San Diego California March 25-27.  This is a first-rate event put on by Aqua Adventures. http://www.aqua-adventures.com/
The wind we scheduled weeks before arrived right on time and we paddle-sailed with some of the nicest people on the planet!
Hope you enjoy the photos.

Paddle-Sailing the Delta 15.5

June 7th, 2011 by

Winter sailing here in Oregon is  somewhat limited due to the cold.  Even in dry suits it can be chilly.

So, I decided to put together a short video to remind us of summer sailing.

This movie shows Patti, myself and Mark Hall from Delta Kayaks, performing sea trials with the Kayaksailor 1.4m² and Mark’s own Delta 15.5.

We spent a glorious afternoon filming last summer at Pitt Lake near Mark’s home in Vancouver, British Columbia.   There is something about sailing near large mountains that really appeals to me.   Perhaps it comes from spending a lifetime of sailing in places that were,  let’s say…..  geologically compromised.

As you probably already know from watching our instructional videos,  we recommend attaching the rig with the under-the-hull strap and some packaging tape for doing the sea trials.  You can see the tape and strap in some of the shots.

The sailing was spectacular, what a nice hull/sail combination.   The boat is comfortable, stable and maneuverable, a real treat to sail.  She is very fast for her size and seems to move through the water effortlessly.   There is also that prominent eye-catching sheer line, which in my mind adds to her visual appeal.

Hope that you enjoy watching the video.

Cheers!

 

 

Dancing Through Your Jibes

June 7th, 2011 by

A jibe (gybe) is a sailing maneuver that occurs when a vessel is steered off the wind (down wind) until the sail flips from one side of the vessel to the other.

Of all the sailing maneuvers, the jibe is the most exciting and challenging.  In addition to being a functional way of transitioning the sail, a properly executed jibe is  beautiful and fun to watch.  That said, a poorly executed one is clumsy and can leave one swimming in the water scratching their head, wondering what went wrong.

Many sailors are uncomfortable with jibes because they react to the jibe instead of preparing and controlling it.
If the helmsman of a small craft allows the sail to jibe on its own, they find themselves in a situation where they must shift their weight quickly in order to stabilize their craft.  This is  especially true in adverse wind and sea conditions.

A simple solution is to initiate the jibe before it occurs on its own.

It may be helpful to think of a sailor and their sail as ballroom dance partners.
When dancing, one takes the lead and the other follows.  The lead takes control and guides their partner through the moves.  The result is an almost magical series of  transitions where two appear to move as one.

When jibing, take the lead role!  Guide the sail through the jibe by choosing the exact moment the sail will cross to the other side.  This way there is ample time to prepare to shift one’s body weight  prior to the sail’s transition.

Here are the steps:

1)  Prepare for the jibe by taking the main sheet in your hand, un-cleating it, and letting the sail out as far as it will go.

2)  Steer the craft off the wind until the bow is just a few degrees past the downwind position.

3)  In one quick, fluid step, pull the sheet in and let it out on the other side as far as it will go.

In this last step, the speed at which the sail is sheeted in and let out is crucial.  Stronger winds require faster motions.

Using this technique will result in a graceful choreographed maneuver.

Have some fun and dance!

 

Note:
For all you big boat sailors out there, you may have noticed that the technique for jibing a kayak or canoe is a little different than jibing a larger sailing vessel. On larger vessels the method for jibing involves sheeting in the sail prior to the jibe and then letting it out on the other side only after the sheeted sail has filled with wind.  This is not only done to keep crew member’s heads on top of their shoulders, but it is also an important way to reduce the amount of stress subjected to the rigging.  Since the boom on the Kayaksailor  is located in front of the paddler and the rigging is robust,  there isn’t a need to use this technique. Plus, using it often results in unwanted heeling.  With the Kayaksailor, the easiest way to keep the boat stable during a jibe is to pull the sail quickly from one side to the other.

See you out on the water!

Balancing the Leeboards

June 7th, 2011 by

leeboard balance

Having a balanced life is a key to happiness. Having a balanced rig is a key to happy sailing.

Sailing a properly balanced rig is a wonderful experience. Holding a course becomes easy, steering is predictable, controlled and requires little effort.

So, what is a balanced rig?

Balance is the relationship between the center of effort in the sail and the center of lateral resistance in the keel, centerboard, or in this case leeboards.

If you are not familiar with these terms, the center of effort is a site on the sail that represents the center of the total sail area. It is the spot that the sail pulls from when it is full of wind. The center of lateral resistance is the center of the leeboard surface area that is underwater. Since the leeboards are pivoted fore and aft, the center of lateral resistance can be moved fore and aft.

This is where balancing comes in.

Balancing the leeboards basically involves setting the angle of the leeboards so that the center of resistance lines up with the sails center of effort.

If the leeboards are too far forward, the center of effort of the sail will be behind the leeboard’s center of resistance, causing the stern of the vessel to slide down wind. The result is that the boat will want to turn into the wind.  A sailor at the helm refers to this unbalance as “weather helm”.   On the other hand, If the leeboards are too far back, the center of effort of the sail will be forward of the leeboard’s center of resistance, causing the bow of the boat to be pulled downwind.   A vessel having this downwind unbalance is said to have “lee helm”.

A properly balanced rig will allow a non heeling craft to sail in a straight line with minimal input from the helmsman.

A certain amount of steering can also be accomplished by changing the leeboard’s position.  To steer upwind, the leeboard is moved forward.   To steer down wind, the leeboard is moved aft.  This is especially useful if a craft does not have a rudder or skeg. Leeboard steering is most effective when sailing on a beam reach (90 degrees to the wind) or on any reach closer to the wind, and least effective on reaches off the wind. When running directly down wind, leeboard steering will not work at all.

On the Kayaksailor, the balanced position occurs on most hulls when the leeboards are pivoted back about 25 degrees from vertical.

So, the next time you are out on the water, play with the leeboard position and try using the boards to help you steer.

Most of all, find time to kayak-sail more often.   Remember, balance is the key!

David Drabkin

Illustration by Dan Drabkin http://www.dandrabkin.com/

Fun!

August 3rd, 2010 by

On Sunday we paddle-sailed nine miles down wind on the Columbia from Viento State Park to Hood River. Here is a short video. We are both using a Pakboats XT-15 with a reefed 1.4. Lots of super fun swell rides! I need to work on some sort of helmet camera mount, so I can paddle into the swells and film at the same time. Enjoy the ride.

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