Introduction: Inflatable Sailboat

Picture of Inflatable Sailboat
One day I wanted to build an inflatable sailboat but I had no money, so I tried a cheap solution, I used PVC pipe.

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Step 1: Materials

An inflatable boat, I used a Intex Seahawk 300 inflatable boat bad either will work, just adjust the measurements and fittings.

Frame and rudder

3m PVC pipe 40mm Brown
6m PVC pipe 32mm Brown
2 elbows 40mm
1 T 40mm
2 T 40mm/32mm
2 elbows 32mm
2 connections threadable 32mm
4-bladed paddle plastic


2.5 m aluminum tube of 1 3 / 4 "
2 x 3m aluminum tube of 3 / 4 "
6.5 m ripstop nylon 250 or a 3 x 4m polytarp
sewing nylon line
A ring of 1 1 / 2 "internal diameter (metal, wood or reinforced plastic)
4 stainless steel clamps 3 / 4 "


10m of 6mm rope
expandable polyurethane

Step 2: Frame Construction

Picture of Frame Construction

For the frame I used PVC pipe 40mm brown, impressed so strong it is.

I used a tee to cup the mast and elbows, to paddle into brackets I used two T 40mm/32mm.

As you can not do a tear in the middle of the boat to put a daggerboard, inflatable boats are used in these two Daggerboards side, I used the paddle blades that I had from the time he wanted to make the pedal boat, had to take the curvature of shovels, I boiled water and plunged the shovel for a few minutes in boiling water, there was only pressing the curve instead using a towel, and used PVC pipe 32mm brown, elbows and joins threadable, so I can easily dismantle the bowlines, and at the time of sailing is just tighten the nut and is tack in position. Note that the distance between the mast and the bowlines depends on the shape and size of the candle in the position of the bowlines sail should be at the point of sail's greatest strength, in my case coincided with the support of rowing because I would still make sail.

Step 3: Make the Sail

Picture of Make the Sail

So I went to the sail, I used nylon parachutes, those used to make backpacks and kites do not know if it is actually used in parachutes. I bought 3 meters of white, yellow and blue, I used everything could have been 1.7 m of the colors used on the sides. Can also be used to light the canvas sneakers that is relatively lightweight and durable, the United States has a similar material called Polytarp both have two layers of fiber-reinforced plastic inner, the difference is that the canvas has Take the fibers in a single Politarp sense and has two layers of fibers, one in vertical and horizontal in the other also can skip the step of joining the panels as it has in large measures.
I went to the garage of my father and stretched out the fabric, cut the fringe on the length and attach with double sided tape, 1 cm, most of those thin anyway, so I cut around to make it easier to mark the design of the sail, I I used the measures that the very Lucket Jim, owner of SailBoatsToGo emailed me, only converted to centimeters.
I'll try to explain, I cut the pipe 1 / 2 "in the middle, it comes with 6m, so I got two halves of 3m, uni parties with a screw and used as a ruler to mark the fabric, when I realized that mark I could not score with graphite, so I used charcoal, not good, dirty everything, I urge you to buy a tailor's chalk (not sure if still there), marked with a triangle base and 3.6 m in both sides of 2 , 89m (very basic high school trigonometry), done that, scored the curve gives the profile of the sail, for it scored four intervals of 30.5 cm 2, after 22.5 and 30.5 cm over 4, I started the edge less than 10cm perpendicular to March, following the measurements were 11.5, 12.5, 14, 15, 16cm, then goes down again 15, 14, 12.5, 11.5 and 10 cm, marked points, I drew a curve connecting these points, did the same thing the other side. I marked the openings for accessories and cables, are 3, I made a 5x20cm rectangle on the left I made two, one at 28 cm from the vertex and another 280cm apex, more or less in the center of the straight line and curve on the right side I scored a 124.5 cm from the apex.

I cut everything, and double-sided tape pasted d along a straight line, also pasted at the base of the triangle to make a bar. The top corner I cut a little, or not let the tip so that the tubes could be placed.
My wife used to stitch a common sewing with nylon line, the whole process with two zigzag seams, sewed the first union of the panels, then stitched reinforcements at the corners and openings and also sewed the bar at the leech, there it was time to glue the rounded edge with the straight part, that time has to be careful because this will form ruffles, then we have to distribute the gathers evenly throughout the tissue, but when the sail is ready to have a frown too large can cause turbulence and lose efficiency. There was just sew the curve. Finally sew strips of nylon type strap backpack, one in each corner and two on top, forming a dowel to tie the cables that stretch the sail.
A tip, the needle is sloppy with the glue of the double-sided tape, then wipe the needle with alcohol when you start to ooze, so the line is not stuck.
After the sail was sewn just insert the tubes, cables and tie it all go, to tie at the end of the boom and sprit I used stainless steel clamps at the junction of the tubes tied right into the screw.

