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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:15 pm 
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I realize that I'm asking a slightly bias crowd, but I'm having a debate with my wife about wether or not the experience gained by sailing a kayak will be useful when the ultimate goal is to get a sailboat.

I'm not a complete novice sailer we owned an older Hunter 25 in the past and it was just too much for us as beginners. So after 3-4 years away from sailing I still have the passion to improve my sailing skills so I'm more confident on the water. We are already avid kayakers so my thought was to get a Revolution with the sail kit, side kicks, rudder and do all the mods to it. That way when we go kayaking I can sail and my wife can paddle ( which she enjoys more ).

It's her opinion that the lessons learned from kayak sailing wouldn't translate in the future if we bought a larger sailboat. My opinion is time before the mast is not wasted no matter how simple the craft. In fact I think a simple sailing kayak might even be better as it will let me focus on learning wind patterns and simple sailing techniques with out worrying about all the other stuff involved in sailing a larger boat.

My thought was after a season or two selling the old rig off and upgrading the Island Adventure and then maybe jumping up to a Hobie cat or something bigger.

Any thoughts?

I appreciate it!

Thanks,
Jeremy


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:09 am 
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Get a Tandem Island and I'll bet the wife is so happy you'll keep it a long time. Unless you're planning on overnight cruising or are averse to getting wet the TI will be perfect to get into sailing. It's so easy to sail. I've had an El Toro (8' dingy), FJ (13' with jib and spinnaker) plus a couple of sailboards (windsurfers). The TI is easier to sail than any of them and much more versatile. The Mirage Drives make it great when the wind's not cooperating. You can remove the amas and sail and just paddle or peddle. It does it all!

I fish from it, take grandkids out and just enjoy sailing it alone. It would be great to have a "big boat", maybe 32' but that's more effort and expense than I need. The TI sits on its trailer in my garage and I can be on the water in 30 minutes. I'm out several times each week.

Check out all the great youtube videos of Tandem Islands and Adventure Islands. My advice would be to spend the extra and get the TI, I don't think you'd be too happy sailing an AI with two people unless one of you likes jumping between trampolines. If your wife likes paddling she can leave the tramps off or sit in the rear on the TI. Personally I only use a paddle when I'm in lilies or backing up, the Mirage Drives really work so great.

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Dune TI - 6/4/2011
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:30 am 
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If your ultimate goal is to buy a larger sailboat, I would start on a sailboat with a jib and mainsail, not a kayak. I have both. An Adventure with sail kit & sidekicks, a Hobie Holder 14 and a Cortez 16. There are many 14 foot Holders, Capri 14.2, Vagabonds, etc on Craigslist for under $2000. My Holder can carry 4 adults in comfort and its a dry boat.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:13 am 
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I don't know if my experiance will help much but... We picked up an Oasis and sail kit a couple months back and started using it mostly to sail. my only previous sail experiance was messing around with lasers at scout camp a couple decades ago. After 5 or so outings in the Oasis we rented a Hobie Wave this weekend and I had no problem at all sailing the 'larger' boat. Now a wave is not a 'big sailboat' but it is a lot more than an Oasis. My wife who had even less sail experiance originally picked up sailing the Oasis around solo. You might find the Revo is a great way for your wife to get more confident with sailing because she is already comfortable in kayaks.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Best part about sailing the Mirage Kayaks over a typical sailboat is the MirageDrive. You can always get to the wind, thru tacks and gybes and back home regardless of wind direction. A fun, safe and forgiving way to learn sailing.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:59 pm 
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Location: Auckland NZ
I echo Matt's observations 100%.

As to some of the other advice: I am not so sure :|

Before firing off my $0.02 it is worth stating that there is no such thing as a "best" boat: all boats are compromises and you will need to decide which compromise best satisfies your requirements. Also, none of these Hobie sailing kayaks are speedsters compared with larger, less tippy, more powerful boats - they are only really sailable in light wind conditions (depending on your willingness to take a few calculated risks) - so don't expect to be competing in the next America's cup. But can you learn on them and do they represent the same sailing experience as a larger boat? Yes you can and yes they do! And the good thing about their limited wind range is that every sailing experience happens on a nice day: no storms/long beats to windward etc etc (unless you want to push the boundaries) just pleasant pottering about under sail in benign weather.

There's little doubt in my mind that the best sailer of the bunch by a country mile is the Adventure - by virtue of the daggerboard - this transforms the upwind sailing performance of the boat which without it is not particularly impressive. With the daggerboard and on a flat sea there is very little difference in the upwind pointing ability of the Adventure vs a conventional sailboat. The same cannot be said of the other non-daggerboard Hobies: downwind & across the wind they're OK but not very capable upwind.

