Sailing A Kayak: Can I Go Kayak Sailing?


Sailing a kayak is much more exciting than slowly paddling. You’re able to achieve speeds of 5-5.5 mph once you start using a two-meter sail on your kayak. This may not sound as much, but once you experience this speed on the surface of the water you will feel almost like you’re flying. Of course, the wind speed will determine your speed, but about 15mph of win is ideal. 

The main goal of kayak sailing is covering far more distance than you can by paddling. It can also be fun for adrenaline junkies in tough conditions. Keep reading to find out can you put on your sailing hat and hit the wind!

Sailing a Kayak with no Experience – Is it Possible? 

Most of the time people who try sailing a kayak have no prior experience and all of them usually do fine. Sailing a paddle craft will be no problem for anyone comfortable in a kayak or a canoe. Downwind runs are usually the first thing people do intuitively, and those are followed by straight downwind runs. You could be sailing safely in the first 10 minutes even if you’re not an experienced sailor! 

More experienced kayakers say that kayakers who are not sailors are much better at paddling sail for the first time than sailors who are not kayakers. Knowing to fine-tune adjustments and the lingo are small benefits when it comes to kayak sailing, so they are not required. 

When it comes to paddle sailing, there are a few concepts you should follow to get the best results. 

  1. Let the sail catch as much wind as possible by letting the boom out when the wind is to your back. 
  2. Pull the boom in tight when you want to sail upwind. Bear in mind that sailing straight into the wind is impossible. Even the most advanced boats are not able to do so. Once you get experienced a bit you will understand how wind affects your sailing
  3. The boom location is somewhere in the middle when you’re somewhere between upwind and dead downwind. 
  4. Make sure that your sail is always full of air and that there are no bubbles or flapping around. Bubbles happen when the wrong side of the sail is affected by the air. 

How to Stay Upright? 

You can get knocked over if you push your limits too much. People who are not into kayaking think that kayaks and canoes are prone to tipping over. However, this can easily be avoided if you just stay in situations where you feel comfortable and calm. Still, you can tip over even if you use a sail with your kayak. The good news is that you will get over this concern pretty quickly probably. Even when the weather is really bad you should be able to avoid being tipped over when paddle sailing. Skimming your paddle on the surface of the water will most likely counteract tipping over once the wind gets a bit faster. 

Here are a couple of things you can do to avoid getting knocked over even if the wind is heavier:

  1. The number one rule to stay upright is to lean your weight upwind. Once you start kayak sailing you will notice how fast this becomes your second nature reaction. 
  2. Let your paddle skim over the surface once you start moving. By doing this the paddle you use will serve you as an outrigger. 
  3. Make sure not to raise your sail in a position that will allow the wind to blow at it in full force when you’re not moving. 
  4. Paddle without a sail if you’re not sure about your abilities. 
  5. Use a smaller sail if the wind is heavy. The sail size selection is really important when it comes to sailing a kayak. Using a small sail in the moderate wind is much different than using a big sail in the same conditions. 
  6. Before you step up to big wind you should be practicing with your sail in ideal conditions in your backyards to get used to it. 

How Fast Can You Go?


The speed you will go depends on the wind and the weather. Good judgment is really important to obtain optimal speed. As already mentioned above, you will certainly go faster when sailing than paddling. You will notice that you go farther and faster when you transition to sailing from paddling. Also, you will do a lot less work than before. 

More experienced kayak sailors can go up to 12 mph, but about 8 mph is their constant. We mentioned that you will experience about 5 mph and that’s true. If you want to achieve faster speeds you will need to train a lot. 

To get the top results you will need to spend some time on the water to build up confidence and skills. Certain conditions are needed to start sailing faster, but you will surely be happy even at lower speeds. Even the clothes you’re wearing will affect your speed. So, if you want to go fast you will also have to think about things such as how heavy are your shorts or pants and do you need that jacket with you on a kayak.

Globo Surf Overview

If you’re interested to put a sail on your kayak and go for a few circles, you can be sure that there aren’t that many things stopping you to do so. Usually, people will get the balance on a sailing kayak in just a couple of minutes, even quicker if they have prior experience in paddle sailing. Still, you have to try the sail out of the water before you try sailing. Get comfortable with it and remember how it acts in different weather conditions. 

Make sure you check weather conditions before you hit the wind to avoid accidents. Sail slowly and stay safe!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!