First Sail with the Crab-Claw Rig Kayak

This is the video of my first trip with the Gumotex inflatable kayak on the Solway Estuary using the design of the Polynesian catamaran rig. There is less stress on the boat in a jibe and easily erected and carried.


Hoisting the Masts: On Kayak and Sail Boat

I put the mast up on the Hurley Felicity about 2 weeks ago during a flat calm, no wind was stirring. My sister came at 6am and we went down to the mooring and got her ready for the lifting. I had a new idea of using a series of pulleys for hoisting the mast. These pulleys were connected to the fore-stay and the sheet was led back to the cockpit. The idea was to raise the mast by hand as far as I could lift it then use the pulleys to hoist her fully up. My sister was there just to see that if it lent one way she would correct it, it was a trial and error situation. It did not work!! The pulleys kept on getting jammed, i adjusted them so the sheet stayed on the wheels, but they kept on jamming. In the end i asked my sister to pull on the fire-stay and the mast went up easy enough!

Then we had gales so the the next week I could not do any sailing, the winds did not abate and I decided to try out my design of the Lateen rig on my Gumotex kayak. I had been designing and building a rig over the winter. The sail was made from tarpaulin and i had a short un-stayed mast. When hoisted the sail sat at 45degrees to the hull with little head room clearance. The foot of the sail had a spar.

My first tempt was a success, she sailed Ok, the winds were slight and there was a few days of quiets winds, excellent conditions for the first sail. It took me ages to set up, but when hoisted I found she was good sailing down wind on a run, and tacking into the wind she was Ok. One difficulty I had was when sailing on a tack I would use the paddles as a rudder so I needed 2 hands to control the paddle and also to control the main-sheet. This was a problem as either the main-sheet could not be adjusted efficiently or the paddle was not stable.

The latest sail was done over a 2 day period, I slept on the Felicity and tried out the kayak during the day. I changed the sail so the yard was close to the small mast pointing upward, brought into the top of the mast by a pulley. I fixed the bottom of the yard to the middle of the mast. I also strengthened the mast by fixing a bunji cord as a fore-stay. This helped me to hoist the sail in close to the mast without it moving too much and for the mast to get in the way of the paddle and my face! With the yard vertical the spar and sail had enough clearance for me to use the paddle in a more effective way. Also I cleated the main-sheet so I could paddle/steer off the wind so I could have the sail working in conjunction with the paddle, sometimes I would stop paddling other times I would steer and other times I would paddle…or drop the sail if it became in-effective.