Best Iki Wa’a iteration yet

I am putting the conclusions about the fat head rolling rig here and details of the day after. I’m sure the few people that read this are more interested in the former


😀 90% there, very pleased with the rig.

😀 Easy to handle storage and transportation, roll up rig fits in the car easily.

😀 Easy to paddle with the rig striked.

😀 Easy to raise afloat, nothing tangles (on my lug rig I was constantly getting the halyard in a proper mess) sailing in seconds of raising.

😀 Using a bight and bobble stores the sail nicely

😀 The head holds up well, sail shaped good for a boom less, flat poly tarp sail.

😀 A simple rope wrapped around the mast works to furl


Though pulling the furling rope works well there is an art to getting the head to stow nicely. Essentially keeping tension on the clew gets an OK stow. Shortening the batten 6 inches would help but it is only an issue aesthetically. Because the rig is so easy to strike windage isn’t a concern.

Worst case furl

The sail doesn’t unfurl by just pulling the main sheet. It is easy just to pull the sail but reducing friction is on the job list.

The tack of the sail is messy due to the plastic corner patch of the original tarp, easy fix.


So overall very happy. The tree lined canal wasn’t the best place to evaluate the performance but all the sofer issues are pretty well sorted for what I want from my sail.

Just something simple for: storage, transport, use without compromising adventure exploration.

The actual trip

Nice surprise that though still windy by 10.00 the sun had come out and the sky was blue. I’m quite lucky that where I live I can find a bit of river or canal to suit any wind direction. I decided on the Kennet launching at Woolhampton.

Put it, note first bridge

First issue was the road bridge and a pipe bridge down stream of the put in. Not a problem, as though long, the rig sits in the boat and doesn’t obstruct paddling at all. To be honest I wasn’t paddling much the current giving me a magic carpet ride under the bridges.

Once clear I raised the mast, first time it had be up and it was easy as pie. The sail didn’t unfurl just by pulling the main sheet but needed a tug of the sail. No big issue but would be nice if it was freer. At river level the breeze was light but a combination of wind and current gave a satisfactory speed.

Considering the sail is boom less it set well the head behaving well. The wind was all over the place on this narrow tree lined canal but when the breeze came he was well mannered off wind steering with weight and occasionally the paddle.

I got down to Frounds Marina and played in the wider sections paddling back upwind and shooting the breeze down. This part of the river had some overhang trees and inevitably the wind indicator became tangled.

Striking the mast I returned, the stowed rig causing no concern, the current did however.

I came across a longish straight part of the canal with less trees, the sky looking angry and the wind increasing. I again played in this area, taking ten times the time to work back up stream / up wind than I would shoot down. I tangled in a tree again and though I was safe sailing the mast fast in a tree as the current swept the canoe away presented a real danger of a dunk. I was lucky this time but lesson learned.

To paddle upwind I was using a double paddle sitting on two side by side yoga blocks. Sailing I was sitting on the floor using a single paddle. Next project a Greenland paddle.

As the rain increased I decided to call it a day, end on a high and got to put it without incident. Packing away was hassle free.

This iteration of Iki Wa’a is the best yet


  1. Successful then. Interesting. I cheat, using an original WindPaddle. One of next builds will be a very small dinghy for the grandchildren, Oppy-style, and I plan to design a rig, hence my interest in yours.


    • Having taught sailing in optimist and a Daughter that was very competitive in the optimist I can offer some insight. My rig is boom less so obviously safer however it will have less control of the head of the sail which is it blows forward on the beam would result in a quick and violent capsize. To get a boom less sail to point is going to require higher sheet loads than a boom. I don’t think you can go too far wrong with the optimist rig


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