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 Post subject: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:19 am 
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Design flaw

    a mistake or fault in something that makes it useless or less effective.
    Macmillan Dictionary

    a fault or weakness, esp. one that happens while something is being planned or made and that makes it not perfect.
    Cambridge Online Dictionary


Hobie Island AI 2 and Tandem design flaw


Image


There are 2 problems with the Hobie main sheet deployment on the AI 2 and Tandem.

(1) The angle is too open, making it difficult for the pilot to lift the main sheet high enough to release from the cleat. The problem is aggravated in stronger winds, just when it may be necessary to release the main sheet as quickly as possible.

(2) As the pilot tries to lift the main sheet high enough, the large distance does not give him enough leverage. Stress on the shoulder is possible. PeteCress has recently posted on this problem. It is more noticeable on the AI 2 because of the extra distance between pilot & cleat.

The Tandem, both front and back, has the same problem, but the distance is less. The reduced distance makes the problem less pronounced, although a small person may experience it.

In a post last June regarding the pros & cons of the AI 2, I wrote, “location of the main line cam cleat is too far forward (sharp downward angle of the line to the hull block makes it hard to release sail in moderate to strong winds.)" To see that quote, you will have to scroll way, way down to get to my “pros & cons of the AI 2” (viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=720

Yakass posted (about the AI 2): viewtopic.php?f=71&t=54969
Yakass wrote:
What I do agree with Chekika about is that it can be tricky to uncleat the main sheet in stiff winds. I think this is partly due to the extra distance from seat to xbar. I did round up in the wind at one point when my sheet got stuck in the cleat when I was hit by a big gust with full sheet out, and this happened to Carl (in surf) to. We found a really simple and cheap solution for that at SLH - we just moved the forward block upwards and forward (6" forward, 2" higher) of its default position and this reduced the angle from the block to cleat, making it a heck of a lot easier to operate.

Yakass’ solution greatly reduces the angle. With this mod, the cleat releases easier, but it does not solve the distance problem on the AI 2.

Image


My solution on the AI 2, and shortly on my 2014 tandem, was to move the cleat back along the gunwale. I did this before I saw Yakass’ solution, but note that his and my angle are about the same. I did not move the block. Moving the cleat back along the gunwale eliminates the distance AND the angle problem.

Image


This is clearly a design flaw on the AI 2 and, to a lesser degree, the Tandem. Others have moved the main sheet cleat back along the gunwale on their Tandems. My apologies for not looking them up and noting them here.

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:28 am 
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I haven't noticed this issue on my TI. Maybe I'm tall enough that it doesn't bother me (I'm only 6'), or maybe it's because I don't cleat the main in heavy air with gusts. The only cleating issue I've noticed is from the tramps. The angle makes cleating and uncleating difficult, but this was handled with an extreme angle fairlead from Harken.

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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:41 am 
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Tom,

I may be wrong about this being a problem for the Tandem, but it definitely is for the AI 2.

I'm beginning to realize that the new seat design of the AI 2 and 2015 Tandem is what seems to make the cockpit larger. Only my AI 2 has that new seat. I wonder if 2015-2016 Tandem people will experience the "flaw."

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:24 pm 
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This mainsheet turning block was re-positioned 4" further forward this past summer - all current production of AI have the block moved up now, and yes, it works better in strong winds. The Tandem Island has the same spread, and we have had very few complaints - but we're also looking to move those up as well - they have a molded insert that will need to be relocated in the mold so this process does take a bit more time - but we are looking at making that change as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:36 pm 
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Never noticed it being an issue with my '15 TI, but then I don't have experience with anything else to compare against.

If anything, my problem is usually making sure the lines are cleated *enough* - I occasionally have one or the other slip out on me. (Mainsheet is just annoying, furling line can be a real problem if it's windy enough and I'm partially furled.)

Moving the blocks back doesn't seem to be a very good option for me since I want to hike out. Need to get one of those extreme-angle fairleads...


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:39 pm 
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Great, Jacques. I know Hobie tries to stay on top of these things.

Now, it would be nice if Hobie could relocate the main sheet cleat to be closer to the pilot. I know, I know, you would have to change the mold to do that, but I'm just thinking, "it would be soooo nice."

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:58 pm 
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Having the cleat closer to your hand is not needed - when I sail the F18 I'm 8ft away - it's technique and practice. The beam is where it needs to mount for strength. It won't get moved to the hull, sorry.

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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:09 pm 
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Jbernier wrote:
Having the cleat closer to your hand is not needed - when I sail the F18 I'm 8ft away - it's technique and practice. The beam is where it needs to mount for strength. It won't get moved to the hull, sorry.

