Yesterday the south Florida Group, (Mark, Ezra and myself) went sailing in Stuart, Florida, in 15-20mph winds. It was a beam reach and the sailing was incredible. Unfortunately, I was recovering from jet lag and forgot my camera and Go Pros to film the event. We traveled up the inter-coastal river for about 12 miles, had lunch and then returned. On the return leg with about 6 miles to go I heard a loud pop and lost all control of steering. With the large load on the sail and it being a beam reach I just assumed that the rudder pin had snapped. I do a lot of fishing 6 plus miles off shore and thought I was prepared for almost anything that could happen to the boat, so I welcomed the opportunity to practice replacing the rudder pin in a somewhat benign environment (benign defined as something less than 600 feet of water without a 4 knot current pushing me away from home). To my surprise and astonishment the pin did not break, but instead one of the rudder Gudgeons bolts sheared off. This is a catastrophic failure if you are trying to control the boat in the above conditions. Fortunately, Mark was able to tow me in. With my sail partially furled and his wide open we were still able to make 6mph on the return home.
I contacted Hobie and Brendan was very helpful in covering the failure under the 2 year hull warrantee. My hull is a first generation and has the smaller bolts that are used to attach the gudgeon. Brendan mentioned that it was possible to replace the bolts with the larger, stronger bolt. I am also having them look at the hull for possible hull damage due to the fact that the area around the sheared bolt is now protruding significantly beyond it’s surrounding area.