"Tried my new Spirit Sail on the holidays - Worked well on the single and double. Well thought out and a quality product. Very impressed with your work - well done."
Spirit Sails was founded to provide fellow paddlers with the Spirit Sails™ downwind sail rig an innovative, proprietary, patented sailing system for kayaks, canoes, and sit-on-tops.
A few years ago, the company founder evolved to sea kayaking after a lifetime of owning various boats used primarily throughout western Canada and the northwest Pacific. Living in one of the world’s finest boating and paddling destinations made the transition to sea kayaking easy. The elimination of boat motors, their noise, pollution, and expense, was the primary consideration. Paddling was eagerly looked upon as a means of locomotion and exercise and sailing a paddlecraft was the natural alternative, as weather conditions permit.
Global searches revealed no quality, user-friendly downwind sail rigs in existence and the incentive to research and design an innovative sail rig system was born.
Company founder relied on his engineering and design background to aid the development of a freestanding downwind sail rig focusing on safety and user-friendly qualities. These attributes were considered necessary to sail a paddlecraft with a minimum of risk. Research indicated the Polynesian style sail had potential to meet this criteria. The Polynesian sail design has existed for 3000 years, though typically supported with lines (sheets).
Adapting to a narrow paddlecraft and eliminating lines presented the challenge. We, at Spirit Sails, reckon lines are a potential life-safety hazard in the event of capsize and re-entry in a sea kayak or canoe. A self-supporting sail rig eliminates trailing lines and excessive deck hardware. The freestanding design leaves the paddlers hands free to control their paddle for steering, bracing and paddling.
A downwind sail rig prototype was developed for the owner’s sea kayak and used whenever conditions permitted. The owner never left shore without his sail rig, constantly seeking opportunities to raise the sail and permit the wind to silently slide his kayak through the water.
With all sea kayak and canoe accessories and gear, weight and space are primary considerations. Spirit Sails complete, full-size sail rig stores in its sack at 1.5 lbs (650 gm) and folds to 28″ (0.7m) long. The full-size sail opens to 17 sq ft (1.5 sq m) and is designed to be forgivable to wind gusts, permitting excessive gusts to spill out. Many paddlers will struggle to keep up to a sea kayak with a Spirit Sails sail rig in winds of 15 mph (25 kph). Soon after introduction of the full-size Spirit Sails, a consumer driven need for a second size was realized and the mid-size Spirit Sails was quickly born, at half of the full-size. Both sizes of Spirit Sails sail rig now enjoy almost equal popularity with a size for every paddler.
After two years of sailing and enjoying his sail rig, and with the encouragement of fellow paddlers and retailers, combined with the fact no user-friendly downwind sail rigs were available, the owner found time to pursue development of his innovative, proprietary downwind sail rig to take to market.
Another one year of full time effort, countless prototypes, much research and development and significant trials and tribulations, Spirit Sails became available to fellow paddlers. The sail rig bases are designed to be adapted to most kayaks and canoes.
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