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 Post subject: Tandem AI and young kids
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:44 am 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:18 am
Posts: 3
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hi everyone
Long time reader first time poster.

I am trying to decide whether to buy a Tandem AI. I have never boated or sailed before extensively (just one offs) but really am excited by this hobby!

I wanted to find out everyone's experience on sailing on this craft with kids. I have 2 young boys aged 3&5, that I would want to take out with me. Is this hard to manage? Is the tandem AI quite suitable for this? I envisage short 30 min-1 hour trips around Sydney Harbour and the like with the boys...

I'm a single father, so really want to be careful I don't buy something that I then can't really get good use of with my boys. I can have a family member (adult) also ride up until one of the boys is old enough to do some pedalling/etc. If I buy this boat and then find it is a disaster and the kids don't ever want to go or its too dangerous, wet, crowded, boring, what-ever the case may be....its a big loss!

Has anyone had good experiences taking 2 or 3 kids on board they can share? With 3, Is it getting way too full/crowded? (i.e. 2 adults and 3 young kids) - like 3/5/7 year olds (thinking the boys can bring their friend)? Would they all sit on the 1x side together or spread them out evenly? I imagine they would have more fun together but don't know how big the tramps are if this is possible. From what I read the best option is hakas with the tramps on underneath, would this keep them pretty well dry most of the time?

On another note, not sure how many Australian users there are here but can you sail the TI out in open ocean waters? Like off the beaches / ocean out of Sydney (Pacific Ocean), or is this just way too rough/dangerous? I'm expecting the swell from the heads is way too fierce for a TI?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:14 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:40 am
Posts: 447
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
We sail with our 3 kids all the time 2, 9, and 13. It's not too crowded with all three and two adults. Add the dog (65 lb. Vizsla) and it's a different story. The youngest does have a problem staying still out on the tramp and more often than not joins one of us in the center, but she fits right between our legs and sits on the round hatch. That person can no longer pedal, but if your sailing it's not a big deal. Our youngest also has a propensity to fall asleep within about 10-15 minutes of being out on the water. The motion of the boat just puts her out.

2015 Hobie Tandem Island Hibiscus
  • Trampolines
  • Hobie cover
  • Davis Spar Fly

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:35 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
Posts: 2265
Location: High Point, NC
I would go ahead and buy the TI so the kids have room to grow... They're only going to get bigger so the TI will give you more room and versatility right from the start.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:47 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:58 am
Posts: 1940
Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
I can answer your question regarding sailing your TI in the ocean... As a youngster living in Melbourne,I tended to think of the ocean as an evil place the other side of the "rip" at the entrance to Port phillip Bay.

Fast forward to the late 70s, when I learned to sail in Sydney, and crewed on some yachts during Saturday regattas, including (horror upon horror!) sailing "outside" in the ocean.

It didn't take long for me to realise that the ocean is not some dark and forboding place waiting to claim the lives of newbie sailors. Of course, there are times when you wouldn't want to be out there, but this largely also holds true for inshore waters.

I now live ay Forster, and often head out through the channel to sail on the ocean, and honestly, the waters are generally in lots of ways smoother than the nearby lake.

The beauty of our Islands is that we can launch in different places, so you could put a toe in the water (literally!) by popping out into the ocean freom (say) Manly, or Palm Beach, or Botany Bay etc.

As your experience grows, you will discover that your TI is quite capable in the ocean, provided you are realistic about it and pick the right conditions.

Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:20 pm 
Site Rank - Admiral

Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Bethany, OK
I've had my nephews and their friends (not all at once) on my TI several times. I'm no lightweight, at 300 lbs I take quite a chunk out of the TI's capacity. The TI doesn't even notice when I have a couple of the boys on it. Also does just fine with my BIL (also not light, though not as bad as me) in the front seat and a couple of kids on the tramps/hakas.

Having the tramps under the hakas works wonderfully with kids on board. They can walk around without concern, and the hakas give them a nice high-and-dry place to sit.

Hopefully you can have more success than I have - and get the kids to learn how to sail the TI, so you can kick back and be lazy! So far I've been the full time chauffeur... Haven't convinced them they want to run things yet!

No need for a second person to help with pedaling, you can run the TI solo just fine from either the front or back seat.

The tramps are big enough that two could sit on the same side, though the last time out the two boys opted to stay on opposite sides. Of course this meant they took turns getting a thorough dousing each time it was their turn to be on the downwind side!

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:30 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 2305
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Welcome Dammit,
There will be plenty of room for kids on the TI.
The big issue with kids on the Islands is keeping them warm.
Haka really improve the comfort and keep you out of the spray.

Can Islands handle the open ocean? Most definitely!
We have done many open ocean trips including Broughton Island, Terrigal to Pretty Beach, Fishermans Bay to Fingal Bay and explored around Hat Head and Sydney Harbours North Head.
A few years back the Transparent Sea group travelled from Byron Bay to Bondi. The guys in Hawaii pretty much only have the open ocean to sail in.
Here is an early clip travelling to Broughton in a 2m swell. The slomo gives a better idea of how these boats handle swell.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:49 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:30 am
Posts: 27
Location: Delnor Wiggins, Fl Peters Twp PA
Dammit! (what a great name)

The TI is a wet ride, so assuming that your kids are good with that....

We lived on Beatty St and then up on Dobroyd Head when we were in Sydney. There's loads of space inside the harbor that would be good for a TI - I taught myself to windsurf off Clontarf beach by Clonnies (beach access for a TI as well as sand play area for kids) and my wife and her friends would rent kayaks at the Spit rental and explore the inner Harbo(u)r. Our kids all learned to wakeboard back in there, too; just make sure to keep a PFD on them.

I'd be very careful around the Heads - the surf can roll in there and lots of traffic. There is certainly more than enough space inside to explore and you'll become comfortable with it in no time. (FWIW, Middle Harbour YC used to offer sailing lessons, too.)

Do it! You and your kids will have a ball.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:02 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 5:41 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Austin, TX
I started taking my two kids in the kayak at about that age, and then got a Hobie Island when they were a little older (6 and 9). They have a great time! My daughter's new favorite thing to do is sail the TI to small islands in the bay where we can explore the shoreline and grass flats and see interesting things. While she likes the sailing ok, her favorite part is where we can get to with the boat.

Be mindful of the conditions, and stick to milder sailing until everyone is used to it. My other advice would be to make sure the child/adult ratio is such that in case of getting swamped, capsized, or man-overboard, you have enough adults to take care of the kids who would need help. And if you are the only one who knows how to sail the boat, make sure the boat cannot dump you out and leave you behind.


2015 TI
2009 AI (sold)
Lake Travis, Ladybird Lake, Rockport/Aransas/Padre Island

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