Have recently got myself a Kayak Kite for those times when the wind is at my back and my launch spot is in front and I just want to be plan Lazy (and for a Hobie owner that’s saying a lot).
Did some snooping on the Net with the idea of utilising a kiteboard kite (multi string kite) as these seem to give some ability to steer off wind and allow you to tack, but with these having a very large foil/wing span (up to 7m) it didn't look that practical for a kayak.
Next was a two line training kite as this seemed to be of a more manageable size with between 2.4m – 3m wing/foil span it looked just the ticket.
With no experience with kiteboarding and multiline kites a trip to the Kite Shop in Adelaide  that deals with all things Kite was in order.
I asked about a training kite, size, accessories and price and also the most important part how to deploy the kite and fly it. The main answer was that to get the kite to fly first lay the kite out and walk out all the line, well I could see this wasn’t going to be very easy from a kayak to let out 10 – 20 metres of duel kite line from a Yak that is bobbing around on water.
With me looking bewildered the sales woman asked what I was going to do with the kite, and with me saying “To use in a kayak” she handed me a bag and said this is what we sell its called a “Kayak Kite”  PDF file
I decided that armed with the fact that there is something called a Kayak Kite I should do some more investigating and found a lot of information on the Net.
Most if not all the info was in relation to Ocean Kayaks and were recommending a Single Line kite as this type has the ability to be launched very easily even from a seating position, also there were a lot of info on how to rig the kite to give the best pulling power.
So after all the gathering of info I now have a kite for the kayak.
The Kayak kite kit comes in a deck bag with lashing points for strapping to your yak, a line spool with about 25m of 200lb kite line and a drogue.
The kite itself measures 1.75m x 1.3 with a surface area of about 2.2m.
For connecting the kites bridle to the main line I have put in a 400lb brass torpedo swivel just to prevent any line twist.
With it packed into its bag it fits very easily into the Hobie’s front hatch for storage.
From the 8” centre hatch the kite can easily be got at to bring out when wanted.
And the main one the Kite in action
The first time I used the kite was just a quick test on West Lake and at that time I didn't use the drogue and the pulling force was not that strong so since then I have set the main line up with a Owner size 9 solid ring for attaching the drogue to the line about a metre down from the bridle and this lowers the angle the kite flies at and increases the amount of force the kite gives and increases the speed you can travel.
The drogue came fitted with a 200lb Coastlock snap swivel which makes it easy to snap onto the ring.
On a side note it also makes a great sea anchor to slow down your drift rate and it takes up far less space that the standard small boat drogue.
Deploying the kite is very easy as the points were the bridle line is attached have colour markers for easy identification, Red = Port (left) & Green = Starboard (right).
Grab these points and spread your arms and the kite fills and it’s just a matter of letting the bridle line slide between your fingers till you come to the main line. Let out more line till you come to the ring, attach the drogue, at this point I hook the main line through a clip and attach to your anchor trolley. As you let out the main line you can move the anchor trolley to the front of your Yak, then just tie off the kit line and sit back and relax.
Tied off at cleat. http://users.esc.net.au/~buff/image/Kayak_Stuff/Kayak_Kite/Kite-015.jpg
Anchor trolley at front of Yak http://users.esc.net.au/~buff/image/Kayak_Stuff/Kayak_Kite/Kite-016.jpg
I did find some info for rigging if you don’t have an anchor trolley. Connect a length of cord to a tie point at the front of your yak that is long enough to reach you when seated in your yak. At your end have a loop in the cord that you can attach a snap clip to. Deploy your kite and connect the main to the clip with a slip knot allowing enough main line to tie off the main line with in easy reach this (from what I have been lead to believe) will transfer the kites pull to the front of you yak but also when you retrieve the kite by pulling in the line the cord will come back to you ready for next time
Should look something like this http://users.esc.net.au/~buff/image/Kayak_Stuff/Kayak_Kite/Kite-018.jpg
Now most would think that you would only be able to go in the direction the wind is blowing, but in fact if you do the kite will lose any resistance to the wind and hit the water. In fact you need to go off wind (slightly tack) to give the kite resistance to the wind and this will pull you along.
Now all the info I could find have said that a kite will work best with a kayak that has a rudder system to help with placing the kayak to a slight angle to the wind. I did find that with my Hobie and with the ST fins fitted I was able to tack up to about 20 degree off wind with no sensation of slipping sideways and this gave a real feel of sailing.
So far I have only had limited time to play with the kite and all this info is either based on that limited experience or from the net or from the sales assistance but so far I can see it will be a great tool to add to the Yak for those days when the wind blows right and you just want to sit back and relax.
If you are interested there is some good footage on YouTube about Kayak Kite sailing and some more coordinated people than me are using dual line kites.
This link also has some great info on kayak kites. http://www.sit-on-topkayaking.com/Articles/SurfSail/KiteSailing.html