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New Video Yaaay!

April 21st, 2020 by

Hey there Kayaksailors! Here is a short video showing us kayak-sailing the Florida Keys. Click the “What’s New” link in the left to see it.

How Fast Is Your Kayak?

March 7th, 2018 by

Hi Everyone!  Below is a little video showing some fun kayak-sailing footage from Saint Joe Bay, Florida.  

Our good friend Joel is seen here moving right along in his Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. Fast? Indeed! The sailing performance is impressive.

It just goes to show how with the right rig, and in the right conditions, a relatively wide, roto-molded, plastic fishing kayak can cruise alongside a couple of composite sea kayaks. Normally on a paddling-only excursion, a boat like this would surely struggle to keep up. This is is just one of the many cool things about performance kayak-sailing.

I left the clip unedited so that you could get a better look at the rig, and how nicely it works. If you look closely at the main, you can see the tell-tales flying perfectly together, indicating proper sail trim. The camera angle shows the ample draft in the sail which is responsible for generating much of the power. The foiled leeboards are both angled back to shed seagrass. Also notice how he rigged his leeboard pushrods. Inserting them into the leading edge allows the rods to stay close to the gunnels. And, at the end of the clip you can see the main sail tuned with substantial head twist to lower the sail’s center of effort and make the rig more forgiving and easier to control.

On this day Patti, myself, and Joel sailed about eight miles in total, crossing the shallow, south end of Saint Joe bay. It was exceedingly fun with two extra long beam reaches! With a 12-18 knot south wind, the water remained protected by the peninsula’s lee shore and made for the perfect environment for some speedy paddle-sailing.

Joel’s rig is the all-white, polyester ripstop, Kayaksailor 1.6m² with genoa, mounted with the Railblaza, mounting kit. His boat is the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.

You can see Patti off in the background, sailing her 1.4m², reefed, with genoa. Patti’s boat is the Tahe Reval Mini LC.

Of course you can’t see me because I’m filming while sailing my Tahe Ocean Spirit. It was a bit challenging trying to keep the camera still while sailing in and out of Joel’s wind shadow, but I loved every second of it!

I hope you enjoyed the results. : )

Feel free to leave a comment.

Kayak Sailing the Florida Keys

October 5th, 2015 by

Here is another kayak sailing video for your viewing pleasure!    We hope you enjoy it.  🙂

Feel free to leave a comment.

This is Kayak Sailing!

September 24th, 2015 by

Hi Everyone!

Here is a fun little video I put it together just to get my feet wet using a new editing software (Final Cut Pro X).

A simple enough edit, though I did need to add some image stabilization.  As you can imagine it can be a bit challenging to hold the camera still while sailing (and smiling!) at the same time.

Patti is seen here sailing rudderless with the leeboards in perfect balance, nicely trimmed, with tell-tales flying.  Just cruising in the groove!

She is sailing her 1.4m² with the genoa on her Tahe, Reval Mini LC (490cm x 54cm beam).   And I’m filming (in her wind shadow) riding my Tahe, Ocean Spirit, also with a 1.4/genoa combination.  The location is the bayside of Cudjoe Key and we’re crossing Kemp Channel, heading out toward the Content Keys.

One of the amazing things about the Lower Key’s backcountry is the scarcity of boats.  Primarily it’s due to the vast amounts of shallow water and unmarked channels. You normally just see a few flats fishing guides and locals who know the water well enough to feel comfortable out there.  If you look closely during the beginning of the clip you can see a flats skiff off to the right slowing down to check us out.

What a day!  Perfectly steady twelve knots out of the NE, extra long beam reaches, and amazingly fun rides.

This is Kayak Sailing!

Coastal Oregon Fun

October 23rd, 2014 by

Hi everyone!
This is a transition month here in Hood River.  The predictably strong westerlies that sweep through the gorge all summer, begin to give way to the more variable winds of winter.

This is the time of year that Patti and I like to go camping on the Oregon coast.  While the weather is often unpredictable, the scenery is spectacular and always well worth the drive.   Below are some photos taken from a recent trip to Netarts and Nahelam bays.  These lovely bodies of water are about a two and a half hour drive from Hood River.  If we do our homework and time the tides correctly, the paddle-sailing can be amazing.  An incoming tide is the ticket.

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Here is Patti’s sweet new boat, beached a Nehalem State Park.  It’s a Tahe, Reval Mini LC.   Lots of rocker and  very lively under sail!

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Following Patti on a starboard tack across the bay.

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A dramatic rain squall descends on Netarts Bay.

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This is the sandy western shore of Nehalem bay.  Deb is in the water cooling off.   A dry suit is a wonderful piece of safety equipment, but it can sometimes get hot when the sun comes out.

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Pelicans and gulls just “chillin” on the Netarts Jetty.  A fancy house is seen in the background.

