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Umbrella Sailing to go


The dye is cast: after spending no end of research time exploring the sailing options for a short, beamy paddleski in the conditions of prevailing onshore winds I have finally opted to go with an umbrella.

Is that eccentric enough?
“It is the habitual carriage of the umbrella that is the stamp of Respectability. The umbrella has become the acknowledged index of social position. . . . Crusoe was rather a moralist than a pietist, and his leaf-umbrella is as fine an example of the civilized mind striving to express itself under adverse circumstances as we have ever met with.”
---Robert Louis Stevenson
While I always carry a short collapsible umbrella, I've been bidding for a GustBuster golf umbrella online and finally  got one at a price that is many times less than rigging any other kayak or canoe sailing another way. The Gust Buster (see image below)will not turn inside out when blown from beneath by high winds so it is even stronger than many sail rig options.
...and without the complicated and heavy engineering involved in rigging for a day before the wind.


Now I face the challenge of seeing if the craft will tack--  and so this is where I begin experimenting with leeboards  and the new sea anchor I am making up out of shopping bags


Drag is important because  resistance on one side or the other  will decide where you get  to go (as distinct from around in circles, overboard or left rather than right).

I was keen on kitesailing for a time and did my homework , but kites need to be launched and retrieved and will only work down wind. And the bigger the kite -- as in kite surfing -- you need two hands  on and a craft that will jump about with the tug and drag.

Can you do more with an umbrella?

You can keep the sun off your head and the rain off your body. As to whether you can gibe or tack or whatever beyond simply sailing down wind, that remains  to be rig experimented with. The literature on this point is...slim.

So come April when the winds here move from North Easterlies to Westerlies and start blowing offshore, maybe I can get the wind behind me and the sea beneath my feet...and bottom.

Of course umbrellas are simple pull up/pull down devices that, at a pinch, you let go of. But paddling, steering and umbrella-ing is going to require a bit of  ergonomic rework. But since I have plenty of deck space -- because I'm on a beamy paddleski -- I am sure to have a few options to explore while  mounting experiments with an anchor or leeboard to promote synergy.

And if it rains, I won't get wet.

“Let a smile be your umbrella, and you'll end up with a face full of rain.”
--George Carlin

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