Homemade Kayak Sails

Written by susan raphael
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Homemade Kayak Sails
Make your own kayak sails. (sail 2 image by iChip from Fotolia.com)

The use of a sail when kayaking can increase sailing speed and capture slight wind fluctuations that you would otherwise miss. Buying kayak sails can be expensive, though, and you may not have access to quality sailing equipment suppliers. Making your own kayak sail solves these problems and leaves you with a homemade, durable kayak sail. Your version will fit right over most standard kayak masts and rigging and will perform just as well as a store-bought version would.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 4 x 3 m of ripstop nylon
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Cut out a trapezoid from ripstop nylon with scissors. A trapezoid is a four-sided shape having two parallel bases. The wide base of the trapezoid should be 1250 mm and the narrow base of the shape should be 250 mm. The height of the trapezoid should be 1500 mm.

  2. 2

    Make mast pockets from the ripstop. Cut two strips of nylon to 1.7 m long and 12 cm wide from the leftover nylon from Step 1.

  3. 3

    Fold both mast pocket strips in half so they are 6 cm wide.

  4. 4

    Pin one mast pocket to each long side of the trapezoid. Insert the trapezoidal edge between the two sides of the mast pocket. The materials should overlap by 1 cm. Do this to both sides of the trapezoid.

  5. 5

    Sew the material together with a straight stitch down each length of the pocket with the sewing machine.

  6. 6

    Close the tops of the mast pockets with a straight stitch. Lay the sail with the wider end upward; this is the top of the sail and you should sew the mast pockets closed here.

  7. 7

    Cut a small hole in the very centre of both mast pockets. These holes will allow you to tie the guy lines to the mast.

  8. 8

    Insert your mast into the mast pockets and rig the sail to your kayak.

Tips and warnings

  • Find a unique colour of nylon so you can easily identify your sail.
  • Carry a paddler's knife in case you need to cut the guy lines during an emergency.

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