Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Two fine tuning tips for the sailing rig on the P&H Scorpio mk2 sea kayak.

P&H Sea Kayaks should be lauded for being the first mainstream manufacturer to supply a sea kayak complete with sailing rig, all ready to go paddle sailing: the P&H Scorpio mk2. The sail is manufactured for P&H by Flat Earth Kayak Sails in Australia.

It comes complete with everything you need to go on a paddle sailing adventure on your first trip.

The Scorpio mk2 fore deck has been strengthened for a mast foot, a threaded insert for the mast foot screws has been moulded into the foredeck, two RDFs have been moved forward to be opposite the mast foot to give the side stays the best attachment position on the deck, the rig comes with a separate back stay and it even comes with stainless steel snap shackles for quick attachment and removal....all excellent stuff!

However, I do not like the way the side stays have been attached to the mast as the long fixed loop coming down from the stainless steel saddle on the front of the mast does not give the side stay best mechanical advantage.

Tip 1.
I cut the existing stays off and replace them with thinner 2mm dyneema line and...

...attach them through the saddle and round the mast using a simple sliding hitch knot like this..., though I am not sure what it is called. 

Edit: Many thanks to Mike B for identifying it as a double overhand sliding loop. :o)

Tip 2
I also like to have the ability to adjust the length of the side stays quickly and easily without tying knots. If you are starting off paddle sailing, I recommend Clamcleat Mini Line-Loks CL266. These work well up to F3 winds but slip in F4. They will also slip if you are unlucky enough to capsize in the shore break with your sail up. Then the Line-Lok slipping can save your deck and your mast!  

Once you are ready to paddle sail in stronger winds, an alternative is to learn how to tie the adjustable grip hitch. This will not slip under load yet is very easy to adjust when not loaded. You want to have your side stays "twang tight" when the mast is vertical and being able to tweak the tension in the stays bit by bit make setting up much easier than tying knots by trial and error.

Adjustable grip hitch 1

Adjustable grip hitch 2

Adjustable grip hitch 3, pull tight to complete.

I hope you have as much fun hoisting your P&H/Flat Earth kayak sail as I have had with mine.

I will post a full review of the P&H Scorpio MV mk2 with skudder and sail before the New Year.

PS I have just heard that P&H branded Flat earth sails will soon be made using the same Grand Prix tri-laminate material which I liked so much in the new Flat Earth Trade Wind 80 sail.


  1. Your unknown hitch is a "double overhand sliding loop".

    Pawson D - The Handbook of Knots - DK Publishing Inc. Page 111 of the 1998 edition.

    1. That's brilliant Mike! Much obliged thank you! :o)

  2. I own a Scorpio Mk 11 complete with sail kit , the main problem I experienced was that the sail dumps quite a bit of wind , the boom has a tendency to rise , this is ok if your learning but it depowers the sail . the solution to this is to fit a boom vang . to do this you need to lose the single back stay to the mast and use a five stay rig . you can then use the deck rigging cleat just aft the mast foot to mount a pulley , then fit a down haul line to the boom four inches from the mast this runs though the pulley at the foot of the mast to a deck cleat near the cockpit .This when tight allows you to maintain the shape of the sail in light winds , release the boom vang to depower the sail in strong winds .

    1. Hi Bob like you and I several others in our group fitted boom vangs (kicking straps) when we first got our Flat Earth sails (we all came from a sailing background). We have all now removed them though we have retained the the 5 stay arrangement. We no longer use the traveller for the sheet pulley on the deck and have moved the pulley attachment a little aft which keeps the leech a little tighter in light winds and avoids the complication of the extra control line.

      I think the trick with kayak paddle sailing is to keep it as simple as possible.

      Have fun.

      Douglas :o)