My wife and I started out with an Oasis and a Revo mirage kayaks. The purpose of buying them was she was into geocaching and wanted to hunt for the geocache treasures (reference --- http://www.geocaching.com
) many of which are out in the water and mangove tunnels in kayak accessible only areas. Well I have to tell you we got hooked on the Hobies right away and just loved to go out every weekend kayaking and adventuring. Neither one of us were in the greatest shape and wanted to be able to extend our range without becoming totally exhausted.
Your from Sarasota so I will give some local examples. We liked to always launch from the Kayak park at south Lido, we love the mangrove tunnels and the hidden lakes, also there are several really active kayak clubs in the area. We would also like to go around to big pass and hang out at south Lido beach where we would always meet boating friends and picknic. We started out traveling a mile or so from launch, as we got more and more into it (and stronger), we would go out on adventures further and further (all day most times). We bought the Hobie sails and after the first time out with them we were hooked, we never launched our Kayaks without the sails on board ever again, when not using them they are bungied to the side of the boat. A good day for us can be 20 miles kayaking, where we might go up the Braden or Manatee river, or up to the Santa Fe river up near Jinny springs, the Crystal river is also a ball, It's also fun just to launch and go up phillippi creek and have lunch at Phillippi creek oyster bar or Sharkys (down by Casey Key). We are also big into snorkeling and snorkel off the kayaks pretty much anywhere. The sails open up a whole new world of kayaking. If there is any wind at all we simply raise the sails and the sails assist us in getting us where we want to go. Neither of us ever used any AMA's or inflatable bananas, yes we have been tipped over a few times by a wind gust or a boat wake, but it's pretty easy to get back on board and get going again. It's actually pretty important to practice mounting the boat in a controlled place (we used our pool) so you know how to get back in whether you have a sail or not.
Yes there are several what we call "downwind only" kayak sails out there that are fairly inexpensive, but function similar to you opening up an umbrella while sitting on the kayak (next time your out just take an umbrella or a big old towel tied to two sticks, you can try it out and see how a downwind only sail would work (I think you will be bummed out). Yea it will work but only down wind and not as efficient as a real sail. With a Hobie sail you can sail up wind, or with the wind at your side (called a reach), or any point around the clock, also if there is very little wind and you have to kayak into it, without a sail you will go typically 1-2 mph pedaling normal. If you raise the sails and pedal exactly the same effort, you can actually go as much as a couple miles per hour faster (up wind), it's called apparent wind (basically your making your own wind) and makes you go faster with the same pedaling effort. Of course if the wind kicks up too much (around 15 mph) you simply put the sail away.
Of course adding a sail kit will not turn your hobie into a sunfish or a laser (real sail boats), it just expands the boats capability (and yes you still will need to pedal, just not as much). Actually the mirage drive with the fins pointed straight down becomes your daggerboard for steering. I kind of recommend if you do get the Hobie sail kit that you also buy the Hobie sailing rudder, which is a little larger rudder designed for sailing. You can probably get by on a Revo with the standard rudder, but an Oasis tandem you kind of need the bigger rudder to sail.
I'm out sailing most every weekend out in Sarasota Bay, I usually launch from City Island these days (up near Sarasota Sailing Squadron at Ken Thompson park). These days I'm out mostly on our Tandem Island ( I sold the Oasis and the Revo last spring) so the TI is all I have left (we use it for all the same stuff, "even running mild rapids in places like Colorado").
Let the fun begin
If you bought your boat at Economy Tackle (really a nice bunch of people), next time they have a demo days event, just ask them to bring a sail kit along and you can try one out, (warning, thats what we did, and bought pretty much the whole store, (TWICE ,,,LOL).
We love everything we have, especially living in beautiful Sarasota, you kind of gotta have a Hobie. Over 90% of the water in and around Sarasota is not accessibly by boat, 99% is accessible by a Hobie sailing yak, and we are looking forward to covering as much as we can (we have covered at best 20% since 2007, hard to imagine).