The other thing that the Adventure has in its favour is a longer (than the other singles), sleeker hull shape which makes it easier to propel through the water (& remember sailing speed is also limited by waterline length: longer boats can sail faster).

It also has a better sail to weight ratio (i.e. more sail power per pound) than a fully laden tandem. Sure a one-up tandem may do almost as well as the Adventure in terms of a combination of weight and waterline length but without additional ballast in the empty cockpit a tandem has the disadvantage of always feeling a bit unbalanced - therefore I suspect that, either you will sail a tandem 2 up, or you will have additional ballast on board when solo, both of which make the boat heavier. In my experience the the sailing performance of the tandems across all points of sail compared with the Adventure is a bit pedestrian - but then my Mate loves sailing his Oasis both solo and 2 up (he doesn't seem to mind that it is slower).

So the Adventure gets my vote any day.

As to needing to get a bigger boat to learn on - I disagree. I own 2 sail boats (1 modern classic gaff-rigged yawl and one insane trimaran, both trailerboats) and 3 Hobies (A, AI, Outfitter). The other boats hardly ever get used. The conditions I play in are frequently ideal for any kind of sailing (including kayak sailing) so I can pick and choose which boat I go out in, but the one I end up going for 99.99 times out of 100 is the Adventure because it is just so EASY. All the others require a boat ramp and a motor and a trailer and setting up and this and that and the other - major HASSLES that compared with the Adventure are just not worth the effort. With the Adventure I just drag it down to the beach and off I go.... and as I have said the sailing experience is pretty much identical to a full size yacht.

If you want a jib, by all means: put one on your Hobie. Been there, done that: t'ain't hard to do or expensive and it further enhances the challenge of sailing these little boats, not to mention their light wind performance.

As to the need for outriggers: would you be able to properly learn to ride a bike with stabiliser wheels fitted?! Exactly! You are only going to be able to go so far on a trimaran. So if you want to learn to sail a proper yacht and are confident that you can handle a man overboard situation (caused by a capsize on your kayak) then my suggestion is that you forgo the stabiliser wheels and instead learn how a real sailboat leans to wind and wave and how to use that additional parameter in your sailing skills repertoire - so that when you eventually get back onto a larger boat you will be able to feel and know what the boat is up to.

The more you get out on the water and the more intimate your connection with the "parameters" of sailing (i.e. sail trim, boat trim, wind speed/direction, tide speed/direction and sea state) the faster and better you will learn. I suggest that if you have regular/frequent access to similiarly ideal kayak sailing conditions as me you may well find it easier to get out on a Hobie than any other boat, so you may find that you get out more often and with less HASSLE in your life.

When you are on the water in your sailing kayak you are not get more intimately involved in the sailing on any other kind of sailboat because on a kayak you are so close to/at the mercy of every one of the aforementioned sailing parameters - so your learning curve should be fast, long and highly engaging ! (Just take it gently to start off with 'til you get a feel for your and your boats boundaries/limitations !)

Hope this helps ! And ENJOY!!! These are FAAAANTASTIC little sailboats in the right conditions !


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:25 am 
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As a life-long sailor and former USN sailing instructor/racing skipper, I am not a fan of using a Mirage with sail to learn to sail. There are just too many important things that you can’t learn with it:

Sail Shape – Even the simplest of non-racing sailboats has variety of controls used to adjust sail shape (sheet, halyard, downhaul, cunningham, outhaul, boom vang, traveler, leach line, etc). The Hobie sail has only a single control (sheet). While this makes it a great sail for a kayak in a narrow set of conditions, it does not allow you to develop the important sailing skill of adjusting the sail shape to fit the conditions.

Windward Sailing – Another important aspect of sailing is the ability to sail the boat to windward. As mentioned above, Mirage kayaks with the Hobie sail don't well to windward (honestly, without pedaling, they have very poor windward performance compared to virtually any sailboat). It is pretty hard to learn how to sail to windward in a boat that won’t really go to windward.

Heavy Weather – The Hobie Mirage’s rather small sailing window will not allow you to develop the vital skills needed to handle high winds.

My comments above are aimed at the regular (not AI or TI) boats based upon my experience sailing the Sport, Outfitter and Revo.

