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 Post subject: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
Hi All
Collected my AI today (secondhand). Had to do a few adjustments and odds and sods before taking it out on the water. First impressions are good, it is quite quirky and will take some getting used to. I am concerned that some of the components may be a bit light for the weather I encountered today. I was sailing through 3-4' waves (literally, I was constantly burying the nose back to the mast) in winds gusting around 20-25 knots. I am sailing in Chichester Harbour in the UK which is notorious for its fast flowing tides and mud banks. Because of the lengthy discussion regarding the rudder pins shearing, i decided not to screw the blade down whilst I am getting used to using it in the shallows. This proved to be a mistake, as the rudder would suddenly let go whenever I got any kind of speed up or in a very strong gust whilst trying to point. Due to the wind and the waves, I decided not to attempt to do the screw up on the water and ended up nursing it back to the shore. It does struggle to hold a line in a strong wind when trying to point, the rudder doesn't seem very effective and there were several occassions where it simply rounded up into the wind, however I have not sailed at Trimaran before, so may be expecting too much from it in difficult conditions.
It has the lever to park it it,would the later setup be better for what I am doing and does it do away with the lockdown screw?

I couldn't get the seat base to stay put, it kept slipping out of its holes and slipping forward, leaving me in a somewhat laid back style that was not at all comfortable and worried the seal colony as I carreered by!.

Still it is early days and like everything, will take some time to get dialled into. Overall I am delighted with it and enjoyed my baptism of fire.

Couple of questions. I would like to establish its production date. Its serial number is CCMD4443D707. It has the later rudder blade and the D plastic pin ( What a crap design that is, couldn't Hobie have made it more difficult?). I struggled to get it out on land, I wouldn't fancy doing it in the water. For the record it looked ok before I went out in rough conditions today, I will check it before I go out again.
It has the twist turnbuckle catches for the Mirage drive. Anything I should be checking for? I have had a good poke round the insert where the photos in another post showed it had cracked. So far it looks good.

When inspecting it before going out, I noticed that the mast holder base locnut was loose and the 2 diagonal stays were also finger tight. I have had a poke round the various manuals on the forum and can't find anything that explains exactly how tight everything should be and how to set it up. Any advice would be welcome.

Great site! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:34 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Northern VA
Hi Rokraider, and welcome aboard.

As I'm sure you will find out, the AI truly is an awesome boat. As you have already noticed, it is not without its little quirks. Still, once you get used to the boat you will enjoy it as much as the rest of us do.

First thing to know is that the AI is a WET RIDE. And sailing it in 3-4 ft seas and 20-25 kt winds, you're going to get really wet! You will also, as you probably noticed, have a lot of fun. In such conditions it's not unusual to have pretty much the entire boat submarine through a wave. I've been submerged up to my chest a number of times. Just make sure that everything you want to keep is securely lashed or leashed. Not to worry though. The AI is a pretty well built boat, and she can take some abuse. I've been out on 6 ft waves on Lake Erie (one of the Great Lakes in the US/Canada), and have sailed in 30 kt winds on the front side of an Atlantic hurricane. Storm hadn't arrived yet, but the winds had. Both were great experiences, and I didn't break anything in either of those outings. That's not to say I haven't ever broken anything. In three years of sailing (something over 200 outings) I've broken 4 rudder pins (three old style and one new "D" head). The broken rudder pin actually is usually pretty easy to extract, as the bottom is where the break usually occurs. Get yourself a stainless steel leatherman tool and keep it with you.

The rudder is an ongoing issue, as you may have noticed from many previous threads on the subject. The best advice seems to be tightly cleat the rudder down, and partially furl the sail to depower a little bit. I know, sounds like it takes the fun out of the big wind, but it can actually let you sail faster because you have better control. The setscrew can help, but then you lose the ability to twist-n-stow the rudder from the cockpit.

The seat plugs is also a common complaint, as evidenced by the recurring thread topic. Some folks have had luck with non-skid shelf liner under the seat. I guess I'm lucky in that regard. The seat in my early 2007 model is a slightly different style, and it doesn't pop out like one on some newer boats I've sailed.

If you have the twist cam style hold-downs for the mirage drive, and the D shaped rudder pin, it sounds like you have a mid-year 2008 model boat. Others may be able to narrow it down even more from the number itself. If there's a "key" to deciphering it, I'm not aware of it.

