Klepper Sailing
by Tord Eriksson

Today we, my wife and I, sailed our Klepper Aerius II Expedition. Nothing special you say, but for my wife it was her very first trip in any kind of sailing vessel, big or small, and for me it was a return to what I did in my late teens, even if the boats then were twice as long and possibly 100 times heavier!

Pretty early we decided that an outrigger of some kind would be helpful, and having read Dal Stanley's account of experiments with various rigs and floats we knew we wanted a single float of some kind, sticking out to the starboard side, as we also have bought a tiny four-stroke outboard that prefer that side (so we'll keep the float on for powered trips).

By the way, here's Dal's URL:


Having studied various types of inflatable things, that possibly could be used as an outrigger, I suddenly came to think of a dormant model project of mine: A flying boat made out of EPP (the wings would come from a Dave's Aircraft Works sailplane, as they already are made of EPP, this wonder material that can stand almost any mishandling and then just bounces back to original shape).

Deep down in the cellar I found the flying boat hull, a little dusty and devoid of any covering or other nice details, but it would do for a test. A 20 x 20 mm aluminium tube (6063) would do as the arm that the outrigger attches to and the arm itself I clamped to the leeboard crossbar with Klepper-style J-clamps. The flying boat hull I attached to the tube with a piece of string - that's pretty much it!

Took a while to rig the Klepper, but eventually we were ready - my wife in the rear as helmsman and me up front pulling all the ropes :-)!

We had slept late - I arrived home after midnight Friday evening after a 10 hour day driving a non-airconditioned bus - so we were eventually ready to sail about 2 pm. Can't say the Klepper mast impressed me much - very wobbly unless you really tighten the stays, and the stays get in the way when you sail down-wind - not really the best design I've seen. I had replaced the original stays with kevlar lines - dyneema is probably even better - and added a kicking block to stretch the sail better. I also added lines so I could lower both the jib and the main while under way, from both the rear and the front seat.

My wife used the pedals to steer and I managed the sails - and until we started to make good speed my wife wasn't that impressed, but she quickly got bitten by the sailing bug! So now she awaits next chance to battle with the wind.

Sadly I forgot to turn the GPS on, but I'm pretty certain that we went supersonic at times :-)!

After a really rewarding afternoon at our favourite lake,

Tord S Eriksson

1) We're tyros when it comes to sailing, so we decided an outrigger (aka stabilisating float) would be a good idea: Our stabilisation float would need to be attached to the leeboard crossbar, so we got an aluminium square tube and clamped it to the crossbar - the neat trick is that the tube is held to the crossbar with J-clamps, the type Klepper uses to hold the crossbar to the railing - a perfect fit. I had to use ordinary nuts instead of the knurled nuts, for space reasons. So now we have a 20 x 20 mm square tube attached to the crossbar - now we just needed a float:-)!
2) Has some problems finding a suitable float - tried fenders, et cetera - till I came to think of a dormant modelling project: A flying boat made out of EPP, expanded poly-propylene! Naturally that would do quite well, I thought. A piece of plywood on top of the wing saddle, and a string to tie the fuselage to the aluminium tube should do - if it works I'll add covering and other niceities!
3) Here you see the flying boat fuselage attached to the tube and the crossbar, just the leeboards missing - and the Klepper! The test tube is bit too long, and not suiatble to seawater, but we'll get a better one soon! As there are no holes drilled in the tube it is much stronger than one with holes!
4) Here is our Klepper with the sails raised for the very first time, and the float attached (not visble)
5) After a few hours of sailing back and forth across a lake the verdict was out:
The pole was indeed slightly too long (as we had guessed), otherwise everything worked as a charm.

6) So we took a rest, lashed the main to the mast and lowered the jib. My wife has never, ever, before been aboard a sailing vessel of any kind, while my last trip in a sailing boat was over three decades ago! But my wife was very, very pleased and loved it when we raced along the lake and managed the steering quite well after getting used to the fact that the boat leaned a bit. Being busy steering she had no time to get scared! We might, later, add a second UNSTAYED mast and move the main to the rear mast, and possibly, add a small jib inbetween the two masts. But as it is it is pretty darn nice :-)!

The Klepper mast is not very practical as it is in three pieces (a bit wobbly, unless you tighten the stays really hard). And these stays really get in the way when sailing downwind!

7) This shows the J-clamp gripping the tubes - the inner two tubes are there to make it possible to attach and turn the leeboard into its up position. The tubes are taped together with strapping tape - this is not 100% UV-proof, but cost very little to replace
8) The same J-clamp as before. but seen from the bottom.
9) To turn your kayak into a powered one you need an outboard, in this case the fourstroke Honda BF 2, short rig version, as it is about the right power and a fuel miser. Then you need, to make it easy, an outrigger (here a converted model aircraft hull made of EPP, covered with strapping tape and yellow Oracover) and an arm for the outrigger - in this case an aluminium square tube (20x20x2 mm) of 6063 T6 quality, with a 30 x 4 mm spar on top, for the inner 40% of the tube's length, taped together with 3M strapping tape and finally covered with red model airplane film, of unknown origin.
10) You have to attach the outboard to the kayak some way, so we used a piece of a leftover table top, very sturdy, and added a aluminium angle (80 x 80 x 6 mm) to its starboard end. The aluminium angle is padded on one side with a piece of soft plywood, to give the outboard better grip.

The board is held in place by two Klepper J-screws, and supported in the centre by a aluminium tube (10 x 20 x 1.5 mm) to offload the frame and the cockpit coaming a bit. The tube is bolted to the # 4 frame. The outrigger is tied to the arm, as it seems to need a certain degree of movement.

The blue hose visible belongs to the bilge pump, while the white and blue rope was an experiment with rope assisted steering - not successful - so now we'll try a tiller instead :-)!

11) Closeup: The compass was in the way, so now it sits on the bottom of the board instead. Eventually the knurled nuts to the J-screws will be recessed, but this was an experiment, nothing more!
12) A bit dark picture, but then it was a very dark and rainy day - except for that it looks very idyllic, don't you agree?!
13) The compass has been removed, as has the rope steering. The vertical line along the left side of the picture is a result of a problem with GIMP (should have booted XP and Photoshop, but didn't have the time, nor the urge!).
15) The outrigger performed flawlessly, as usual, The arm looks a bit bent, but that is an visual effect of the reinforcing spar being slightly non-aligned with the square tube. J-screws aplenty, both holding the leeboard attachment to the coaming and holding the arm to the leeboard attachment. Worked quite well having the leeboards attached, but didn't improve things either, so we eventually took them off (seen sticking up from the cockpit).
16) View rearward: See that the outboard is at an angle, just that much is needed for the boat to run straight with neutral rudder at quarter throttle - at higher setting less is needed. Really not a lot of offset. Again the bilge pump hose is clearly visible, as are the details of the hiking board.