Friday, January 27, 2017
Aleut Kayak Sail - sutu-x^
Sails on Aleut kayaks were used early on though probably copied from western sailing craft. Early sails were made of grass matting or skins though later of canvas. The sail was called sutu-x^. In Attuan, the sail made of skin was called chiyug^asi-x^. Sailing was done primarily down-wind which in Unangam Tunuu is slam chidug^-ag^i-i. The mast was called aqax^tayuuchi-x^. To sail was called chidux^-six^. When wind was calm or opposing the direction of travel, sails were taken down.
Sailing against the wind would have required lee boards and additional lines on the sail, encumbrances which the Aleuts apparently chose to avoid, probably because they weren't worth the trouble.
Kayaks rigged with sails did, however, have a rudder which was controlled by the paddler in the rear cockpit. More details on that in a separate post.
Although some single kayaks used sails, the sails were primarily used on doubles which were the preferred craft for hunting sea otters under the Russian regime.
This is the block through which the line runs that raises the sail. The line goes from the mast right behind the front-most cockpit down to the block and then back to the cockpit behind the sail where that paddler trims the sail.