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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:37 pm
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Location: oregon
Anyone out there with a new i12s, what are your thoughts on the boat?
How have you used it, in what kind of conditions? Just looking for some comments by actual owners.


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 Post subject: i14T
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:54 pm
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Location: Berkshires, Massachusetts
My family recently hauled the tandem inflatable on a one week vacation in Vieques, PR, and it was a blast. A few details...

The Trip. Don't underestimate the size of the soft-sided canvas "wheeled trunk"...it's a whopper, standing a bit over 4 feet tall, some 28 inches wide, and weighing in at about 75 pounds. The package is catagorized as both oversized and overweight by most airlines, resulting in a double charge (most airlines charge $50 for overweight, and $50 for oversize ... for a potential $200 roundtrip toll). However, after some sweet-talking, JetBlue agreed to categorize it a "windsurfer", and only tagged us for $50 each way. We have the sail kit, so that's not such a stretch...but thank you JetBlue. Other airlines have similar oversize "exemptions" for sports equipment, so do your research and be ready to plead your case.

In addition to the soft pack trunk, we found that the 2 Mirage drives, paddles, seats, life preservers and other kayak stuff required an additional wheeled suitcase...which came in at about 42 pounds, well within the normal baggage allowance. So you'll be adding 2 large wheeled objects to your normal travel logistics: it's well worth it, but plan your moves accordingly.

We experienced some damage to the canvas trunk (and the boat) on the trip down to PR, and in general, the packing case is the only element of the i14T package I found inadequately designed and built. The material is simply too flimsy for a bag that is guaranteed by it's size to get beat up by baggage handling equipment. We had 4 or 5 spots of wear-through abrasion, almost all at the corners and edges, right where you'd expect it. For the return trip I purchased a tough plasticized tarp, and wrapped the kayak in that, before stuffing it into the Hobie case, affording another couple layers of protection. I also reinforced all the edges and corners of the Hobie case with several layers of duct tape...and we had no damage on the return, though we lost some style points for sure! Hobie needs to do a little more engineering and add another layer of some miracle-tough material to the stress points of their itcase: for us, "packability" and "transportability" is why we bought this wonderful boat, and that is as much about the packing case as the kayak itself. Wheels and handles all worked great, and as awkward as it sounds, I was able to wheel it through the airports with a minimum of fuss.

The three small holes we found upon arrival (all in the black rubber underside, which is not surprising, since that ends up forming the envelope of the boat after it is folded for travel) were quickly repaired with the supplied repair kit, and we had no leaks during 5 days of hard use.
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The boat. It's simply fantastic. Fast to assemble (taking about 5 minutes, using the big-lunged pump included in the kit), and extremely well made. We lashed up a homemade roof rack for our rental AWD, and had no problems hefting the kayak up and lashing it down...I even did that solo on one occaision. Again, the handles are right where you need them to be.


We used the i14T in all modes, and in some pretty stiff winds, with 4 to 5 foot swells at one wild moment. With the twin Mirage drives there was plenty of authority and power. Steering is responsive, and the remarkably low profile means you don't get blown around as you might otherwise expect with an inflateable. The only operational quibble I found was that the rear paddle had a tendancy to work itself off the attachment clips in following waves, while sailing. I found myself simply putting the paddle in the boat in choppy sailing conditions.


