A Review of the Falcon Kayak Sail. Part 1: Installation

A Falcon Sail on the bow of a kayakI’ve been messing about with commercial and home-brew kayak sails for more than a decade, using them for both day trips and expeditions. After owning a Falcon Sail for nearly a year, here’s my take on the installation process (I’ll cover the sail’s performance in another post.)

To help you put my experiences in context, let me cop up front to being mechanically declined; I do a lot of hacks and mods to my kayaks, but I rarely get things exactly right the first time. So my first attempts at installing the sail involved many loud curses along the lines of “Come on, you Falcon thing!”

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A sail, a swim and a kayak self-rescue: doing the paddle float re-entry for real

The wind had been whipping in from the Strait of Georgia at 20 knots for several hours, carving the water into a bouncy succession of blue and white furrows. That made for a bit of a grunt paddling my sea kayak from English Bay out towards Point Grey, but also for a lively ride as my bow cleaved through each oncoming wave and slammed down into its following trough.

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Bagging A Bag Night

It’s been way too long since I’ve spent a night in a sleeping bag, so last Saturday afternoon I launched my kayak onto Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Park.

kayak deck compass with sail reflection

The inflowing anabatic wind was funnelled and accelerated into a strong breeze by the lakeside mountains. So I was able to sail and paddle-sail my way to the lake’s north end in about three leisurely hours. With blue skies above and the soft sighs of cats-paws on the water, it was lovely going. Continue reading

Kayak Sailing: Math and Magic

kayak sailingThe Math

Apparent wind speed — the wind you actually experience — is the real wind speed, plus or minus your speed against or away from it. So if I paddle my kayak at 3 knots* into a 9 knot headwind, I feel the resistance of a 12 knot wind working against me. “That’s OK”, I used to think. “I’m only paddling into it until I stop for lunch. Then I’ll be heading back, and I’ll get as much push home as I had drag on the way out.”

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