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There are few things more pleasant than gliding across a bay.

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Dan is seen here eeking out a very light breath of air near the boat ramp of Nehalem State Park.  You can’t see it in the photo, but giant Chinook salmon were jumping all around us.  It is the time of year that these mighty fish migrate up the rivers in huge schools to spawn.

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Yours truly, inside of the mouth of Nehalem inlet.  The surf was quite large this day.  Breaking over the inlet bar, the waves created large fields of sea foam to play in.   It’s kind of like kayaking in a giant bubble bath!

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Here we are sailing on a close reach across Netarts.  We saw the fog in the distance rolling, like waves in from the ocean, blanketing the southern end of the bay.

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This was the perfect spot to take a  lunch break, just inside Nehalem inlet.

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Sea life and salt air.  Ahh…

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The drive home.  Daisy is keeping an eye out for chipmunks on the road.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.  🙂

We hope  you enjoyed the photos.

Fair Winds and Happy sailing!

Sun Dreams

December 18th, 2013 by

Hi everyone!  Here is a new video.   Yaaay!!

If you haven’t tried creating a video with movie making software yet, we highly recommend it.  It’s super fun.

Patti and I always try to have a camera on us while we are out on the water.  It’s amazing how often we see beautiful things while sailing.   Whether it’s simply sea creatures going about their day, or the way reflections of light dance on the ripples, being on the water seems to capture the imagination.  At least it’s this way for us.

Several companies make small, affordable, waterproof cameras that are easy to use.  Most people have seen the GoPros but there are many models available to choose from.  We like to use cameras with an easy to see LCD screen on the back so we can see what we are shooting.    Ours reside inside the chest pocket of our PFDs, where they’re leashed with a thin bungee cord to that little clip that is designed to hold your car keys.  And, since our sails do most of the work, we can set our paddles down and capture that special image or scene with just a moments notice.

We hope you enjoy watching this video and look forward to seeing yours soon!

Feel free to leave a comment.

If you’d  like, subscribe to the blog in the right hand column to receive our new posts via e-mail the moment we post them.

Smiles,

David and Patti

Sailing with Leviathans

November 21st, 2012 by

This Summer we traveled to northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia to do some exploring.  It’s an amazing place to paddle-sail with vast amounts of protected water and abundant sea life.

Sailing with the humpback whales was a completely new experience for us.   Witnessing the sheer size and power of these amazing creatures, especially in such beautiful surroundings, left us in awe and profoundly changed.

I’ll try to describe the experience, even though my words can’t do it justice.

You are paddle-sailing in a beautiful deep bay.  We’re surrounded by the distant cry of gulls, and the gentle, rhythmic sound, of sea water, lapping against the hull.  The sky is a soft hazy blue.  Around us, are gently rounded evergreen mountains that seem to be reaching up to the cottony clouds, which appear to be slowly moving from west to east.   The weather is mild, tee shirt weather.  The sun is on your cheek and you are very comfortable, sitting in your kayak, happily sailing along, intermittently humming that tune that’s been stuck in your head ever since hearing it this morning.

To your left, you notice some movement.  A bald eagle leaps off a high tree limb, causing it to spring back with the release of its substantial weight.  It flies along the shoreline with powerful wings flapping intermittently.  The glide is graceful with wings, outstretched.   It may be searching  for a salmon, or heading back to the nest. you don’t know, but as it soars, your eyes follow, and across the water, in the distance, you think you see the lingering spout of a whale.  A faint misty-white line that shoots high into the air, slightly swirling at the top.  It looks just like that drawing of the whale you remember seeing as a child.  That’s pretty cool.  Which way is it moving?   Then, searching for another, you see something on the surface of the water near Patti’s boat.  A log?  The head of a sea-lion?  Maybe a harbor seal — you can’t tell.  Then it disappears without a ripple.  Probably a seal, you think.  Patti shouts,  “Did you see that seal?  It was checking me out.  I think she is curious about the sail.  She’s been following me for a little while”.
A steady breeze has been blowing for the last several minutes and you’re holding an nice beam reach of about five knots.  It’s easy sailing.  The air is warm.  It smells slightly of brine.  Just then . . . you feel . . . a sensation.  It’s primal, like the feeling you get when you know that you are being watched, and look up just in time to see someone staring at you.  Suddenly, the surface of the water bulges to your left and a huge whale rises from the depths and blasts out a loud, long exhalation of breath.  PHOOOOOOOH!!   A powerful breath, a mammal’s breath, a really big! mammal’s breath.  You’re startled, frozen in a moment of shock, not sure what to do even if you could do anything.  The breath sounds oddly familiar, almost human, like the sound you make when coming up to the surface, after trying to swim the entire length of the pool underwater, only it’s much louder, and deeper.  The moment passes in slow motion.  Then, the inhalation, the blowhole closes, and the creature gracefully submerges.   Wow!!  is all you can say.  Wow!… Wow..  Did you… see that..?  Did you see that?  Did the whole world see that?!!   We look at each other and smile in amazement. Wow.  Awesome.

