T H E G R E E N L A K E P A D D L E R
EXPERIMENTAL MERIDIAN KAYAK SAILER
OH NO, NOT AGAIN ... HEADWIND
Am I getting old and weak or what ...the wind is driving me nuts lately.
Over the last few years something has changed in the weather ... the wind, usually coming from
the South - West has changed into a strong North - East version, particularly during the spring
season, probably a direct result from changing global weather patterns. Bad news as this is
for the planet as a whole, for me it's even worse. Now, as a I go out for a paddle, I start off
wind in the back, but the return run awaits me with a powerful headwind. Not nice, no.
Fighting a headwind feels just plain awfull when my energy levels have dropped in
zombie zone already. Something must be done to turn this blast into my favor.
LET'S SEE, AN OUTBOARD? NO ... KAYAK SAILING!
They are doing it everywhere ... but not in Holland, pigheaded Dutchman.
The kayak, an archaic Kirton Meridian is the subject of experimentation here. Some time
ago I've installed a through hull understern surfski style rudder just to find out if it would
do any good. It did in some respects, speed over a long run above all. As this boat
turned into a floating experimenting lab already, I thought ... what about going a
little further and add a collapsible sail. Time again to get the tools back out.
REINVENTING THE WHEEL, A DUTCH SPECIALITY
The Dutch are hard to convince, they first will reinvestigate, compare and go reinvent, but
foremost like to make things happen on the CHEAP! So me, being from Holland, got
to work. Polytarp is what I have used to make this sprit sail, old walking sticks serve
as mast and boom. Rubber hose, for the flexible mast to deck connection and a
surf sail batten is used as a sprit. Low stretch rope makes the stay, shrouds
the up and downhaul. Clam cleats where bolted down as anchor points.
The hull of the kayak was stiffened up on those locations, as well as
the underside of the front deck, to make it resist mast pressure.
POLYTARP COMES REAL CHEAP
The whole looks a bit wrinkly after being folded up, but it does the job just fine and ... Dutch
low cost. This is a just a first try, I have to do some more experimentation and sailing first
to come up with the final shape and set-up. Yes I know, it has been done before and
these things do exist already and are readily available over the internet counter
BUT ... at considerable ...
A chunk of nylon serves as an achor point for the shrouds and front stay. The mast consists
of two parts and the nylon ring rests on the lower section. For simplicity I went the two
shroud set - up to begin with, on the web I see double shrouded versions as well.
I wanted a back raked mast, so I did not opt for the shrouds to connect to
the very top, as that would cause too much of an interference for the
boom.There is about 240 degrees of free travel available now.
Boom to mast connection: A piece of LDPE plastic flattened ( heatgun ) and a hole for
the mast to pass through. As the yellow pipe is a soft plastic, the boom can swing
up for folding as well as rotate. The black line is the boom downhaul / vang .
No doubt, the clew can be improved upon, but for now this is what it is. Oh yes
I forgot to show the flexible mast to deck joint, I will add that later on.
So far so good, the kayak is making good upwind progress, this thing gives a real boost. Keeping
course is easy and surprisingly, this small sail points into the wind quite good. The wind here ( 4
Beaufort ) is coming in at ten O´clock. This is real fun indeed! Paddling upwind in turbo mode!
And not expected, the wind pressure in the sail makes the boat behave very steady indeed.
Archaic kayak on top of an Archaic car, and there is this rudder ... got to make
a post on the rudder one of these days, and explain how I've done that.
The Rudder part one
How the sail collapses See Here
And Sail assisted paddling Up-wind See Here
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A A R D V A N H O L L A N D . C O M