Howdy from Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
So everyone agrees that there is a life to the AI under 10kts, thanks to its unique peddling abilities, together with the sail giving a hand rather early ?
I do not intend to use the AI mainly sub 10kts, but waiting for the wind to pick up, or peddling out to the wind line, I will be confronted to this situation and I wanna make sure before shedding 4 grands !
Arno, I can't blame you for being nervous being a French pioneer in AI trimiran kayak sailing. It IS
a lot of money: give us all the questions you want.
Why not try to rent a demo from a dealer somewhere in Europe (my dealer charges $50US / day) or find a friendly AI owner over there who'll let you test drive his/hers for a couple bottles of good French wine?
You'll find the Mirage foot drive is so user friendly you won't miss paddling. Before this, I thought I'd never be able to sea kayak because of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists. No longer!
Using the AI on days with little or no wind is entirely enjoyable. The craft scoots along under muscle power at a brisk pace; you'll likely find yourself moving faster and more comfortably than paddlers. You can Zen out admiring the scenery with no worry of tipping over. You'll learn a lot about the craft of sailing by carefully watching water for wind gusts and positioning yourself to make the most of what little is available. You'll look incredibly sexy to every other other boat on the water wondering, "What the hell is that???" And... When the wind picks up, you're ready to fly.
The AI provides high adrenaline adventure kicks when the wind is high, but you'll discover it just as enjoyable in a Zen way on low wind days. You'll also find its load carrying capacity for long trips wonderful (as long as you keep the loads as low as possible above hull top, and as much as possible within the hull; this really helps pointing ability; windage above the top, especially in front can reduce your pointing to sh*t, matey).
I've been on this list a looooong time and have never seen a post from somebody regretting their purchase. The problems you see are a microscope into AI problems, and not a telescope into the universe of what it provides.
Again, ask any questions you want. And... keep us posted on your experiences.