I’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!”
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.
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.
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 →
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.”