I bought a pacific action 1.5 sail and put it on my Valley Roto molded Nordkapp. The short answer is the sail is awesome. I have had so much fun with the thing. When they say it adds a new dimension to kayaking its true. I have 2 friends that each have a sail. One is a wind paddle, and the other is a spirit sail. Those sails are okay for simplicity and portability. But the Pacific Action beats them in speed and kills them in maneuverability. I can sail 90 degrees off straight down wind / I have 180 degrees of practical sailing available. I have confirmed this with my gps multiple times. The other sails can not do 1/2 of that.
The cleats that come with the sail are horrible. I rigged 2 ($5 each) jam cleats to my boat and now it only takes 1 hand to adjust the line. Now I do not have to let go of my paddle to adjust the sheets. One other downside that is hard to correct is the bulkiness of the sail when it is down. It just gets in the way. As soon as I know sailing is over I head to land to take the rig off. There is no practical way to completely remove the sail away from land.
I cannot wait for my next long day wilderness trip. If it is a down wind leg I am going to beat my group to the next camp site by a lot. Nobody can beat a kayak with a sail in the right conditions. I highly recommend the Pacific Action sail. Consider buying the larger sail and remove some of the mast for a home made sail of a smaller size.The Good
I am very hard to impress and at a price of about $350 US taxed and shipped for the 1 meter sail I turn into impossible to impress. The sail impressed me. A lot, frankly. All components are of the highest quality. Workmanship is flawless. The design is right on and is a snap to learn to use. Easy to set up and take down, I have trained a 12 yr old and a 15 yr old to use it well with just a two minute class. Most of that two minutes was spent impressing the importance of speed in striking the sail and securing it to the bungie. Everyone I have taken out sailing in my double baidarka has been a non paddler and absolutely had a blast. It is especially cool when the hull starts to make that gurgling sound as water passes under it. I went out on a test sail in very high winds and the kayak rocketed along comfortably. I was advised to modify the rig a bit and did. I replaced the original sail control line or sheet with two ten foot pieces of sheet material. I installed two deck clamcleats. All of this really helped and cost an additional $30. Sail control was simplified, became more precise and physically easier.
The only strong criticism of the PA sail concerns the instructions for installation. As a person who has built four kayaks from kits and a Melonseed sailboat from a line drawing and not much else I found the PA sail instructions almost useless. I went on line and looked at photos of installed PA rigs to wing it as best I could. A critical step to pay attention to is mounting the twin sail posts that hold the sail erect. You must ensure that the twin posts, which look like your fingers making a peace sign, are spread out as far as possible so the sail sets flat. This will take two helpers or some jury rigging to hold the posts away from each other. The posts are then permanently set at this angle with a pair of screws bisecting the posts. Get it wrong and you either have to redrill the posts possibly weakening them or live with your error.
I would spend the money again in a heartbeat.I have been using the Pacific Action 1.1 meter sail on my Valley Aquanaut (skeg w/o rudder) for several months and have been very pleased with design and functionality. I'm a lifelong sailor, and always frustrated in a kayak when I cannot use the wind.
The most interesting feature of this design of "V" sail is the sheet attached to the midline of the split via mast on either side. This does allow adjustable sail trim, and in light air does allow for relatively safe and fast reaching. I would never have thought possible the ability to reach in a kayak with limited or no feeling of capsizing. The boat appears to track well at this point-of-sail, and does not necessarily require the skeg down.
Installation does require drilling the holes in your boat, including two small brackets to hold the base of the mast, and in my case I placed to the cam cleats just in front of the cockpit which are very functional, and are useful for other applications than the sail sheet. A very nice feature of the rig is the bungee tensioning at the bow, allowing both masts and sail lowered and placed under deck bungees within seconds. The length of the mast fits in front of my cockpit with inches to spare, and for this reason I would think many conventional kayaks would probably not desire a greater sail area the 1.1 meter.
The only downside I have found in the rig is related to the tensioning device which connects the mast to a "deck roller" which allows the sail to be taken down and put up rapidly. This device has been somewhat difficult to tension, which allows the sail to become more slack than desired when sailing downwind.
This sailing system was designed in New Zealand, and was clearly set up by good Kiwi sailors. I would recommend it for anyone looking to add the dimension of sailing to their kayak, without interfering or altering the classic nature or structure of their boat.