TopKayaker.Net: Guide To Kayak Sailing

Kevin Ching: Primex Vee Sail on Scupper Pro. HawaiiSelf standing sailConverting The Primex Deluge Kayak Sail
by Tom Holtey

You may have one of these old classic kayak sails stashed in your garage, or maybe come across one in a yard sale. There may be other sail models that are very similar.

It is possible to convert the Primex/Deluge V-Sail to a self-standing sail more like the Pacific Action Sail or the JNR Sail.

The Primex was meant to be hand held with a unique paddle shaft control line system. You can see more on that on our web page: Kayaking with the V-Sail.

A self-standing sail, such as the JNR sail has forward shock cords that make the sail stand up. These are balanced by control lines that are secured to the deck or to the sides of the kayak. See more about this on our web page for JNR and in Robert Hess’s series on kayak sailing.


Altogether, I suggest reviewing the following sailing articles to be able to fully grasp the concepts involved in modifications to the Primex/Deluge V-Sail:

~ Kayak Sailing with a Vee Sail

~ Pacific Action Sails Revisited

~ Do It Yourself Kayak Sail Instructions

~ On-line installation tutorial of PA Sail Rig

First Steps:

The conversion is fairly simple.

The first step is identify the location of the forward bungee cord and to locate the mast base no closer than 1 foot from the bow handle or to a deck fitting that can accommodate the forward shock cord.

It is often a good idea to add a strap eye much further forward if needed.

5/16 inch shock cord is best to use for the forward bungee cords. I drilled my Primex masts and attached shackles.

You can locate these on the exposed masts, in the open slots on the upper section of the sail cloth. You could also use JNR hose clamp option, or any other method. This same location can be used for the control lines to the cockpit. Try not to put stress on the sail fabric. See TopKayaker Shop Rigging Supplies

It is best to re-use the original control lines or standard ¼ inch deck line can be substituted. I re-used the paddle shaft Velcro loops that came with the Primex sail rig to connect the control lines to the masts. The shackles prevent the Velcro cuff from slipping down and stressing the sail cloth. Carbineers from a hardware store make it easy to rig up. See TopKayaker Shop 5mm Deck Rigging

A brass clip can be used as the forward shock cord connection to the deck. You can use brass clips for the control lines too. I choose to have two separate control lines, rather than a single loop. I see the issue separate vs. loop as a personal choice depending on your needs and the deck layout of your kayak.

My control lines are adjustable for length to fit other kayaks. I used some salvaged guy line adjusters from a tent as an adjustment piece for the control lines. See TopKayaker Shop Bungee Rope and Clips

I re-used the original Universal Deck Mount (UDM), but I modified it. I removed the large side release buckle.

I cut a slot in the buckle base and slipped it off the webbing strap loop. Then I slipped a length of vinyl tube into the loop that fits the diameter of the masts. You can get this tube at a hardware store.

I feel tube mount is a more elegant way to fasten the masts to the UDM, but not necessarily much better. The buckle from the UTM is not destroyed by this process and it can be reconfigured to the original design if one would want to revert back. The mast can still be disconnected from the UTM by pulling them free from the tubes.

The UDM needs to clip/or strap onto the deck. Four anchor points are needed. You may be able to utilize deck fittings or deck rigging already in place, but it may be best to install 4 new strap eyes. The Primex came with four plastic clips that I feel are unnecessary and are a weak link.

I suggest that you thread the four webbing straps of the UTM to appropriate deck fittings and use the super locks to tighten as tight as possible. I believe that it is essential that the UDM is secured fast to the deck with little or no possible movement or slippage. See TopKayak Shop Deck Fittings

There is a tendency for some V-sails to wobble from side to side in some winds and on some tacks. I took some steps to prevent this, and at this time I feel I have not necessarily solved the rigging problem to my full satisfaction.

Further testing needs to be done, and I am hoping that it may spark a new idea in some other sailor’s mind.

You will see in some the photos some lines low on the masts, off to the side, secured to the deck, utilizing the same fittings as the UDM.

These guy lines are meant to stabilize the sail from side to side. The photos show the guidelines rigged for a running tack (the best tack for a V-sail). They were tied, well beyond the reach of a kayaker in the cockpit.

I had thought to later to run each line to a cleat, or tie to a strap eye on the gunwale of the cockpit for better adjustment while on the water. (see photo below) These lines do not prevent the sail from being stowed flat on deck when needed. See TopKayaker Shop: Cleat

The addition of pulleys and cleats would make these stabilizing lines easier to handle.

The pulleys could be secured adjacent to the mast base, along the most out board side of the kayak.

Use a quick link, snap hooks or carabineers to clip them to the deck rigging.

Two cleats could be installed on deck, forward of the cockpit coaming (sit-in-side) or on the gunwales of a sit-on-top kayak. Be sure to locate them in a position that will not interfere with your paddle stroke or deep-water re-entry. See TopKayaker Shop Rigging Supplies

So with a bit of bungee and some clips, at the minimum, you can convert your old style V-Sail into a modern self-standing kayak sail.

Add some additional deck fittings and rigging, maybe some cleats and shackles, and you will have a deluxe sail.


Related articles:

~ Kayak Sailing with a Vee Sail

~ Pacific Action Sails Revisited

~ Do It Yourself Kayak Sail Instructions

~ On-line installation tutorial of PA Sail Rig

~ Our Kayak Sailing Section - Index to all Kayak Sailing Articles on our site.

~ SAIL THE FORUMS to get answers to your kayak sailing questions.


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