Before our trip, I stole the sailing rudder from our AI and installed it on the i14T, and was glad I did...especially when we attached the sailing rig. Sailing was a lot of fun, though on open waters, anything over 12 knots was a challenge with one person: the only centerboard is provided by keeping the Mirage drive flippers in the straight down position, and we found that having both sets of Mirage drives acting as a center board made all the difference in pointing up into the wind with stiff breezes. With 6-10 knot winds, the i14T was just a hoot to sail, and my 10 year son and I were able to take some nice 3 and 4 miles trips to explore parts of the island previously inaccessible to us. Next time, we think we can reach out considerably more. But I'd catagorize the large sailing rudder as a must-have, and would argue that it should be part of the optional sailing package...I simply can't imagine trying to sail without it.
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On one glassy cove, we attached a 5 foot line, and my 5 year-old daughter had a ball being dragged around on a boogie board, "surfing" as she called it. That was a thigh-burning workout! On another trip, my 10 year strapped on his snorkle gear, and I pulled him across about 1/2 mile of coral reef. I could hear him humming and talking to himself through the snorkle tube as he marveled at the marine life.
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The new "pull handle" rudder system is much more stable and secure than the "twist and stow" on our '07 AI (I still haven't gotten around to switching it out.) But it's much harder to use, requiring real strength to tug the rudder up and down. My wife and 10 year old both struggled mightily with the new system, and they defintely prefer the older twist & stow technology...that said, there was certainly none of the "rudder pop up" troubles associated with the old system, once you got it down and locked, and I think the re-design is big win. (We found that if you grabbed onto both the "up" and "down" lines simultaneously, working them together to relieve some of the crimping pressure, that made things much easier.)
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We've been going to Vieques for 20 years, and this boat has opened up the island in a completely new way...we absolutely love the i14T.

Joe


Last edited by Joseph Thompson on Fri May 09, 2008 4:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: i14T
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:18 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Tasmania, Australia
G/Day Joe

Joseph Thompson wrote:
We experienced some damage to the canvas trunk (and the boat) on the trip down to PR, and in general, the packing case is the only element of the i14T package I found inadequately designed and built. The material is simply too flimsy for a bag that is guaranteed by it's size to get beat up by baggage handling equipment.

Joe


What a great review, much of it bears out what I have experienced with the i12. Great fun boats and well built. I also had a problem with the bag, when the dealer picked it up in the show room by the shoulder strap the strap ripped out at the corner :( Hobie replaced the bag with no questions asked, but it is the one area that needs more work. Due to its large size in both models, I have suggested more handles for starters, and your suggestion for corner reinforcement is a good one. However that being said I would not have any other boat - well maybe an i14 to keep the i12 company :D
Regards Tasman


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 Post subject: The i14T breaks the ice
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:54 pm
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Location: Berkshires, Massachusetts
...back in the Berkshires, I took advantage of an unusually balmy April day to try the i14T on fresh water. The boat slipped handily into our small sedan (a 10 year old Audi A-4, with back seat folded down to extend the trunk area), and within 15 minutes of arriving at Harriman Resevoir, in the deep south of Vermont, I was on the water...which was still about half frozen, it turns out, despite a spate of days in the 70's.

After running out of open water, I began peddling my way through increasingly narrow channels, until finally the small sets of ice floes packed in, blocking my northward progress.
Image
Or so it seemed. The i14T makes for a serviceable ice-breaker. The ice was on the losing side of thermal momentum, and in most places was only an inch or two thick. And it was soft: taking advantage of the smooth rubber underside of the i14T, I found I could peddle gently forward and the boat would sort of ride up on top of the ice sheets, and then gently settle through, shoving the cakes of ice to port and starboard.
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I didn't cover a lot of miles, but kayaking through the sheets of ice,-- in 70 degree weather, with just the faintest haze of green buds on the surrounding trees-- made every hardwon quarter mile worth it. Since my family was away in the only vehicle we have set up to haul our AI, the trunkable kayak made my day.


Last edited by Joseph Thompson on Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: New i12s
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:26 pm
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Location: INDIANAPOLIS
I just picked up my new inflatable and can't wait to get it in the water after reading all the great reviews. I already have a sail boat, but am thinking about getting the sail for the i12s. Is it worth putting a sail on it?

Ken


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:46 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: Escondido
Joseph, excellent review and beautiful pictures. What an adventure on the semi-frozen lake -- that would have to be a first for the inflatable! Thanks for sharing!

