The hull number ends: M77I
The gentleman I bought it from told me he was the original owner and that he ordered the boat when they were announced. These are Hobie sails and I believe that they are original. I saw a photo, in one of the Hobie Cat sailing books he gave me, with an 18 that was owned by the co-designer Phil Edwards and it had sail number 136 and looked like the same colors. It was unfortunately in black and white. After seeing this, I just started to wonder if a low sail number indicated a real early boat in the production.
The original owner also told me that a couple of guys from Hawaii came to his house shortly after purchasing the boat and filled the inside lip between the hull and top on the inside of each hull. Some sort of factory reinforcement with I am not sure what material but it is still there and in good shape. I used to own and race a H16 about 15 years ago and now that my kids are interested in it, I started looking for some cheap fun and ended up looking at 18's because of the stability and heavier crew weight. You know fitting more people on and for some reason, I seem to weigh a lot more now than in my 20's.
I have had it out about a dozen times this month and it seems great and I cannot believe that I went this long without the thrill of sailing these boats in some good heavy wind. Here is a video of the first time my wife has ever been sailing and the first time for me in 15 to 16 years. I need to get a couple of hiking suits. http://youtu.be/Lp8_I9P0zRY
Yes, I am fortunate that I run a sign company in metro Detroit. I took photos of the hull after I removed the original stripe and drew on it until I was satisfied with a basic design. My 10 y.o. son wanted the shark teeth so I incorporated them into the stripe. I used the pantone colors of the sail to make it. I was hoping for something a little retro while still being updated.
Thanks for the info and the forum has been great in helping me learn the 18's intricacies and remember quite a bit of what I had forgotten.