What does a geek do...

A very easy package turns my kayak into a sail boat and works very well

I've been hooked to sailing for 3 years. Who doesn't like to dance with the nature and find some quiet smooth freedom in the breeze?

Year 1, getting some knowledge, watched some videos; Year 2, registered a training course, studied basic 101 and practised with school's dinghy; Year 3, find a humble-beginner boat and get myself wet!

"3 years" might sound decent, but it's actually not, given that we just have 4 months warm water season (Toronto), and other things I need to do.

So the "3 years" sailing experience is really something like 15 hours theory studying (classroom & video) + 20 hours on water to get myself wet. Yeah, Just a beginner...

Trying to find a beginner boat is hard. Because I'm picky:

- It needs to be a one-person operating boat. Not just on water, but also on/off the car, transportable by one person. 

- It has to be cheap (not 3000+$, I'm just a starter!)

- It has to be easy to rig. I don't want to spend an hour rigging/unrigging on land, I want to hit the water! Neither serious DIY: drilling/gluing/welding/hacking are NOT what I'm looking for

- It has to be proven workable and with good reputation. Good reviews and recommendations from different people are very important!

Then I found this: It satisfies all my needs.

Plus, Jim, the inventor/founder/CEO/customer service from SailboatsToGo is a great geek in my opinion! Thank you!

Here are some of my rigging steps, hopefully these can also give you some inspirations:

(1) The package. It's really transportable by one person. I put a basket there so you can tell how big the whole thing is. The gray bag is actually my inflatable kayak (Sea Eagle SE370). The brown bag is everything except the sail part. I prefer the sail pre-rigged. Because it takes quite some time to assemble the pieces (20-30 min alone and big space to do it). Luckily, it's one time job and it's easy to be stored in the corner of a garage.

(2) Deck rigging. Before it gets into the water, all the frames/bars need to be tightly attached (strapped). Genius, JIM! This frames/bars rigging takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Rest parts are:1. Rudder/tiller; 2. Leeboards; 3. Stabilizers; 4. Sail; 5. Boat (with bars/frames attached); 6. Mast.

So basically, Parts#1,2,3,4,6 will be installed on water. Well, at least this is my practice and serve me very well.

(3) Rigging the #1,2,3,4,6. It should take about 7-10 min. It will look like the below once done. See the kayak paddle? That's my last resort if things go wrong. You should keep one too.

(4) Raise the sail and go! Oh, there is one single most important knot: the main sheet knot which anchor the sail to mast. You might heard lots fancy/quirky names on sail knots, me too. But to be honest, other than Figure-8-knot, I can't remember anything else. This single most import knot has its purpose: First It has to be tight when doing the normal sailing, but it also needs to be easily untied if something wrong .For example, if there is a big wind you can't handle, you want to totally release your sail. I tie it in my own way to make it sure it's strong but also easy to untie just in case (I can untie it in two actions in 10 seconds, practice is important).

(click the above image to view bigger version on Flickr)

(5) Enjoy sailing (as a starter, I only surf in breeze). As you can see, the body weight adjustment moves are not as fancy as you can see in American Cup Sail Racing. I can only twist my upper body one side or another, but hey, a beginner is just a beginner, and what's wrong to enjoy the breeze, matey? Arr!





Summer is for relaxing

Watch the sun-rise,

drink the beer while fishing,

laying back and don't mind the cotton clouds hitting on me,

What a stunt summer!


See? even a geek can compose a poem or is it?

(Click the image to view larger version on Flickr)

(Click the image to view larger version on Flickr)

(Click the image to view larger version on Flickr)

Unharmfully modify a regular kayak cart/dolly for inflated kayak (cheap and quick)

I have been using an inflated kayak (Sea Eagle SE-370) for 5 summers in a row, not a single quality issue. It's well built, and very tough.

Originally, I thought kayak cart is just invented for no good reason: who can't carry a kayak by hand!

I was wrong. Whenever you want a quick in/out of the launching ramp, the cart comes in handy. It's like a second person helping you to carry a lengthy timber log especially when the it's wet and you are tired.

The vendor supplied cart (called EZ-cart) is a little bit expensive (130$) and it's non standard: It's designed to carry Sea Eagle inflated Kayak only. I want a cart/dolly to handle both inflated and regular kayaks, and of course, cheaper.

Eventually I bought a general kayak cart (Seattle Sports TurboMite) from Amazon which costs around 75$. It's designed to carry regular hard shelled kayak. If I put my SE-370 on it, it just doesn't work: the inflated soft belly will always sink into the cart bar. The kayak and the cart just stick together and won't move.

There got to be a cheap and quick fix. The key words here are "cheap & quick", no drilling, no gluing whatsoever. It turns out that my DIV works well.

Here are the steps:

 (1) This is the cart/dolly I bought from Amazon (Seattle Sports TurboMite)

(2) A 1.5"/40 mm PVC tube (using handsaw to cut it to be a little wider than the cart bar); One long buckled strap; Two short buckled straps. All these parts together cost around 10$ and you can get them easily from any local home hardware store (e.g. Homedepot).

(3) use the 2 short straps to tightly tie the PVC tube on the cart bar (the bar which will heavily touch the boat bottom) . Cross the long strap through the tube.

(4) Use the long strap to tightly tie the cart and boat. Do this at one end of the boat and you pull the other end of the boat when in action. 

A closer look:

(5) lift and start pulling. If the weight causing the boat belly touch the ground, just lift it higher to avoid the touching.

A closer look (Click to view larger version):

(6) Result: It successfully passed the 150 meters bumpy slope (both downhill and uphill walking).


- This setup can only be pulled, can't be pushed. So if you want to "push" it, stop and do the U-turn instead.

- This setup is not a magic carpet. It can survive gradual slope no problem but can't climb a steep bumper like below (Just climbing part failed; Going down from it is just fine)

Hope this helps. Enjoy kayaking...