At any rate, get out there and enjoy the boat every chance you get. You'll get her personality figured out, and have a ball doing it. Pretty soon you'll be wearing what my friends call my "AI Grin". That's the grin so big it connects in the back! :D

Happy Sailing,
- Jim L


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:46 pm
Posts: 2395
Location: Escondido
...D707 = built April 2007; 2007 model. Use the search function here or just scroll through some of the posts, and check out the FAQ section regarding some of your issues, fixes and innovations -- lots of great material! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
Thanks for the advice. I am enjoying the AI and as a constant bimbler, will be adding and tweaking as I go.

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:15 am 
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 5:06 am
Posts: 1569
Location: Lake Macquarie NSW AUSTRALIA
Hi rokraider. Welcome to the forum mate. I'm sure we all had a smile at some of your issues with your first outing. Yep we have all had those issues, rudder, rudder pin, turning into wind, seat pegs etc. but overall these are pretty minor comaired to the fun you are about to have. We all tune our AI's here and there to suit our own weater conditions. My seat kept popping out just like most peoples, and then I found that if I really pushed them in with a fair bit of force rather than just a 1/2 arsed push, then mine really stay in. I just spent the night adding some spacers, caved our of hard rubber, at the 4 connection points between the Aka and the the connection bar. I found that the Aka had far too much play and slop in the connection point and these spacers have tightened it all up so that it now feels like 1 boat rather than a sloppy 3.

Keep in touch mate. Looking forward to hearing about some of your trips.

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:53 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:04 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Hi there and welcome to the board and the AI. Brave of you to go out in those conditions for 1st outing. I went out in 10 mph for the 1st 10 outings only to get comfortable w/ the boat first. I have been sailing mine since Nov and am still on my 1st rudder pin. I do go out in all conditions and have yet to break anything.(knock on wood).
I use my thumb and really push the seat pegs down into the holes and they have never come out on me while sailing or peddling. I too have some steering issues in the high wind and bigger seas and am now getting used to furling partially to get control and speed up. The rudder can really get out of whack if you run it aground. Usually just pulling it up then moving the rudder control left and right a few times and then putting it back down sorts it out just great. I am sure i am more cautious and maybe a bit timid with the boat than some here but that is just me. Live to sail another day.
I just got the Tramps but due to Vacation I have not used them yet.
Glad you are happy you got the AI and will likely have more questions and tales to share. This Forum is a great resource.
Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:22 am 
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 7:34 pm
Posts: 94
"bimbler" -- great sounding and potentially useful word. Is it British slang? Its not in the OED. Sounds like it may mean someone who likes to work on or modify, fix up , etc. -- one who messes about modifying boats. ??

Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
That is exactly right! To" bimble" is to fiddle about and endlessly tinker with the boat in an effort to make it better (or worse depending on ability). Often the end result is not that important, it is the pleasure obtained "bimbling".
:D

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 7:34 pm
Posts: 94
Water Rat to Mole in "Wind in the Willows" --

"Simply messing...about in boats -- or with boats... In or out of 'em it doesn't matter. Nothing seems to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

Water Rat was a bimbler!


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
Had my 2nd outing today. Raining with gusty 10 knot + wind a a little choppy. I screwed the rudder down before going out this time, better, but still popped up during one gust. Fitted new screw and seems to be better. Still getting used to tacking and its ability to stall, no matter how fast I seem to be going! The Mirage is a lifesaver during these. Was chasing other boats to get a comparison of performance. Was doing OK against full rig Lasers, but could not point as high. On a broad reach I was possibly quicker, it was certainly close and I am still getting used to trimming the sail, it is very different to a conventional mainsail with a boom. I was holding my own against Flying Fifteens until they put their spinnakers up and would then eventually pull away. Overall I am very happy with its performance and had a thoroughly good 3 hours or so.
I have rigged up a line to hold the mainsail out on a run downwind. It is not perfect, but it certainly helps. I have routed it from the mainsail to the handle on the amas then run it to to the rear and then back to the hull and finishing in a cleat alongside the seat. I will be fitting tramps and am trying to keep it as clean as possible. Other than the line with the hook, the rest of the line is out of the way. I started off parking it on the spare tie down alongside the seat, but found it got in the way when paddling, so I now tie it off on the amas lockout. I have posted the pics incase anyone is interested. The bonus is that you don"t need to disconnect anything when you swing the Amas in, there is enough slack in the line.
I might experiment with a spinnaker pole as well.

