1. Does Hobie offer an Adventure-to-AI conversion kit?
Yes... From the Book of Knowledge (actually the "Web of..." - I'm at home so I had to do a remote login to find the info).
99503001 ISLAND CONVERSION KIT - PAPAYA 1,549.00 EA
99504001 ISLAND CONVERSION KIT-HIBISCUS 1,549.00 EA
99505001 ISLAND CONVERSION KIT - DUNE 1,549.00 EA
99600001 INSTALL TOOLS - MAST HOLE SAW 25.00 EA
For those people wanting to add just the Amas...
99403001 ISLAND AMA KIT - PAPAYA 899.00 EA
99404001 ISLAND AMA KIT - HIBISCUS 899.00 EA
99405001 ISLAND AMA KIT - DUNE 899.00 EA
2. Is this conversion pretty straightforward?
I've never done it. I think probably the biggest pucker factor will be drilling the front of the yak for the mast receiver. The inserts for the crossbars are already molding into the yak. Everything else is part of the kit (except the hole saw).
I'm not positive that the Island kit includes the larger rudder blade.
3. Assuming I begin with a 2008 Adventure, is there any down-side to the final product in doing this? In other words, when I complete the conversion, will I have a full-fledged AI, or will there be some compromises made in going this route?
Well... I think the serial number will denote an Adventure, not an Island. But Hobie may use the same code after CCM for both models. I've not noticed.
I think the biggest compromises will be your time and money.
4. Does anyone know of a MSRP list from Hobie? The folks at my local dealership seem to be "ball-parking" the prices just a bit, and I am not clear if people typically pay "sticker" or if -- like buying a car -- this is a "negotiation" type of transaction.
Hobie is pretty strict about price advertising.
A dealer can sell at whatever price he wants. But he can not advertise anything other than MSRP... (cough, cough...) Even when he may have some previous model years that he wants to advertise at what was then the current MSRP. Only the current MSRP is acceptable for advertising, even if the product is brand new, 3 years old and retailed for $200 less.
The '08 Adventurer is $1799. The '08 Island is $3199.
If all those prices are right (and I pulled them from Hobie, so they should be), then the hit for doing it in stages is only about $150.