This time the wind was really blowing and I was glad that I had my smaller sail installed on my kayak: the SeaDog 0.7m².
I could feel that there was less heeling as I didn't have to transfer all my weight to the windy side.
My large sail of 1.0m² would have been too much and harder to handle while my SeaDog 0.7m² was still giving me plenty of speed to surf the waves with ease.
Here is a short video of a few different outings with the SeaDog 0.7m²
I believe that the SeaDog 0.7m² is a great sail for when the wind starts to blow and white caps appear on the water; it offers me plenty of power while still allowing me to handle my more tippy kayaks without a white-knuckled grip on my paddle.
I figured out that a kayak can only go so fast and no matter how big of a sail I mount on the deck it just won't go any faster.
A larger sail however just catches more wind and when loaded from the side wind it wants to push the kayak over. I have been at times hanging way over the side of my kayaks trying to keep them from tipping while not noticing any increase in speed over a smaller sail.
Of course, if the wind is from behind (stern wind) and the waves have built up to a size that they start to lift the stern of the kayak where I can surf; my kayak will indeed go faster than hull speed.
It is these times that I find the SeaDog 0.7m² exceptional and easier to handle.
As I surf down the wave (on a wind right behind me) the kayak will come to a point where the sail no longer seems to be inflated. At the bottom of the wave I will have the boom flap loose over the deck and wanting to swap sides. Then the gust of wind catches up with me and with a shuddering noise the sail slaps to the other side taken in by the main sheet.
It is in this moment that a smaller sail will save me from a sudden imbalance and possible precarious lean that might result in a dunk.
I don't feel the raw slap that bigger sails give me in high winds: the 0.7m² is easier to handle.
Another benefit of a smaller sail is when things do go pear shaped and I fall in.
I have been practicing rolling with a sail; starting from dead calm conditions to increased breezes and more bumpy seas.
I find that a sail with a smaller surface has much less drag underwater and in a roll I can scull up without too much effort.
Recently I have been trying to forego releasing the main sheet and just leave the sail alone while falling in. While slightly more difficult than releasing the main sheet (or uphaul) I am more confident in recovering with the sail just left as it was before falling in.
As winds increase to 20 knots and above I wonder if a smaller sail would not be even better?
Maybe that is something I should look into...