Probably trying to teach my Grandmother to suck eggs here!

I think it would be worth having an owners gallery showing what modifications they have carried out, it would be a useful resource for newbies such as myself.

Anyway suck away if you want! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:34 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Northern VA
Hi Rokraider,

Everybody eventually says the same thing about the AI downwind, but it sounds like you're on the right track. What you're working towards is called a Barber Hauler, and a number of folks have them on their boats (myself included). Here's a good link that shows the details of a BH installation...

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=5393&hilit=barber+hauler

I find it easily adds a knot to a knot & a half to my downwind speed, especially in light air. I assembled mine about like it's shown in the posting, but with a couple additional clips to make it easy to unrig when I don't want it for some reason. That doesn't happen very often though. Parts all came from West Marine, and I seem to remember the total being about US$75 for line, camcleats, big washers (use through bolts for the cam cleats, not self tappers!), blocks & clips.. Don't quote me on that price though, since it's been a few years since I installed it.

And so begins the never ending path of modifications! You know, it's not the initial purchase that makes a boat that hole in the water that we throw money into. It's all the tweaks & mods that we insist on doing later.

Happy Sailing,
- Jim L


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:34 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Northern VA
By the way, I just realized why you are having so much trouble with keeping your rudder down. You still have the handle installed, rather than the upgraded "pull & cleat" configuration for the twist & stow rudder controls. I don't have a good picture of what the new configuration looks like, but I'm certain that someone will follow up with some. The mod is a recall item from Hobie, so it won't cost you anything (except possibly shipping, and maybe not even that). Your dealer can install it for no charge, or you can do it yourself. Since you've already mentioned your love of bimbling, I suspect that you'll do it yourself. It's really pretty easy. My friend & I did our two boats ourselves, and the first boat took about an hour. The second one took about half that. There are a number of threads that discuss the installation, and the directions aren't that complicated.

Happy Sailing,
- Jim L


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:49 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Newport, NH
Congrats on the new boat and welcome to the club!! A couple of things I have found with my boat:

The rudder: I switched to the new T-handle system with great performance improvement. Recently, my boat would lose steering and swing into the wind even with moderate breezes with the sail reefed ONLY on port tack. Close inspection of the rudder assembly revealed a small tab on the left side broke off causing the rudder to push away on that tack. There was a direct correlation to this tab breaking and my rudder pins breaking...I was constantly fighting the rudder trying to keep it straight. I also found that the flatter I keep the boat, the more control I have.

The seat: My pegs did the same thing....started to drive me crazy. I removed them and replace the bungee that holds the seatback with a strip of webbing and buckle. Works great. Seat pegs now reside in the spare parts box :)

Sailing downwind: I tried the barber hauler thing and it worked ok, I just like to keep the set up simple. I simply dont sail directly downwind. A couple of jibes and I make good time with the sail trimmed slightly.

Oh yeah, you may as well go ahead and put away the lawn mower...cutting the grass is no longer important :)


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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
Thanks for the tips. I have the upgrade ordered for the rudder and hope to be fitting that in the near future. I used the barber hauler yesterday and it worked ok. I probably wouldn't have bothered normally but there is a specific channel I go down to photograph seals for the Chichester Harbour Conservancy, to help the keep track of their comings and goings and it is usually a direct run down wind to get down this narrow,shallow channel. It would be very tedious trying to tack down it each time in something as wide as the AI.
It will get its maiden voyage down there today.

I have been giving tramps some thought and am considering making some full tramps with an aperture that can be opened in them to paddle through. Whilst I am doing this I will build in some webbing that will help triangulate the amas setup which will assist the lockout.

Oh well, back to the bimbling! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Another AI virgin
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 am
Posts: 238
Location: HISC Chichester Harbour UK
Here are a couple of shots I took from the AI at the weekend. We have the Optimist Nationals next week in Scotland, so the HISC youngsters were out in the bay practising. I then went back into the harbour and shot a few seals (with the camera) that belong to a permanent colony that live on the mudbanks. Once I get the AI finished with tramps and a spray guard , it will prove to be an awesome fun platform to take photos from.
The nice thing is it is so visible. Once people realise I am out there with the camera they come zooming by hoping I will get a nice shot of them.
A Seal showdown
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Not taken from the AI, but one that I took last year. The Moths are quite sinister, a silent fast swarm speeding by.

Image

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