W500 Sailing Kayak, Rafael Francke

I do enjoy the W kayak I got, it is really fun to use, and it sails very well without a need for rudder – Shifting my weight forward or aft will guide the boat up or down the wind.

I do enjoy the W kayak I got, it is really fun to use, and it sails very well without a need for rudder – Shifting my weight forward or aft will guide the boat up or down the wind.

You may find the mast mount interesting for you. I am using the top part of windsurfing mast and sail – The sail in the picture was changed to a 40% larger one.

Rafael Francke


kayak with wind surfer sailing rigSailing kayak with outriggerbase for mast - sailing kayaksailing rig for kayak
Rafi sailing his big catamaran:

catamaran sailor

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9 thoughts on “W500 Sailing Kayak, Rafael Francke”

  1. Hi Rafi,

    That’s professional grade DIY 🙂
    Looks like you have access to a plastic welding device – very nice work!

    Send us some action pictures, or better – video!


  2. Well done.

    Great job on rigging the W up for sailing. 🙂

    Keep on sailing!


  3. I have a question for anybody who knows. Do you need a centerboard for tacking against the wind while sailing a w500? I have been toying with the sailing Idea myself and would like to rig something that
    would sail up wind {tacking of course} and need to know if a center board is needed. I have attached a mast base to my w and made a sail out of a tarp and pvc plus designed a detachable rudder but am not sure if I will need a center board. I would love to have any input from
    ya’ll. Thanks loads,
    Sir PawPaw

  4. Hi Dave,
    Leeboards would be more practical than a centerboard, and they would help you sail your W500 upwind in strong wind.

  5. Yeah you most likely are right. I guess what I was really wondering
    was if by shifting your weight and your paddles for a rudder/leeboord, would you need anything like a centerboard are leeboards. I think I had read somewhere that with a little effort they were not actually needed for a yak to tack up wind. I have my own rudder design
    for my w if I should need it but I was hoping with a little paddle
    action that I might not need either leeboards are rudder.
    There is a great video on u-tube on how to put a center board in
    a yak but I can not bring myself to cut on my w, so I may have to
    rig up some Leeboards if weight shifting and paddles do not work
    As you can guess I have not tried my sail out yet. Too cold for this south western boy. Well good chatting with you Yoav. I still would love to hear about more w sailing from others. The W is the best yak there is so if rigged right I am sure it will a blast to sail.

  6. Sailing a small boat outfitted with a big rig isn’t a trivial thing. This combination of light weight and big sail can get you going at speeds that are much higher that a small outboard gas engine would. Needless to say that it can be hazardous, and you must make sure to put the odds on your side, mainly by being a skilled sailor yourself, and that comes only after a lot of practice.
    Small craft + big sail is a combination that’s fun to sail, but it’s also easy to capsize in strong wind. A seasoned surf boarder once told me that you can’t consider yourself as one before having fallen a hundred times into the water… This criterion may (and should) be different for other watercraft, but the best is to simply enjoy sailing while staying safe and dry, IMO.

  7. Hey fellas just wanted to let ya know that I did go sailing on my w. I made a 10 foot mast and had about a 6 1/2ftx4 1/2 sail {give or take a little since it is kind of triangular. I had a blast.
    I did not use leeboards are a rudder I steered with my paddle. I did tack up wind somewhat however I did have to help it some with the paddle at times.
    To tell you the truth I was wore out when I got home because the wind was most likely around 25 miles an hour and steering with the paddles was a pretty lot of work itself, not mention the paddling.
    I have made me a rudder since then but have not had a chance to try it out due to the weather. I am alergic to cold, lol.
    I have also drawn up some plans for leeboards if I need them, but plan on trying my rudder system first. I am hoping it may act, with a little paddle help, like a centerboard as well.
    Yoav, I figure nobody knows the w like you but even in these strong winds with my sail up somewhere around 10ft with no outriggers and me being a total sailing greenhorn my w {I say this with great pride in my w} never even acted like it might tump over. It rolled a little to one side once in a while but I don’t think it was anymore then if you stood up. However I realize we can get to cocky about our w’s, lol. Better safe then sorry.
    Well keep on w-ing, and if any of you haven’t got a w yet and are looking for the best fishing yak ever made, not to mention motorizing
    are rigging it up as a sailboat, do yourself a favor and get one. As Tony the Tiger would say they’re great!

  8. Thanks David,

    This is awesome!
    Glad to learn you didn’t capsize, although I’m still a little worried that your beginner’s luck (BTW, there’s no such thing in reality…) might not stay with you forever – It’s my job to worry about these things, you know.

    Anyways, now you got us all excited about your sailing rig and your success in operating it, and we’re all anxious to see pictures, naturally.
    If you don’t have action pictures (or better – video), we’d be contented to see technical pictures of your W kayak outfitted with that sailing rig shot in your garage or driveway, and we’ll let our imagination do the rest 🙂


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