Here is my best Hobie 16 story:
Nov 10 1975…Lake Erie near Buffalo: Three of us college aged males donned the wet suits and took my 1972 Hobie 16 out from the small boat marina off of Tift Street. The wind was howling and we were crazy enough to give it a try. Waves were slamming over the break-wall, the spray off the top of the waves outside the break-wall was blowing horizontal and the low clouds were thick and grey. Upon jumping aboard, we shot out of the marina toward the gap in the break-wall. Two on the wires and me seated at the helm. I’ve never gone so fast on a sail boat, rarely that fast in a stink boat. We hit the open waters and accelerated a bit more while getting a lot of air jumping 20+ foot high wave after wave. We pitch-poled several times and made like a submarine as often as we made like a kite. We were having a blast and apparently attracted some attention…from the local coast guard station. After about ½ hour we were freezing. Exhausted and ready to come back in and give it a try on the clam side of the wall, we came about, headed for the gap and noticed flashing emergency lights near where we had parked the cars.
Not to be deterred, we thought that there must be something going on at the closed marina and nothing more. We proceeded to bomb back and forth across the open water just inside the break-wall for about another 20 minutes until there was something about the lights that made us consider going back. As we got closer to the ramp we could make out a Buffalo police car and a US Coast Guard truck parked at the ramp and began to hear some megaphone noise over the howling wind. We came all the way in and were immediately asked “Didn’t you hear us?” followed by “There’s a big storm coming in, you guys have to get out of the water NOW.”
We complied and thought nothing more of it, just gald we didn’t make the cops mad or get a ticket or anything like that. The next morning we really found out what all the fuss was over… on Nov 10 1975 the Edmund Fitzgerald broke apart in a Great Lakes storm on Lake Superior…all 29 crew were lost. Hurricane force winds and 35 foot plus waves were reported during that storm as it raged across the lakes and although we didn’t experience the brunt of it we did get to ride on the “Witch of November”
Couldn't have done it with any other boat.
That is a GREAT story. Made my night.