|Flat Earth-zeil with me paddlesailing, Waddensea, the Netherlands|
|Flat Earth-zeil with me paddlesailing, Waddensea, the Netherlands|
A mighty trip with four kayaks on Lake Erie in the USA, all equipped with a Falcon sail. Seen from the aft of Patrick Forresters kayak, the owner of Falcon Sails. It's not an easy trip. Another kayaker is fiddling with his sail, so the others have to stand by for a while. Fortunately, they all have a waterproof VHF.
Then they all continue in a strong wind and quite some waves in an endless journey. This recording lasts more than half an hour and shows exactly what it is like to paddlesail on open waters. Most courses are on a beam wind, occasionally just downwind. At the end, Forrester deliberately jibes a few times by swinging his hips. A jibe is often inevitable if you want to steer with the wind in your back to the side where your sail is standing. If you do nothing, the wind will automatically creep up behind the sail while steering, causing the sail to turn over to the other side at once. With a hip swing you can provoke this a little earlier in a more controlled fashion.
Watch this movie on your laptop on a big screen and enjoy.
|Photo: Marianne R.|
The first test of my new homemade sail. Saturday, April 3, 2021, on the IJsselmeer (the Netherlands), on the way from Makkum to Workum. Wind force a big 4, north-northwest. The sail worked fine. I was mainly using my paddleblade as a rudder and hitting the brakes to stay close to the group, barely paddling. My fellow kayakkers had to work a little harder but also had fun on the surf. Measurements taken by a fellow navigator showed us we achieved an average of 12 km/h on large sections. Some other day I will test my sail on an upwind course, hopefully as close as 35 degrees off the wind.
It was a beautiful trip, despite the cold, with a sleeping bag that was too thin at the campsite. Further details about the sail are in the post below.
Voila, my own homemade sail has just been finished. Based on a kind of Flat Earth Foot Loose. But more like Flat Earth's copy, the Sea Dog sail. Also a footloose, so without a flap under the boom and loosely fitted between the mast and the tip of the boom.
It was a tedious job putting it together, for which many thanks to my wife who really learned the sewing craft.The twin batten sail is not flat, but has a certain curvature. Maybe a little too much. For the connoisseurs:
Bottom panel: camber 10 cm, draft position 25% from the mast (panel 0.95 m long)
Second panel: camber 10 cm, draft position 25% (panel 0.90 m long))
Third panel: camber 5 cm, draft position 15 %
Fourth panel: no camber, no draft.
I would give my next sail a little less camber. It feels as if the battens create enough camber already. Also I am not yet satisfied with the tension of the two battens. They are former sail battens from an old windsurf sail. These battens may not be rigid enough.
The first test on the Kralingse Plas in my hometown Rotterdam was very promising. But due to the trees and changing wind direction I could not really judge how close the sail could get upwind. I reached 35 degrees, sometimes 40 degrees, probably because of the constantly changing wind direction. The heeling force seemed to be between that of a Falcon sail and a Flat Earth sail. At Easter, the real test follows during a tour on the large open IJsselmeer. That's where the more consistent winds rule.
See also my previous posts about <link> 'Tinkering with sails yourself.'
Finally the one and only best way to lower your mast has been developed. By me 😀. It's an almost stand alone mast with no shrouds, except ofcourse one uphaul line. It all looks very neat, although the sail is on old stretched out Flat Earth-sail that can easily be replaced by a Falcon-sail or whatever. I normally use this Flat Earth for very strong winds because it has the least heeling force. Also the least propulsion but in stormy conditions that's just fine.
|The well known system of Flat Earth with the tiller mastbase and all shrouds. |
|The quarter 'pizzabox' in progress. Made of steam bent plywood and laminated with polyester and expoxy. The opening will surface flush through the deck.|
So in the deck there is a slot in which the mast can turn up and down. A single forestay is required to raise and lower the mast. And to keep the mast upright in the box while paddlesailing, especially on a down wind course.
The hinge for the mast consists of a strong but thin Dynema line that runs through two flat D-ring mounted on the deck and runs forward around the mast to hold it up. This line prevents the mast from falling forward and also keeps the mast in place when lowered. A normal steel hinge with hard protruding parts is out of the question because rescuers doing an X rescue would scratch their own deck on such a chunk of steel.
Placing the box is no sinecure. The bottom of the box is again cast in epoxy - just like the pipe - for which a container is first made of two plywood partitions that fit on the keel and a few inches upward against the sides of the kayak. This will act as a container to poor in the epoxy. Don't forget to apply some bubbling glue along the seams or duct tape, otherwise the epoxy will oose out. The box is then laminated to the slot in the deck. All in all, this cannot be done from the manhole. It's too far back to reach the whole work of art. That's why I cut out quite a bit of the deck with a grinder. Than I laminatd the box on the bottomside of the deckpiece and placed the entire construction back in place with the bottom part of the pizzabox sinking into the container filled with epoxy.
|This hole looks bigger the in reality because of the optical illusion caused by the camera lens. The old base of the pipe is still visible. I grinded and chiseled it out later on to make room for the pizzabox. |
Finally I closed the seams around the deckpiece with polyester and epoxy and sanded it flush. This can be done from the manhole. I didn't apply any topcoat. You never, ever get the colour right. Besides, all the seams were to be covered with keelstrip. ,This gives the whole construction a steardy 'designed' appearance. As if the kayak manufacturer built the boat this way.
My 'invention' isn't entirely new. In fact, this system is as old as Methuselah. Copied from the old Dutch tjalks and clippers that often had a stepped mast to the bottom, although with additional stays. When lowering, the bottom of the mast turned through the deck. This bottompart had a counterweight so that the skipper could lower and raise the mast with one fingertip. The slot through the deck was sealed with a cover plate wedged in place. In my case, I just leave the slot open. Less than half a liter of water goes into the pizzabox.
Of course, this system is impossible for the novice kayak sailor who buys a ready-made set and wants to sail immediately. Yet I firmly believe in the simplicity of an upside-down pizzabox. It saves a lot of junk on deck due to the lack of two sidestays and two backstays. It all looks a lot better. In the future, I hope a manufacturer can make a ready-to-use plastic pizzabox with a flanged rim that extends over the deck. This edge can be glued or bolted. A few wedges in the bottom of the boat will also hold the box down below. That saves a lot of work and you do not have to grind open part of the deck to access it.
Perhaps this system is worth incorporating into a new kayak model with pre-molded inverted pizzabox in the foredeck. That would be the first kayak that is specially designed for kayak sailing. So not an ordinary kayak that will be tinkered with afterwards.
A ready made version in plastic could look like this (below), with a flange that fits on any deck, bolted down with rubber kit in between as a sealant. It wouldbe a lot easier than a wooden box carefully laminated to the deck, like I did.
Every now and then I come across nice movieclips of paddle sailing. I collect them, below. The list will grow longer. Preferably open the links with the facebook option. Lots of fun!