Well, I have had some time to settle-in my hometown of Port O'Connor, TX, and unlike before my time on the water is not just a 'leisure activity', it is a way of life so that I can thrive here. My friends and I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things through real experience on the water, whether it be sailing, fishing, or just casually piddling around for a good time.What we have on the Texas coast are:
- flats and shallows
- barrier islands
- cuts, canals, and bayous
- great winds
- really good fishing
This all means that our Adventure Islands can get around just about as easily as most power boats while quiet enough not to disturb fish and wildlife, and even into many places power boats cannot go. There are situations where piloting an Adventure Island on the Texas Coast can require some dynamic thinking or planning. This can easily be applied to similar venues such as the gulf coast of Florida or the capes and barrier islands of Virginia, the Carolina's etc.The first challenge is the shallows...
The flat's and shallows are a great place to be because they are food rich for fish, often have calmer conditions, and are very safe in case anyone runs into trouble. AI's can be navigated in less than four inches of water even under sail, there are some 'tricks' to it though. Firstly, you have to prep for shallow water. Use the daggerboard as your 'depth-finder'.
The daggerboard that comes with the AI and TI's are extremely tough (although not invincible). The TI daggerboards retract into the hull on their own when they start to hit bottom; no problem there. This means when getting into waters about 18 inches deep you have some fair warning before reaching the shallows by paying attention to the daggerboard handle. You can then put one foot forward on the mirage drive to protect the fins, and be ready to uncleat or retract the rudder if necessary.
The daggerboard on the single-seater AI is a bit different as it doesn't retract fully into the hull. You must be ready to completely pull it out when coming shallow. If you do not, it can stop the boat cold and get stuck; you will then need to exit the boat and lift the hull up enough to pull it out. The solution is to keep the daggerboard just an inch or two out of the well, it will more easily come up. And if you know you are sailing through a shallow area keep a hand on the daggerboard so that you can feel when it touches bottom.
Please remember to tether the AI daggerboard – I have found that it doesn't float! The bungees on the aft of the boat are simply not good enough.Do not force the Mirage Drive fins.
Most of you who own a mirage drive boat know this very well...Sometimes running your mirage drive fins aground is unavoidable. It may sometimes be too late to push one peddle forward to fold those fins up. The best thing to do is simply step out and lift the hull just enough to either fold the fins along the hull or snap-snap & remove the drive unit. Consider using the small standard fins that come with the smaller mirage boats
, such as the Outback. Especially if you frequent the shallows on a regular basis. They are extremely tough, and they really have no issue propelling at least the Adventure Island since the hull design is quite efficient. These can be ordered through your local Hobie dealer. You will also need the smaller masts for those fins.If you have a 2010 or earlier AI, get the larger 'sailing' rudder.
This will greatly increase responsiveness. It is also essential in high winds with chop; the rudder needs to be large enough to stay in the water at all times especially when sailing on a tack.Rudderless and want to sail? Use your paddle blade.
Since these rudders are rather large they will draw a foot or more of water. Luckily the rudder is tough, but if it starts to drag bottom uncleat the rudder 'down' line from the cam cleat to allow it to kick up. Do not expect to be able to use the rudder in a semi-down position as the resistance to turn is far greater than it would be when it is fully down. The best thing to do is to pull the rudder fully out of the water and cleat the up line until ready to sail in deeper water. Unlike most kayaks, the AI will drift sideways in the wind whether the sail is unfurled or not.
Take your oar, place one blade near the stern facing out, and apply pressure away from the boat. If the direction it turns is not what you wanted place the blade on the opposite side. You can actually sail on a reach (across the wind) or downwind with no problem using this method – it works great for 4 to 12 inches of water. This method may not work as well on the Tandem Island unless someone is sitting in the aft seat to place the blade in a good position.No daggerboard and need to sail upwind? This is what you do...
Firstly, don't worry. The boat WILL sail on a tack with no daggerboard. You will experience some side slippage, however with enough tacks you will eventually get where you need to be. When sailing extremely close to the wind, simply pump the mirage drive to give the boat a little more forward 'slip-stream'. It doesn't take a lot; all you are doing is providing more water flow over the hull and rudder to keep the boat true.The AI is a great fishing boat, use it as such!
This multi-hull design has served fisherman very well for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and it still does! Unlike any kayak the AI and TI have fantastic range yet it still maintains all stealth and 'connectedness' of a kayak. With the hakas and amas it is stable enough to stand, and with all the innovations coming out the hakas are capable of not just keeping more storage with custom benches, trampolines & such, but accepting mounted fishing gear such as rod holders. The AI is the ULTIMATE trolling vessel for both offshore and inshore salt water fishing. For the more active predatory fish (like tuna and mackerel) you may even troll under sail. The rod holders are placed in a position so that any rod you use there will not interfere with the rigging on either side.
There is no boat so far that compares to the Adventure Island for what it does here on the Texas coast. Sailing, fishing, and exploration are what its all about.
Any of you that also have helpful tips on using these boats in a similar environment I look forward to your replies!