Experiences like this shock us into connection with our surroundings, instantly transporting us to a place where we are aware.  We look at the birds and the trees, and everything for that matter, with new eyes.

I’ve thought much about our whale experiences in British Columbia.  After researching the topic, and in retrospect, we probably should have made more of an effort to avoid being in the path of the whales, for their protection as well as ours.  We have since learned that staying a minimum distance of 200 yards away is prudent.  It’s actually a law in Canadian waters.

Even though these are baleen whales, which feed on very small sea creatures by sifting water through the baleen filter, I could not help thinking of the Jonah story, especially when one would surface nearby with its mouth wide open!

The thought of a whale the size of a bus lifting our boats into the air is not very appealing.  But in truth, we never felt threatened by these intelligent creatures, though more than once they unexpectedly surfaced near enough that it indeed caused a startle.

When immersed in the sounds made by the rippling water being parted by the bow, or feeling the sensations of the sea breeze quietly whispering in your ear in a way that only the sea air can, you feel you are observing the true nature of things.  Which is, of course, that we are part of a bizarre, energy-filled, and incredibly beautiful system.

 

Natural environments seem to have a way of conveying this.   While the gentle breeze whispers it to you, finding a whale next to your boat shouts it loud and clear!

 

 

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.
Please feel free to leave a comment.  We love hearing from you.

Fair winds and happy sailing!

Springtime in the Gorge

May 15th, 2012 by

Springtime has finally arrived in the Northern Hemisphere!  Even though it has been a relatively mild La Nina Winter in Oregon, with some spectacularly sunny days mixed in with the normal clouds and misty rain of our wet season, we welcome the sun and warmth with open arms. 

It has been quite a while since my last blog post so I will do my best to fill you in on what we have been up to.

Patti’s truck with Spring back orders ready to ship

Patti and I have been hard at work answering e-mails and building sailing rigs for kind people all over the world.  We thank each and every one of you for your support.  People are starting to find out about us!

On the weekends and after work we’ve been trying to squeeze in as much paddle-sailing as possible. 

Orchard in bloom

You may not know that the sail loft is located in the lower half of an old farm house.  We rent the house from a local orchardist and live upstairs.   The place is surrounded by thirty beautiful acres of pear trees, and for a few weeks each Spring the blossoms transport us into a magical wonderland of cottony beauty.   We enjoy this time of year very much.  As an added bonus, the loft is only a few  minutes from a terrific launch site on the Columbia River.

Patti and I have been having fun paddle-sailing in the Columbia.   Our new skin boats are a real pleasure to sail. 

For some reason Springtime seems to activate an instinctual fishing gene in some people.  I’m not sure why, but the vernal change has this effect on me as well.   On Saturday, while Patti dug up soil in our food garden, I felt compelled to head up to our local mountain lake for some trolling.

This small but lovely body of water holds a healthy population of rainbow and native bull trout, both of which respond well to trolled flies.

One of the tricks to trolling under sail is being able to control ones boat speed.  It’s often easiest to regulate the speed of trolled baits while sailing to windward.  By turning a boat up-wind and sailing on a very close reach, the boat speed will decrease.  To pull the bait faster, one just needs to bear off the wind until the desired speed is reached.  For trolling on a beam reach, a simple adjustment to the main sheet is often all that is required.  The sheet may need to be let all the way out in order to keep the boats speed slow enough for trolling.  I find that sheeting the sail all the way in, and effectively stalling the foil, can also be a good way to reduce speed, especially if heading down wind.  This “stall” technique  goes against most sailboat racer’s instincts, but for fishing, especially for slower fresh water fish, a slow speed is often needed.

Can you see the nest?

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day with a clear sky and unseasonably mild temperature.  One of the attributes of this little lake is an audible purity that results from a total absence of motorized craft.  The only sounds that I could hear was the gentle swish my paddle blade dipping into the water, the occasional trout splashing on the surface, and a chirping song of ospreys (fish hawks).  I could clearly hear what sounded like two baby ospreys calling from a nest high in a tree on the west bank.  It seems that some ambitious bird lover had somehow climbed to the top of this incredibly tall tree and nailed together a wooden nesting platform for them.