The best advice is to take a good sailing course that offers both classroom and on the water instruction. Avoid classes that teach on big ballasted keel boats. The smaller unballasted monohulls such as a Holder, Capri 14, DaySailor or Flying Scott are much better for instruction because they offer all the complexity of a larger sailboat but are small enough that they are very responsive to sail trim and helm. After you complete the class, buy a SMALL inexpensive boat to learn on. Small cat rigged boats like the Laser, Sunfish or Force 5 are great boats for this and they can be bought used very cheaply (~$500). Start sailing in benign conditions and gradually work up to higher winds. When you get to the place where you are comfortable sailing a Laser or similar in 15 kts of wind, then you are no longer a novice.

I have never sailed an AI or TI, but it looks to me like going that route may be a viable approach if you have to have a single boat that does everything. The sail controls on the AI/TI appear to be more similar to a standard sailboat and I have no doubt that they are far better sailors than a regular Mirage. On the other hand, if you are interested in a multihull, you can buy a used catamaran (Hobie 16 or similar) for a lot less money than either AI or TI and it would be a much better sailor. Generally, I do not recommend multihulls for novice sailors because they can be hard to tack in light winds and the wipe outs can be spectacular in heavy air. Look up “Hobie Pitch Pole” in YouTube.

From my comments above, you may think that I am down on sailing a Mirage and that could not be farther than the truth. During the summer months here in Jax, I get a bunch of use out of my Mirage boats when the hot/calm conditions keep my sailboat firmly on the trailer. When the sailing conditions are favorable, I usually have at least one Mirage towing behind my sailboat for use exploring when anchored.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:10 am 
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Mark, while I bow to your vastly superior sailing knowlege I want to point out that using a laser to learn on, as you suggest, does not offer any of the sail shapping controls that you talked about. Personally I have only sailed my hobie, some lasers ages ago, and a rented Wave. I found the skills needed for all 3 pretty close to the same. And they are all fairly similar price.
Other than windward... the Oasis was bad windward.... BUT using the drive along with the sail while going windward can still show you how to set your sail right for that.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:16 am 
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All the posts here make some good points. IMO, the best way to become a proficient sailor is to get a little class sailboat (used) where there is a local fleet and enter some races. Good sail handling and tactics win races and you can watch the other boats and learn by them. You learn to read the water and wind. You will find help and advice readily available. There's a lot of rigging (halyards, shrouds, outhauls, downhauls, etc) that most sailboats have that the Hobies don't. There is a lot of set-up (stepping the mast, etc) that you don't get a feel for with the Hobies because they are so simple, easy and quick to launch, it is unrealistic compared with a conventional sailboat.

Most of the kayak sailors around here learned to sail conventionally. These guys are skilled enough and have the confidence to go out without the Sidekicks. That's why this guy is still sailing and not in the water.
Image

Those who haven't raced (skippered or crewed), usually don't know how to tend their sails efficiently -- they just putz along, relying on their outriggers to keep them right side up. There is nothing the matter with that all, unless your ultimate objective is to be a sailor.

I learned to sail conventionally, but am so spoiled by sailing the Hobie kayaks that I'm no longer interested in spending the time and effort to take out our sailboat. Yes, they're slower, but more capable in many ways and more exciting. I can go anywhere I want anytime. But I do it to augment my kayaking, not as a primary endeavor.

This is not to suggest that you avoid kayak sailing. It is fun and instructive. I just don't think it will fully prepare you to your stated objective alone. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:27 am 
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I hear what RoadRunner is saying, and I'm never one to disagree with him because all of his points are valid. I also agree with many other points above, and especially with Matt Miller's post. The mirage drive is a great way to handle learning to sail.

I had no sailing experience at all when I bought my Adventure Island. I got on board that, and instantly felt a little bit overwhelmed. What I learned, however, was that the Roller furling sail, allowed me to get comfortable very quickly. I was fortunate enough to be able to sail very regularly, and was out with much larger, (and more traditional) sailboats on Lake Ontario. I loved the fact that the Mirage Drive could always get me home, through tacks, and just generally help in all kinds of situations. I'm VERY glad that I learned to sail on a kayak (even if the Adventure Island is not really just a kayak anymore)

I moved to the Bravo for a couple of reasons: 1) I wanted to move up to a Getaway someday, 2) the Bravo seemed very durable, very simple, and had the one thing that I missed about the Adventure Island, the ability to tip.

I'm not a pro sailor by any means, but I very easily transitioned from the AI, to the Bravo. Flying a hull, getting some good speed runs, and even controlling the boat in strong winds, all came very easily to me because of my experience in the AI. The one thing that I did was buy a Sailing for Dummies book, and spent some time talking to better sailors then me.