In the space closest to the vertex I tied a ring of wood that passes through the mast, the more space I tied a cable that will pass through a pulley attached to the top of the mast and the space they left I tied the sheet.

Step 4: Make the Rudder

Picture of Make the Rudder
The next step was to build the rudder, I'm using the steering oar, I call the rudder / paddle, I used PVC pipe of 32mm, cut two tubes of 1.20 m and fit rowing blades without buckle, made the two rudder / oars.
For support, I used another tube of 32mm, I measured the width of the boat and left more than 20cm on each side to operate the power steering / rowing. I made two holes to pass bolts into the slots of the support of the boat engine, I used two plastic screws to repair a bathroom exhaust I had here. I also made two more holes about 5cm end of the tube to move the pivots of the wheel / paddles.
For the pivot of each rudder / paddle I used a dowel for a 10cm nylon, stuck to pass bolts so that the bottom bracket is a bolt just above another, thus fixing the pivot on the bracket and a far more support to attach the clamp that holds the cable from rudder / paddle, I used nylon washers repair the same discharge to facilitate movement.
The clamps I made with PVC, I cut 4 strips of 40mm tube, warmed and made to bend, then stuck to the pivot and set up the cable to hold the rudder / paddle.

Step 5: Ending

Picture of Ending

I filled up all the pipes with polyurethane expandable to not get water.
You should tie the frame and the loops of the boat.
Inflate the boat enough for when you put it in water, the lowest temperature will drop a little air pressure inside the boat.

Use life jacket



lucek (author)2014-07-09

Finally got to this today. Haven't made the sail yet nor the rudder assembly but the mast is up. For note I built the rig the way I did because I had most of the fittings and it save me PVC pipe.With any Luck I can see this in the water in a week or 2.

lucek (author)lucek2014-07-13

Update: Just about finished. Got a temp sail made out of some cheep PVC and an old poly tarp.

lucek (author)lucek2015-07-19

New polytarp sail new rudder and broken rig. Apparently the old PVC didn't bond well at one joint and the weld broke.

martin.diamanti (author)2015-03-20

Hola, muy buena solucion.!

Estoy evaluando en mi caso entre perfileria de aluminio como "sailtogo", aunque un poco mas costosa pero transportable por avion, o con caños de pvc, aunque sea la parte estructural nada mas.

En tu caso con caños de pvc el sistema es desarmable para transportarlo en un bolso o es fijo?


j_enzo (author)martin.diamanti2015-03-31

Hola Martin, la estructura es fija, todo gomada, no la uso mas, el bote se rotó.

clarkjf1 (author)2013-08-07

qual o material da vela? não entendi direito. onde você encontrou?

j_enzo (author)clarkjf12013-08-08

Olá Clark, eu usei Nylon de paraquedas comum, aqui em São Paulo encontramos em lojas de tecidos profissionais, o ideal eu acredito que seria o Nylon Ripstop que é mais resistente a rasgos, na época eu não encontrei, más há alguns dias um colega comprou na região do Brás.

Hello Clark, I used common parachute nylon here in São Paulo found in professional fabric stores , I believe that the ideal would be the Nylon ripstop that is more resistant to tears, I have not found the time, but a few days ago a colleague bought in the region of Brás.

jkjkhardcore (author)j_enzo2013-09-11

Hola J_enzo I'm using UV treated polytarp material,mine is 10 mil in thickness 12-15 mil is recommended, It was very cheap I got 10x8 feet for 12$
I was wondering how you make it all stick together (the pvc frame) did you use glue? I know you mentioned polyurethane to prevent water from going inside, does that hold it together? Maybe I missed this part.
I think I will use the same design as you originally I had thought of a bermuda sail, but I don't have that much material to work with.

j_enzo (author)jkjkhardcore2013-09-12

Hello Jkjkhardcore, I glued the PVC frame with the appropriate adhesive. After all glued I filled the inside with polyurethane not to get water.

