Cuben Fiber Sail

New to the boat this year is a 1 sq. meter “kayak” sail.  I designed and built a sail to use on my kayak for the 2011 North Carolina Challenge:

This sail performed very well in the conditions we experienced; some downwind, but mostly reaching on Core Sound.  The main issue was the flexibility of the “boom.”  As seen in the photo above, the foot of the sail would actually bend in a reverse curve, very bad for sail shape, aerodynamics, etc…

Clearly, I needed to build another sail… besides, my wife needs a sail for her kayak.  In the meantime, I saw on the WaterTribe forum that TwinSpirit was constructing a sail from cuben fiber.  I made some tweaks to the sail design and ordered the necessary materials.  Cuben fiber is a very interesting material, mostly clear with what appears to be lots of small threads running through it:

While it appears very fragile, it is pretty tough.  It is extremely difficult to puncture and if punctured, difficult to tear.

Over the past couple evenings, I have sewn up the main panels, reinforcements and batten / boom pockets.  I plan to get it mounted on the XCR next week.  To alleviate the boom issues of the last sail, I will be using an aluminum tube for the boom instead of a fiberglass batten.

EC2012 Prep

In preparation for the Everglades Challenge this year, I am making an additional rudder for the XCR.  My large sailing rudder worked wonderfully last year, but since Emily and I plan to paddle the Wilderness Waterway this year, we need a smaller rudder for use while paddling.  I am using the Large size SmartTrack Foil rudder blade and a custom composite rudder box:

It doesn’t look like much now, it just came off the mold.  I’ll trim it up and cut it to shape later.  This will use the same pin and steering cables as the sailing rudder, so switching between the two will not take very long.

I am also planning to rig a small sail on the front deck of the XCR.  My mainsail is a Balough 5M which is wonderful.  I want a small sail for use in the Wilderness Waterway when we have the larger sailing rig stowed.  I already have a 1 sq M single masted sail styled after the popular Flat Earth Kayak Sails.

I used this sail on my kayak during the 2011 North Carolina Challenge, and it worked very well.  I am going to implement a couple of design tweaks based on the experience and construct a new one using Cuben fiber.  When not rigged on the XCR, this new sail will move to Emily’s kayak.

Emily’s boat is the white kayak on top of the stack:

Missing from this lineup is my new Sea Wind, which is currently under construction in Northern Michigan 🙂

  • Macatawa