What a relaxing day.  There was one tense moment though.  It happened just after I hooked a fish.  It’s funny how crazy things seem to happen at the moment of hook up.  I can remember several occasions while flats fishing in the Keys, when a hungry shark would apear as soon as I hooked into a big fish.  And then there was the time my pants fell down while fighting a big bluefish on Long Island, but that’s a story for another time.  Anyway, back to Saturday.  Where was I, oh yeah, so I turned the boat into the wind and had just started reeling in this nice little trout when, with the corner of my eye, I saw momma osprey diving down from a nearby tree top with her wings folded back and talons extended, aiming for my fish!  In a moment of heightened awareness I thought, oh no! she is going to take off with the fish!   I immediately called out in an alarming  yell,  YAAH! YAAH!,  in an attempt to break her concentration.  At the very same moment I was trying to push away the thought of trying to reel in a fish hovering several meters above my head.  Luckily, the scare tactic worked and she broke off her dive at the last possible moment.  Whew..  That was too close.    The fish came to the boat quickly and I released it back into the clear blue depths.  Needless to say we were both relieved.

After a leisurely drive home I arrived to find Patti covered head to toe in soil with a big smile on her face.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

By the way, we plan on taking some fun high wind paddle-sailing videos this season and maybe even some paddle-sailing instructional videos, so stay tuned.  And, please feel free to subscribe to this blog if you haven’t done so already.  There is a subscription link in the right hand column.

Cheers!

 

A Day on Netarts Bay

November 3rd, 2011 by

In an act of spontaneity, Patti and I took a drive to the coast.  Every now and again we need to get our gills wet in the salt water.  There is something about the sea that helps us feel connected.  Grounded so to speak, except for without the ground. ;D

The Oregon coastline is a notoriously rough place for small craft with few protected bays and harbors to escape the pounding surf.  There are a few though.  This day we decided to explore a protected place called Netarts Bay.  I’s just a few miles south of the town of Tillamook.

What a glorious Autumn day!   We arrived and immediately set out to find a good launching spot.  One was found just inside the mouth of the bay and since the tide was just beginning to ebb and a strong outbound current was building, we decided to work against the current into the bay instead of heading out to the mouth.  Tidal rips can be amazingly strong here in the Pacific Northwest and a thorough respect for them is essential for safe navigation.

We are always hoping for good wind and today looked perfect.  But, as luck would have it, as soon as the boats were slid into the water the breeze died off almost completely,  Oh well..  We always have the paddle.  Actually, we really love paddling, especially when the water is flat calm and has a mirror finish on it.   Paddle-sailing just has a special place in our hearts.

The boats glided silently in the clear water.  Scallops could be seen on the bottom and occasionally small fish spooked from the gently swaying eel grass beds as we passed overhead.  A variety of diving ducks and sea lions performed their disappearing acts around us and all was quiet except for a distant rumble of surf and the occasional call of a gull.

It was truly a delightful afternoon and we are happy to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy the video.

Sailing 101, Holding a Course and Life

October 6th, 2011 by

Having a destination or goal and holding a course to reach it is an essential part of sailing as well as an essential part of navigating our own lives.

Sailing teaches us many important things about life – respect, persistence, and the ability to adapt to changing situations just to name a few.  But one of the most important is learning about choosing a destination and understanding the steps necessary to get there.  The Roman philosopher Seneca is reported to have said:

If man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.

This quote obviously speaks of the benefits of having goals in life, but part of the significance and power of this eloquence is that it is based on an aspect of sailing reality.   If sailors haphazardly change the direction of their craft, the wind always appears to be coming from different angles, and therefore the sails are always in the wrong state of trim.  This requires maddening sail trim adjustments and can make it appear to the poor helmsman that the wind is always working against them.

The idea of having a destination and choosing a course to get  there is a simple one, but to many novices at the helm, a myriad of distractions make it easy to lose focus of the intended direction of travel.  Wind gusts, currents, boat traffic, among others can often be happening simultaneously and require extra focus.

Not only is it important to have a destination goal but one often needs several sub-destination goals to get there.   Sailing to a windward destination may require several close reaches on different tacks to reach the desired destination.  Each of these tacks requires a different course to be held.   An ideal destination or goal should be something fixed, like a house on shore, or an anchored buoy.  It’s easier to steer and trim sails while one is traveling towards a non-moving target.  Destination goals should also be realistic and within reach, no pun intended.

As in life, courses often need to be adjusted on-the-fly – winds shift, tides change, storms occur, etc.    Skilled sailors are able to make smart rapid course adjustment decisions easily.  For example, they will instantly recognize a wind shift and use it to their advantage to bring them to a windward destination by either changing tacks or by using the shift to allow them to point closer to their destination.  Adapting to change is part of the fun dynamic nature of sailing.

Destinations and courses are important keys to sailing and to living life, but to people who truly enjoy both, the real joy comes not from the reaching of the destination, but from the process of traveling to it.    So, keeping that in mind, let’s all get out there, set a course and have some fun!

A Beautiful Evening for Paddle-Sailing

September 19th, 2011 by

I just want to share with you this little video we put together that shows how nicely Patti’s new boat sails.

The footage was taken on the Columbia River at our local sailing site in 5-12 knots of wind.

It truly was a beautiful evening for a paddle-sail!   Hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

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