The following was generously contributed by Rebecca
Heap. She has offered the plans and concept as "Public Domain" so
anybody can make one, but retains the copyright on any commercial production.
Please respect this and manufacture for your personal use only.
The 'Heaps of Fun Company' Kayak Sail
Paddling in the City of
Sails has the major advantage that on virtually every tip there will be some
wind. In 1995 I decided to make the most of that wind and designed the following
sail. It has proven to be very popular and successful as it is safe as well
as cheap and easy to make. Guaranteed to make your kayak go like a rocket downwind
up to 40 degrees either side!
Nylon - 1.5m x 150cm wide
nylon cord - approx 5m
- 20cm of 25mm wide
6 or 8 mm - approx 0.6m
Class E PVC pipe x 2
5mm - approx 2.5m
peices for 15mm pipe x 2
Canes 1.2m long x 2
capes to fit over pipe x 2
Stainless shackles x 2
dog clips 2 x 12mm, 1 x 20mm
and bolts (see note below)
There are two techniques
- either sewing as given below or use seamstick which is a 3M product used by
sail makers. It is like double sided sticky tape and you won't need to do any
sewing at all.
- Draw the sail pattern into the ripstop nylon using the
dimensions shown and cut it out. Using the off cuts make up two strips 12cm
wide and about 1.7m long for the mast pockets.
- Fold over a 1cm hem on top and bottom of sail, pin and
- Hem the ends of the mast pockets then fold mast pockets
in half lengthwise and pin down each side of sail. Sew allowing a 1cm seam.
Reinforce the tops of the pockets if desired to reduce wear. Sew across tops.
- Half way down mast pockets, cut a hole 8cm long and 4cm
wide to allow guy lines to be tied to the mast.
- To make velcro sail tie, overlap 2cm of the fuzzy side
with 2cm of the hooky side to make a long strip. Place a 20cm length of cord
across the join between the two pieces and sew together. The cord is used
to hol the tie to a convenient saddle.
- Cut a 5mm ring off the end of each mast and cut across
to make a split ring. Glue these with pipe cement or Uhu to the masts about
2cm up from where the bottom of the hole in the mast pocket is positioned.
They will stop the guy lines sliding down.
- Find some bamboo canes about 1.2m long that are a tight
fit inside the pipe (the split rings are a good thing to take to the garden
center to use to test the diameter!). These reduce the amount of flex in the
pipe - dowel or other ridged material will also work.
- Glue or tape end caps on.
- Insert masts into pockets on sail.
- Fibreglass and Kevlar boats will require the addition of
two saddles 25cm apart just forward of the front hatch. Puffins have these
saddles already, and plastics like the Penquin and Squall can have the footing
tied around the mouldings where the deck lines go.
- Make the foot as shown in the diagram. It is essential
that the hose betweeen the tee pieces forms a tight fit so that the foot is
not sloppy. Wrap with high density foam to avoid scratching the deck. You
may need to build up the foam if you have a flat decked boat like a Spectrum
or one with a steep pitch like the Squall so that the sail opens nicely -
try first and see.
- Using the 6 or 8mm bungee loop it either round a saddle
or deck moulding (or shackles) then through the hose and tie off round the
other saddle or deck mounting. You will need to pull it up very tight. The
footing is usually left permanently on the deck and the masts inserted when
- Place the masts into the footings and get a friend to
hold the sail perpendicular to the deck. Tie a length of bungee onto one side
above the split ring, add the 20mm brass dog clip and clip it on to the carry
handle. Tie the other end of the bungee to the mast on the other side. The
bungee should be firm but not stretched.
- Do similar with the nylon cord looping it twice through
each of the 12mm brass dog clips as this acts like a locking knot so the angle
of the sail can be adjusted.
Pull the nylon guy lines towards you to lower
the sail and secure using the Velcro tie which should be attached to a saddle
near the cockpit. To release the sail, undo the velcro and the bungee will automatically
pull the sail up into position. Adjust the lines to catch maximum wind.
Althougth this is a very safe sail in that the
bungee footing gives way in a strong side gust before you get tossed out, I
recommend carrying a good paddlers knife just in case you need to cut the guy
lines for any reason. However, the good news is that there are about 60 of these
sails in use in Auckland and there have never been any near misses or nasty
Rebecca Heap March 2002