jkjkhardcore (author)2013-08-05

I signed up just because of this.

j_enzo (author)jkjkhardcore2013-08-06

Thank you

ivanfang (author)2012-09-27

Hi Julio, can you drive her back perobly from down wind? cause I did made a similar one as yours by SS pipe for my SEAHWAK3, she is good for going to down wind, but hard for come back from down wind.

j_enzo (author)ivanfang2012-09-27

Hello Ivanfang, just like you I have difficulty in to sail downwind, I believe the problem tin shape and positioning of leeboards

ivanfang (author)j_enzo2012-09-28

Yes so I am going to make a big leeboard to the boat, hope it work.

zimirken (author)2012-08-24

I built a sailing rig for one of the cheap as dirt inflatable boats very similar to this. I used the intex (something) 200, which by the way will float 2 adults that weigh around double what its weight limit says on the box. One of the differences was in that for the leeboards i used two 1.5ft x 2 ft piece of plywood on either side and attached them to the pvc pipes going down the sides with u-bolts. I also used a polytarp sail. I ended up making a smaller sail (about 12 sq.ft.) than i had originally used because it was more sail than I needed. These tiny little inflatables have almost no drag in the water and that translates to this rig sailing quite fast for what it is. It also still moves in low wind conditions. This is a fantastic toy and I'm totally going to make more of these.

lucek (author)2012-07-06

You know I was designing a sailing rig for my inflatable when I found this. Thanks you just saved me some work.

j_enzo (author)lucek2012-07-06

How good that helped you

lucek (author)j_enzo2012-07-06

Actually looking again you have just about the same boat.

Biggest thing I noted was that you're rig is so much smaller and less complicated then the one I was working on. I think I could actually build this for about half the price and with less effort.

One question comes to mind did you chose the brown for a reason? I only ask because I have almost all the fittings I'd need but in white pvc.

j_enzo (author)lucek2012-07-06

Well, here in Brazil brown pvc tubes are used for high pressure water, and white are used for sewage, so the brown are stronger (in Brazil).

thekatr2 (author)2012-05-11


fight4gipper1 (author)2011-04-28

This is one thing I am going to build from this site.

догородник (author)2011-03-30

Отличная статья!

Большое спасибо

Thank you very much

ewilhelm (author)2011-03-20

I have a commercial inflatable sailboat from Sea Eagle, which is fun and fits in the trunk of my car, but is difficult to tack unless there is plenty of wind. As I point into the wind, I quickly lose all speed and can't quite make it all the way around. Jibing is no problem, of course. How does your boat tack?

j_enzo (author)ewilhelm2011-03-20

Thanks for the comment really Ewilhelm the boat is very light, but as the hull is flat and soft, holds enough water to the boat, as I did a few rides I still can not figure out how it will behave, But just like yours, when I pass by the line of wind it greatly decreases the speed.
But when I raise the rudder, the boat makes a turn and crosses the line from the wind and I have a new direction.
Sorry my english by google, which has given hope to understand.

jtpoutdoor (author)j_enzo2011-03-21

Have you tried using a leeboard? I don't know much about sailing- I'm reading your instructable to try and pick up some tips for making a sail rig for my canadian canoe- I'm using PVC piping as well and wasn't sure if it would be strong enough.
Canadian (open) canoeists who are really into sailing usually use a leeboard to make up for the fact that the boat has no keel- just a peice of shaped plywood which can be lowered into the water, don't know if this would improve your ability to tack ?
try googling open/canadian canoe sailing- there is a UK interest group out there.
ps your english is much better than my portugese! thanks for translating so well.

tiihaytch (author)jtpoutdoor2011-03-23

jtpoutdoor - try

he has a gaff rig he has used with canoes, plus other boating adventures

jtpoutdoor (author)tiihaytch2011-03-23

thanks for that, I actually have a windsurfer sail (needs a boom and mast set up) which I am intending to use. I also have a squareish sail I have used in the past with rafted canoes and an A frame mast rig, but I like to browse and pick up (pinch) other people's ideas. I have to sort out a mast of some sort so I had a look at this thread although I probably won't go with the whole concept I like the rudder system- and at some stage I will complete my rig (and hopefully post it!)

