Thanks to various other Hobie Kayak sailors who've posted their ingenious ideas on YouTube and various forums, I took the time to add some custom rigging for my sail kit onto my 2009 Outback. For about a hundred to a hundred fifty bucks, this has radically changed the sailing experience for me. The boat feels much more controllable now.
Idea 1) For the left hand: A roller furling.
Thanks to a YouTube video from someone named Halibu77, and a couple other videos from other guys, I put a ten inch length of 1-1/2" PVC pipe around the Hobie mast, and wound a rope around it to make my very own $7 roller furling. I then added an $8 Harken Block (You can go to the Harken website if you want to see what I'm talking about) onto the hull just to the left of the mast, and a Cam Clete ($23) just an inch or so forward of the rudder controller to hold my furling cord for me when I want the sail out. If I get into trouble with wind, tides, or an oncoming cabin cruiser, forcing me to paddle or peddle upwind to get out of his way, I simply lift my left hand off the rudder controller, and grab the rope. I give the rope a ONE arm's length pull, and VOILA!--my sail is instantly wrapped tightly around the mast like a vertically mounted window shade. I took it out on some days with ZERO wind to make sure it worked well before I got into wind. Yesterday was my first day in gusty, stormy weather.... It worked perfectly.
Idea 2) for the right hand. a better rigging for controlling my sail.
I got this idea from some of the posts on this forum. The idea was to get a longer rope (sheet it's called in sailing jargon) than the one that comes with the Hobie Sail kit, and run it to the back of the boat, then back up to the front of the boat, and then back to my right hand so that I can pull toward me to tighten the sail, rather than pull backward from the back of the boat.
The sail kit for Hobies is nothing but a stick, a plastic sheet, and a rope... that's all it is. When you lose control of your rope for just a second, two things happen: 1) the sail starts making a TERRIBLE sound, and slap you in the face a bit, as it flaps uncontrolled in the wind, and 2) That short rope they give you de-threads itself from that little handle at the back of the boat. Since I sail in rough waters, climbing to the back of my boat to try and re-thread that rope is not an option. So I have to go to shore and re-thread it every time I lose control of it.... Not anymore.
I replaced the short rope with a long one. I bought 4 Harken Blocks and another cam clete, and I lined the right side of the kayak with these blocks, so I could thread the rope from the sail to the stern through a nice stainless steel block, then up the right side through two more s/s blocks, out of the way of the paddles and other controls, all the way to the right side of the mast, through a 4th block, and back down into my right hand, where I put the cam clete which holds it in place unless I grab it for a quick release.
NOW, I have one arm's length of control to dump the wind out of the sail, or tighten up for speed without even having to think about it. My brain understands pulling a rope from the front better than it understands pulling it from behind me, so I have better unconcious control now of the sail in gusty, choppy weather.
I still have the normal fins on the mirage drive. I want to convert to turbo fins, but I used up my $100 monthly boat budget on the rigging. I did however buy the sailing rudder about a year ago. That is an absolute MUST HAVE if you want to sail this boat in any decent winds. You can't sail a straight line with the standard rudder.
Yesterday was my first time in rougher seas with both these new riggings in place. Just wanted to say thanks to all the guys who gave me these ideas, and to let you know, it is what made this boat sail-able for me.
Seattle Washington (US)