The 17 has the same system - and I've been racing them for almost 20 years. I use a single-braid 4mm Dyneema halyard with an eyesplice (really easy to do yourself) in the end. Thread the bitter end of the halyard through the ring, then through the eyesplice and pull tight. Absolutely zero bulk from a knot and can be undone at anytime without cutting.
When raising the sail, I stand in front of the front crossbar, thread the halyard down and through the center tramp lacing opening and towards the front of the boat, under the crossbar. That lets me alternately pull on the halyard and feed the sail as necessary. Dyneema has a very waxy feel to it and is very slippery, so there's not that much additional friction by turning around the crossbar. I can brace a knee or a foot against the crossbar to keep the boat from moving as I raise the sail (probably wouldn't have that problem on a 21SE)
There's no special tricks required to attach the halyard to get it to latch. Make sure the boat is head to wind.
Pull the sail all the way to the top (there's a definite "click" when it gets there), grap the mast rotator with your right hand and pull to the right (boat's port side). You can sight up the mast and see the hook rotate under the ring. Let the halyard go and you'll hear the "snick" of the ring in the hook.
To unhook, again, make sure the boat is head to wind, pull the sail up, grab the mast rotator with your left hand and pull to the left (boat's starboard side). If you look up the mast, you will see the hook rotate away from the ring. Let the halyard go. Sail comes down.
It's all in the technique. The "flopper" is completely unnecessary.
Tom King wrote:
Is anyone still at Hobie Cat that was there in the '80s?
For a start:
Hugh Greewald (not sure when Hugh consolidated Sailing Systems with Hobie Cat)
Matt probably knows of others . . .