I don't understand that. Strength of what? Are you saying a couple small screws into the thin crossbar is "strong?" I'll bet the block I put on my AI 2 with 4 screws through the hull and each backed by stainless steel washer and nut--I'll bet that cleat on the block will hold better than the Hobie cleat on the crossbar. Anyone can read about that mod here: http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=750

Hobie Island sailors are not professional. I'm sure Hobie recognizes the need to make these boats accessible to the average person with beginner to average sailing skills. I've purchased 5 of these Hobie Islands (3 AIs, 1 AI 2, 1 Tandem). Not one dealer has offered to give me a lesson in how to operate one. Placing the cleat nearer the pilot is not that big a deal, and it would make it easier for the pilot to uncleat in stronger winds.

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:35 pm 
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We have had several TI's and yes it is a little awkward to uncleat the main, but not awkward enough for it to be a problem (you get used to it). I have seen many of the solution out there (like Keiths, which is very good), but it hasn't bothered me enough to implement any of them.
In my case if it gets locked too tightly I just pop it up with my toe. I wonder if a different type easier to operate cleat replacing the Harken cleat might be the easier solution to those that are having difficulty (I saw a couple that looked like they might work better at West Marine).
Just a thought.
FE


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:57 am 
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The main sheet on a sail boat is a lot like the throttle on a car. It would be rare you'd simply lock down the throttle on your car and not bother with it (not talking about cruise control where you have a computer constantly adjusting for speed). Same with the mainsheet. Unless the wind is very, very light, it should be in your hand most of the time. For that reason I removed the cleat entirely - it's not needed.

For instances where you need to take the load off yourself for a moment or want to keep lock the sheet for some other reason, a simple horn cleat on the hull next to the seat is sufficient, and actually easier to use than the auto-type cleats. A half wrap takes the greatest portion of the load off yourself, but a quick release in the hand still releases the main sheet. A full wrap is enough to let go of the sheet without it slipping.

All the stuff about "angles" and "distance from cockpit to cleat" goes out the window with the horn cleat next to your seat. It's really worth a try. I certainly won't go back.


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:36 am 
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Tom:
Just thinking thru what you said makes perfect sense, why have a cleat up there at all. We can leave the original cleat in place (not hurting anything), then just run the line under the AKA brace (or next to the cleat) when we want to. Adding a simple (and really cheap) horn cleat next to you gives you something to wrap the line around to give your hands a break, should be all that's needed. You can always re-run the rope thru the original cleat if you get tired of it (it's nice to switch things up once in a while).
I think that's what I will do. In essence we are not changing anything at all ( I like that), just the way we use what's already there.
FE


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:39 am 
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Tom,

I have the main sheet in my hand all the time also if winds are strong, and I'm uncomfortable. The cleat takes all stress off my hand--that is what it is there for. If you don't want to use a clam cleat, fine. If you want to use an open cleat, fine, but it does not release as fast as a properly designed and positioned clam cleat. Clam cleats are there for a purpose. I have 4 open cleats on my AI 2, but none are used where a quick release is needed.

Frankly, it is hard for me to imagine being out in moderate to strong winds (common where we sail, or at least, that is what I sail in if possible) for 4-5 hrs holding on to the main sheet. Add that to maybe breaking camp and making camp, that makes for a very long day.

FE, I thought you said you seldom sail in winds over 5-7 mph???

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:58 am 
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With a horn cleat, you can wrap 1/2 around the cleat. This doesn't "cleat" it, just takes most of the pressure off your hand/arm. There is nothing to uncleat - if a gust hits you just relax your fingers a little bit and the sheet will slip out.

When you run the sheet under the aka you may find it useful to build a plastic block bushing. I took some plastic stock and bored a hole in it to act as a fairlead of sorts. The block itself is attached to the underside of the aka with plastic wire tires. It's worked exceptionally well.


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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:19 am 
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Tom Kirkman wrote:
With a horn cleat, you can wrap 1/2 around the cleat. This doesn't "cleat" it, just takes most of the pressure off your hand/arm. There is nothing to uncleat - if a gust hits you just relax your fingers a little bit and the sheet will slip out.

That is my point, with an open cleat (horn cleat), you have to manage it continuously, 100% of the time. It just does not fit my sailing. With your open cleat, your main sheet is analog (like a throttle on a car.) Using a clam cleat, as I do, my main sheet is digital. Again, the clam cleats are there for a purpose. If you don't want to use them, fine, but others may prefer the clam cleats. One of the neat things about the Hobie Islands with their Mirage drives, it leaves my hands free most of the time. I like it that way.

I'm reminded of a little problem we had posed once. What to do about rain on the windshield? (1) You could remove the windshield, or (2) install a windshield wiper. In the present case, what to do about a design flaw clam cleat: (1) get rid of the clam cleat, or (2) make the clam cleat work right.

Keith

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2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Design Flaw
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:50 am 
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Totally agree with you on this one. The angle was too harsh. Moving the turning block as also noted by Jacques fixes the "issue" of the hard angle into the cleat. That is all that would be needed by most users. At some point we have to set the design and making the cleats attach to the crossbars is the most logical / cost effective solution. Beyond that it becomes personal preference. We do, as you all know, pay attention though and when a great solution is found... and it is something we could do in production... we will.

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