tiihaytch (author)jtpoutdoor2011-03-27

Traditional umiak mast methods (umiak = arctic open decked boat) involve fitting a block to the keelson, then either lashing the mast to a thwart, or using a series of lashings arrayed around the mast to the gunwales on each side.

although the koryak or chuchki people in eastern siberia used a tripod mast, with two legs on one gunwale, one on the other - it doesn't give much freedom of movement to a sail.

j_enzo (author)jtpoutdoor2011-03-21

Hello Jtpoutdoor , thanks for the comments, as leeboard I use on my boat two blades oar, one on each side, because as the boat is a little off, if one side raise the other continues in the water. I believe that the yield decreases against the wind due to the reduced weight of the boat and the large area of the stern, so I think the resistance is greatly increased.
The sailing canoe using only a leeboard because the width is small, and only one is enough.
The PVC pipes I used are 40mm diameter and 3mm thick for my sail is strong enough, I believe in a canoe you will have more space to work.
Good luck with the project.


jtpoutdoor (author)j_enzo2011-03-23

Thanks for your reply Julio, I haven't seen the brown PVC you used stocked locally- I have some grey pvc - don't think it is as thick as 3mm so a bit nervous about it!
I think some of the canoe sailing guys use two leeboards- but not both at once! I missed the fact you were using leeboards in my first look at your set up.
I know there is some technical sailing type stuff about positioning of the lee board (or keel ) for best effect - I think it was in a book not online. You had to work out the centre of your sail and the centre of your boat and do some maths- or you can just experiment with moving the leeboards further forwards or backwards and see what works best.
I've only sailed properly briefly in Toppers- I know they are flat hulled (similar to your boat- and the best way to get them to move fast is to trim them as level as possible. In a canoe with the hull shape you can get them to plane by being stern heavy. You might get better effects by moving around in your boat as you sail- have fun playing!

j_enzo (author)jtpoutdoor2011-03-24

Jtpoutdoor Hello, here in Brazil there are white PVC pipes for low pressure (to sewers), these are about 1mm thick, brown and pipes for high pressure are the kind I used, I also had doubts about the resistance, but in practice it proved strong enough.
The positioning of leeboards actually require complex calculations for the best performance, but as a rule, the amateur construction, we adopt the point of maximum power of the sail to be the point where it will be positioned leeboard. In my case I tried to use the brackets rowing, because of Jim Lucket SailboatsToGo I had suggested 30 "to 36"for use with the steering / oar in my boat and coincided with the brackets, to Rudder the distance should be less, then really think you should test some distances to get the best result. On the net you will find some sites on amateur building that can help with that.
Good luck
Good luck

gserrano701 (author)2011-03-22

Very nice, I will keep it in mind to make my own sometime in the future. Congratulations.

j_enzo (author)gserrano7012011-03-22

Thanks Gserrano701, I'm sure you will enjoy it too.

j_enzo (author)2011-03-22

Capone111 Sorry, but I could not read your message.

Capone111 Извините, но я не могу читать ваши сообщения.

ieso53 (author)2011-03-20

Parabéns a você e seus colaboradores pela sua empolgante e contagiante realização. Eu fiz questão de escrever em português por que é raríssimo ver vídeos brasileiros construtivos.
Congratulations to you and your colleagues for their exciting and contagious achievement. I made a point to write in Portuguese because it is rare to see Brazilian videos constructive. (by google translater)

j_enzo (author)ieso532011-03-20

Thanks, I am very pleased that the project has pleased, thanks also for the consideration of writing in Portuguese, I would like to see more projects on Instructables Brazilians. The Brazilian people are very creative.


Wasagi (author)2011-03-20

Fantastic! I really like this instructable, and your boat is terrific!

j_enzo (author)Wasagi2011-03-20

Thank you very much

imac49 (author)2011-03-20

Thanks for sharing. I always wanted to do that and perhaps now I will.
Well done

j_enzo (author)imac492011-03-20

Get to work, build your show and show us.

mikeasaurus (author)2011-03-18

Looks like fun! Good idea filling the PVC with expanding foam.
In the video you look like you're getting some good speed.
Also, you can embed the video into the body of your instructable, might make it more accessible to the community here. The option is in the "rich editor" when you edit your project.

nice job!

j_enzo (author)mikeasaurus2011-03-19

Thanks Mikeassaurus indeed at times one could speed fun.
Thanks for the tip of the video, I will correct.
Sorry my bad English, I have to use google translator.

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