I was out sailing today with my friend Marc. We had moderate winds (15-20) and my sail was partially furled to the first batten. Just as I passed under the Jensen Beach Causeway Bridge and turned to make a tack I heard a loud POP
and then saw my mast lift up and fall over. Fortunately it fell into the water away from me and not on me. It was pretty scary and upsetting to see this happening to my boat.
I immediately set my anchor, called Marc on my VHF and assessed the situation. After furling the sail back by hand, I tied the mast to the boat, got my lines tidied up and Marc towed me back to shore sailing with me pedaling.
I know this has happened to other people with older TI's and I have been keeping a very close eye on the welds to see if any cracks were developing but I never saw anything wrong in this area prior to todays event.
I have seen the new, stronger versions on all of the the 2012 TI's. The new Forward Crossbar Assembly units have a bearing plate going all the way through the Crossbar with welds on both sides, instead of just along one edge as was the case with mine. The old style Forward Crossbar Assembly is a defective design and I was just lucky that when my mast fell it didn't land on my head or worse.
I think Hobie should send the new one to everyone who has older style before someone really gets hurt. In the meantime, I've put in a request with my dealer and Hobie to send me a new replacement unit ASAP and I'm sure it will be fine.