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The Hobie Adventure Island
What led you to choose this style of boat?-Because the 'type' is light, slim, easily driven and managed, with no sitting out or movement of bodyweight needed in order to sail. With minimal storage cost or space needed compared with dinghies or cruisers and no repairs needed to return a used boat to sailing trim. Least is best now, with no time consuming winter fitting out and minimal maintenance jobs to do through the season. The plastics used in these are a huge bonus for me as it is very robust. It's hard to believe how much time I have lost to laying up, maintenance and repair over the past decades of boat ownership.
Where do you enjoy sailing?-I enjoy sailing most places but mainly day sail locally in Weymouth, although that may change with this boat as it is easy to transport. I would like to take it to Lake Garda for a couple of weeks, a holiday with sun and wind, twice a day, the water cool and invigorating, inviting a dip every hour or so, heaven! Poole Harbour is fun with other trips planned.
How do you deal with the threat of capsize?-I do not see capsize as a threat, the boat is very stable and when a capsize happens it'll be a normal part of small boat sailing. The outriggers are folding, a simple clip holds a stay in place, then a capsize drill to get the right way up, the low freeboard design makes it easy to get on with no water sloshing about since the cockpit is self bailing. My breathable dry suit adds confidence and I know I won't get cold and wet, with reduced energy levels.
What problems have you met?-The problems are more to do with me than the boat; I do not have enough strength to move the boat easily. I have altered a small box trailer into a flatbed so the trolley can be used to wheel the boat onto the trailer with no other lifting involved other than rolling the boat over to remove the trolley. The AI is a 'wet' sail and a drysuit is needed (much more comfortable than a wetsuit!) for a lot of the time, not so much a problem as a style! The performance has been detuned to be acceptable to the general public and allow more to sample sailing, the carbon mast bends and allows the sail to twist off and remove the driving force, without a doubt it has been designed in and I have to accept that ultimate performance may not be the best thing for me these days!
What advantages have you found?-The boat itself is versatile, it can be pedaled with its own pedal/fin drive system, paddled using a double or single paddle with or without the outriggers and sailed with them and it comes as a 'sorted' package rather than one which needs to be altered/adapted/changed or redesigned. The pedal drive system is very powerful, it is driven by legs which are stronger than arms, despite limitations, I can pedal it easily, the fins (there are three sizes to suit you) are adjustable for reach and twist offering the correct size for leg length and either low down 'torque' making them softer to pedal or to a higher speed which is similar to having resistance on a bike, it is suggested that you take the mast down to reduce windage whilst pedaling/paddling, this is a job of a few seconds. The two piece carbon mast is very light, whilst the 16' high, 59sq.ft. una rig is easy to handle and can be reefed in a second or two (the battens are vertical) by releasing the mainsheet and pulling on a single reefing line. They also come equipped with a carbon double paddle which is useful to get off a beach in shallow water. There are a few nice touches such as an adjustable air cushion seat back and moulded seat, drinks holder, fishing rod holder etc etc. The boat is as light as I could find at 25kg for the main hull and 52kg all up. The able performance gives me the chance to cover ground easily, the like of which I could only dream of in my previous cruisers. My strength would have given out on a longer sail if I had sailed my windsurfing boards. A reasonable amount of gear can be carried in three deck hatches or in drybags, bungeed down on the cargo area, fishing gear is more important to me, at present, than a tent or cooker. Reports of maximum speeds around 13 knots under sail are frequent but the real bonus are the average speeds which for the given length are good. From trailer to water takes less than 20 mins.
What will you be looking for in your next boat?-Speed is addictive, lightness is never a bad thing and if I had to change I would like to build my own, probably along similar lines. The advantages such as the easy rigging, foldable outriggers, pedal drive, easy care robust materials vastly outweigh any disadvantages so we'll see how we get on.
I have chased after a few used boats from other manufacturers, a Solway Dory and a Raptor amongst them, and like a lot of things, once you start to make decisions on what you want, there comes a time when the possibilities are reduced by availability and personal choice stops. If you want to get on and enjoy the boat you have to decide which path to tread. There seems to be resistance towards the manufacturer of this boat or is it the boat itself? Anyhow, having a long term condition means I want to get on and enjoy the craft, I am not bothered whether it is a canoe, kayak or trimaran or if it's called a hybrid, it suits what I need and it is particularly suited to me.