David wrote:I bought a sail kit with my boat but I havn't tried it out yet.I was wondering what the upper limit in wind speed would be where I'm not going to damage the boat or more importantly me? The design is a basic down wind rig, twin jib with a couple of whisker poles, similar to a twistle rig but with out the swivles and furler. I've done a fair bit of sailing but only in a Bermuda rigged long keeler, which weighs 13000lbs and needs 15 knots to get going. The thought of hoisting a sail on a 70 pounder gives me the willies.
So much depends on the size of the sail, the size of your boat, -especially it's beam.
My first image of what you are describing is what my boat would look like with a double full sized jib. This would be a full 3 m2, which would be a lot
of sail for the single. For me, this size described, 15 knots, F4 would start to feel uncomfortable. I'd expect my boat to start surfing in a following sea with the bow tucking under at regular intervals. The twistle rig is mostly designed for down wind and broad reach. Any attempt at beam reach would probably turn the boat over.
I'd recommend using a rig like this only if it can be adequately reefed. If it could be reefed down to 1 m2, one might
be able to stand up to 25 knots, but again, beam reach would probably result in a knock down.
Keep in mind that a small boat's gale can be a larger boat's moderate breeze.
I'm supposing your rig is probably more similar to Klepper's now discontinued M1. Klepper Sails
I'm not sure if this can be reefed or not. The closest I've come to something similar was to use a golf umbrella on my AE II
For this I had about a 20 knot wind and it was all I could do to keep the brolly from going inside out. I had some surfing action, but the doubles don't seem to tuck the bow under like the singles do.
There maybe someone on the forum that has actually tried the Klepper M1 and is more familiar with it's capabilities.
If your boat is at all similar to a Klepper, I don't think you really have to worry about damaging yourself or the kayak unless you come in contact with another object; beach, rocks, boats, etc. (Heaven forbid a nasty shore break!)
You have some sailing experience in larger boats so some of this will seem like common sense. The main thing is:
1. Being able to dowse the sail if things get to feeling uncomfortable. Nothing is quite as scary as being on a wild ride with no way to stop. The rule of thumb is if you wonder if you should reef (or dowse), -you should.
2. Being able to exit the cockpit if the boat is turned over, which stands to reason with or with out the sail.
3. Having the proper clothing to keep warm if exposed to the water is imparative. (Is that the Irish Sea you're on? -Brrr!!!)
4. Making sure you can bail your boat fast and effectively. I use a 1 l jug, bottom cut out, tethered to the frame. This is best used while I'm still outside the cockpit. A pump works well if you need to bail while in the boat. If the boat is already swamped getting in to bail will be cumbersome and will leave you with almost no freeboard, meaning the water you are bailing will run back in.
5. So you don't need to bail too much water, use air bags (or dry bags if you're expeditioning). Since I've started using airbags, my boat hasn't been swamped in the couple knock downs since.
6. This takes practice but really isn't that difficult: Getting back into the boat after a ditching. With my double, I can just pop over the gunwale. On the single I pop up over the stern section and then sit astride. If you've ever bare back mounted a pony, it's the same method. The next bit has to be done very quickly: Move yourself forward to where you can drop your backside into the cockpit. I've managed to go in feet first, but I have to move quickly to keep from turning a tender boat over. This is only because I have lee-boards which make the backside first option more difficult.
I hope this helps. Alex or Chris (or anyone else), please feel free to add anything.