I understand that a Bravo isn't a Hunter 25, but I do think that the experience that I gained sailing the AI, helped me easily transition to the Bravo, and I expect the same type of easy transition when I eventually move to a Getaway.

So I wouldn't call Kayak sailing a waste, I think it has taught me a lot about how a boat handles the wind, how to catch the wind, and how to have a great time, and be safe. I may not be as good of a sailor as a pro, but I know for a fact that I can sail circles around some of the local grads from the Yacht club sailing school. They know their terms better then I do, but I've got more experience handling the sails, rudders, wind and waves, then they do. And let's be honest. Hobie Alter didn't learn in a sailing school, he hopped on a boat, and figured it out. It's kind of the Hobie way. It's about having fun. If you think you'll have fun sailing the kayak, try it out. It's not going to hurt to see how fun it is. If you don't learn as much as you had hoped, you can always get lessons before moving up to a bigger boat.

Always remember. There's nothing wrong with doing a little of this....

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To figure out how to properly do this....

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:D

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:16 am 
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TalonDJ wrote:
Mark, while I bow to your vastly superior sailing knowlege I want to point out that using a laser to learn on, as you suggest, does not offer any of the sail shapping controls that you talked about. Personally I have only sailed my hobie, some lasers ages ago, and a rented Wave. I found the skills needed for all 3 pretty close to the same. And they are all fairly similar price.
Other than windward... the Oasis was bad windward.... BUT using the drive along with the sail while going windward can still show you how to set your sail right for that.


I admit to being biased towards the Laser because that is what I learned to sail on and I raced it for two years in college. For sail controls it has a main sheet, cunningham, boom vang, outhaul and traveler, but does not have a halyard or downhaul. The sail shape is very controllable with the exception that you can't raise or lower the sail. The later is a negative for sail training purposes.

I agree that there is some value in learning to trim a Hobie sail while pedaling (motor sailing) to windward. I just think that you can learn more by actually sailing to windward.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:05 am 
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What is the best windward performance a TI can expect in 10 knot breeze without peddling? 35, 40, 45 degrees?

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Dune TI - 6/4/2011
Camas, WA


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:07 am 
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Augaug, good points and great pics! I wasn't intending to demean the Hobie kayak sailing experience as such, but hopefully to show it as a somewhat specialized or streamlined part of the larger sailing picture.

To be clear -- by "class" sailboats, I was referring to specific sailboat types that tend to race locally (and fairly inexpensively) such as Lasers, Lightnings, Lidos, etc., etc.; not formal sailing instruction. Class racing really promotes sailing skills and I'm a big fan of learning the finer points of sailing by getting involved in these types of activities. Most can or do involve crewing, so it has the potential to be an excellent family activity and good preparation for the crew concept that is invaluable with larger sail boats. In Jeremy's case, his wife seems to take an interest in this as well. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:19 am 
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Roadrunner wrote:
Augaug, good points and great pics! I wasn't intending to demean the Hobie kayak sailing experience as such, but hopefully to show it as a somewhat specialized or streamlined part of the larger sailing picture.

To be clear -- by "class" sailboats, I was referring to specific sailboat types that tend to race locally (and fairly inexpensively) such as Lasers, Lightnings, Lidos, etc., etc.; not formal sailing instruction. Class racing really promotes sailing skills and I'm a big fan of learning the finer points of sailing by getting involved in these types of activities. Most can or do involve crewing, so it has the potential to be an excellent family activity and good preparation for the crew concept that is invaluable with larger sail boats. In Jeremy's case, his wife seems to take an interest in this as well. 8)


Thanks Roadrunner, We're cool!

Around here, most of the experienced sailors are.... how do I say this... "Yacht Club Guys" They view getting wet as a mistake, instead of part of the fun. From what I've heard and seen, there are a lot of guys who don't like new sailors coming around and interfering with their Old Boys Club. I'm sure there are exceptions, but most of the races around here are guys on big boats, who enjoy the status of their club membership as much, or more, then the sailing experience.

If you can find people who will welcome you onto their boats, and teach you the ropes, that's by far the best way to sail! I've found a few of those around here, and they're great. As for the other guys, I just wave to their wives and girlfriends as I zip by their half million dollar boats on my little plastic dinghy! The ladies know where the fun is at! 8)

(EDIT: Oh, and I did understand "Class" as you meant it, but most racing in this area is done by the yacht clubs, and you can't get in until you take the sailing school courses... it may be different if you know someone who has a boat, but for me, it was cheaper and easier to buy the Bravo, then take the classes to use a Laser in the rare races they have for smaller boats)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Hey augaug, how're you gonna sneak up on the wildlife in that thing?

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