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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:46 pm
Posts: 2354
Location: Escondido
I got to borrow this little sweetheart for a day -- what a blast! This boat is a lot bigger than it looks in many ways. This entry focuses on its performance features and a follow up post discusses unpacking, packing and dimensions for those who are interested: http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewt ... 6038#56038

Arrival at the lake:
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Stability:
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Trying a little mock casting.
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The capacity might surprise you -- "worlds smallest tandem":
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As you can see, it scoots right along
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With standard rudder, the initial turning moment is a bit slow, but once it gets going it really spins around.
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Time for a trip out to the dam, about 2 1/2 miles away. Yes, all that wake is coming from this little scooter!
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A breeze is starting to show up as the dam approaches -- good for sailing later.
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Overall one hour distance 4.1 miles -- a little slower than the i12 but not bad at all for a 9 footer!

Time for sailing. But first, note the recent change to a beefier hook for the stays. It's also easier to adjust with a simple slip knot (and a little practice).
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The boat is so small, the Hobie sail finally looks proportional! Sailing is a blast! The wind picked up (camera battery died, so no pics) and was gusting to about 20 MPH. The boat never felt unstable -- the sail just heeled over by itself (hull flex) to dump wind. The boat got up to 4.4 MPH without any help from the fins. The ride was much drier than with the standard boats. Even with the mast raked forward and the large sailing rudder there was a significant weather helm with high wind -- at times hard to control. The boat tracked surprisingly well beating into the wind with Turbofins serving as daggerboards. These dockside shots were taken while getting underweigh:
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Overall performance: Very stable (not as much as the larger i12 though). Dry, maneuverable, and quick for its size. Paddling was much easier with the i9 than with the larger inflatables and even pleasant. Because of the tapered sides, there is much less chance to scrape your fingers on the rails.

Not surprisingly, handling is sensitive to weight placement in such a small boat. With an adjustable seat and pedals, it's easy to find an optimal position. Moving forward affords a bit higher cruising speed but less stable steering. In this position the hand needs to be on the rudder control at all times with the standard rudder. With body weight shifted further aft, directional control is more stable but the stern digs in a little with speed. The i9 was not overly affected by wind. Chop was very light while pedaling so no effect was observed.

The (optional) large rudder helps with initial turning, and is necessary (IMO) when sailing. Note -- all the inflatables require the "old" style sailing rudder; the newer "balanced" rudder does not fit.

Seat comfort is improved over my first test ride in the i12, but still is not quite as comfortable as the hard shells. Up and down rudder lines took two hands to operate, but the rudder control (tiller) operated very easily. The Click N Go Mirage Drive locking system was flawless.

Of all the inflatables, this boat was the most fun. Like a little sprite, it's light weight, quick to set up and eminently portable. The i9 will do everything any other kayak will and stow easily in the trunk or behind the driver's seat! 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:53 am 
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Hobie Team Member

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Northfield, NH
Nice write up :D
I see the sails on the inflatables have stays (?) for support. Is there any other difference between a regular sail? Basically I'm wondering how complicated would it be to use my current sail on an I9 when I take the plunge and get one?

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07 Ivory Dune Adventure
http://www.newenglandkayakfishing.com
http://www.aldenofsunapee.com/

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:46 pm
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Location: Escondido
Hi Mark; as I recall, the mast is about 10" shorter for the inflatables because it seats in a pocket rather than a longer sleeve. Also the i9 mast comes in 4 parts so it will break down and fit in the boat bag (my demo sail had an older 3 part mast for the i12 -- too long to pack). They're internally bungeed so they just fold up to collapse and snap together to erect, unlike my original sail mast.

As you know, you would have to sew stays on the sail, and I don't know if there are any internal reinforcements as a result. The sail otherwise looks and fits the same on the mast.

It's certainly worth a try with the longer mast if you can deal with the other issues. It would just jack the sail up about a foot. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 186
Location: Grantham, NH
Is that Lake Hodges? If so it looks a little different than I remember but then its been a few years.

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http://www.aldenofsunapee.com/
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Northfield, NH
Thanks for the insight! :D

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07 Ivory Dune Adventure
http://www.newenglandkayakfishing.com
http://www.aldenofsunapee.com/

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