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!





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