Hollgi started an interesting topic: Your dream Ai, what would you change? http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=46269
On that thread, Augaug has pointed out: “To be honest,…a dry seating area could be accomplished by redesigning the current drain plugs, or modifying the current mold. A true redesign needs to solve the problems that can't be solved by a modification.”
Augaug is spot on: “…speed should be the entire point of a redesigned boat....”
In my opinion, Hobie needs to maintain the versatility of the AI, but add speed and a drier ride. I am not talking about turning the AI into a cat—Hobie has plenty of those. No, increase the speed so it is competitive or faster than the AI Tandem. Mold in a wave deflector to the bow to discourage diving, and reduce the wet ride.
How is Hobie going to do this? First, I have to make the disclaimer: I am not a boat designer (probably didn’t have to state the obvious.)
The molded in wave deflector could be done on the current AI, but why do that? The current (original) AI has plenty of adherents, why make major changes to it? No, as Augaug says, we need a redesign.
With regards to speed, I would like to see a speed comparable to or better than the Tandem. This should be simple enough to do. (1) Use the Tandem sail or something comparable. (2) Design the new AI with an add-on jib capability. (3) Strengthen the boat so that it can handle the new sail requirements. (4) Redesign the ama. (5) Redesign the attachment of the clew to the stern to make the boat a better downwind sailor. (6) Keep the boat simple. All of that is a tall order, but Hobie now has plenty of experience between 7 yrs of the AI and half as many with the TI.
There are many faster, fun sailing boats. There are no boats that can compare to the AI for its versatility—sailing, fishing, expeditions. Hobie should try to keep these basic features.
I hope Jim Czarnowski and the Hobie engineers/sailors are working on all of these things. The goal is pretty clear, and as Augaug says, “…speed should be the entire point of a redesigned boat…A true redesign needs to solve the problems that can't be solved by a modification.”