Klock, I personally liked the way the i12s sailed. I hadn't expected much, anticipating a lot of side slip. With the (Turbo) fins down it does pretty darned well. Compared with my Adventure, it has great stability and is quite dry. Don't expect any great speeds though. It also makes a nice auxiliary to pedaling.
Image

I haven't tried the i14t though for sailing. Like our Oasis, the sail mounts amidship so the handling characteristics are likely to be a little different. Which model did you get? 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:46 am 
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I guess I will go ahead and order a sail for the i12s. As you said, it would be nice to have some aux power on a long trip. This is my first kayak, I have cruised and raced sailboats for over 30 years, so I will try not to be too critical of my yak with a sail.

Ken :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:20 am 
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Location: Berkshires, Massachusetts
You'll enjoy it. The directions we got with our kit were quite generic, however, and seemed written for the hard hulls. (I have a hunch Hobie hasn't quite gotten around to writing a specific instruction manual for the inflatable sail kit, not that it's very complex.) There are three lines on the inflatables, plus the bungee downhaul. The glossy photograph in the '08 Hobie catalogue is actually far more helpful in getting the rigging set up properly than the instructions themselves (though in the catalogue photo, they only have only two of the three lines rigged up, making for a slicker promotional shot...).

We found we needed to shorten the three rigging lines by about 3" each, or else the mast would bend way, way over in any winds over 5 or 6 knots. But after a bit of tweaking, we found the sail to be a lot of fun, and in the right conditions, it can take a load off your legs, extending range considerably. As Roadrunner notes, you won't be setting any speed records, but it handles better than you might expect.

Spring for the big rudder while you're at it.


Last edited by Joseph Thompson on Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Location: INDIANAPOLIS
I noticed the missing stay in the picture in the 08 brochure also. I did get the larger rudder and hope to have the sail next week. One good thing about having stays, you can ajust the Mast to get rid of any weatherhelm. Be safe and have a great Spring.

Ken


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:26 pm 
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klock55 wrote:
One good thing about having stays, you can adjust the Mast to get rid of any weather helm.

Definitely! Raking the mast forward (on the i12) makes a good improvement. It would also be nice to rig some quick adjustments for the stays for different temperatures and conditions, since inflation pressure has some bearing on the issue. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:47 am 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
G'Day Joseph,
Enjoyed reading your review and the fantastic pictures. Talk about extremes! :shock:
Ice flows are something we'll never experience here- unless we get blown to Antarctica :wink:
I had no idea where Vieques was so I googled it. What a great looking place.
It's great to see the whole family having fun with the kayak. I'm glad the Tandem inflatable is proving to be as versatile as the other tandems. Actually- it could be the most versatile in the range with the advantage of portability. 8)
Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:10 am 
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Location: PA
I took my first sail with my i12 this weekend. I purposely used the standard rudder and fins to help evaluate the sail rig balance adjustment. The mast rigging lines are long enough to allow adjustment, adjusting is a bit clumsy on the water, I may add. Something other than moving knots would be an improvement. I found the best balance to be with the mast racked forward with minimal slack in the side shrouds. Even so, there was plenty of weather helm, with a tendency to round up and nearly tack with any kind of a gust. I needed to pedal occasionally to retain some steerage. The kayak has incredible heeling stability along with great visibility. I ran the sheet through the triangular rear ring and then up the right side. The leech and foot tension was about equal with this angle of the sheet. Sheeting out was most effective by pushing the sail out, too much friction for the light wind to push the sail out by simply easing the sheet. A small block at the stern would be a nice addition, I have some old Harkin keychain blocks that I will use. I have some concern with the headstay tension on the forward attachment ring, there is a lot of pull on that ring when going upwind, I hope it holds up without tearing out. I plan to change to the sailing rudder next time, and possibly install the turbo fins also. BTW, this is my first kayak, I've never been in any kayak until this year. I have owned, sailed, & raced Sunfish, Lasers, Laser 2's, DN iceboats, Windsurfers, and an S2 9.1 for decades.

A lot of other people on the water and ashore were asking questions and making favorable comments about this kayak, once I got it inflated and in the water. Someone else was inflating a sevlor kayak while I was pumping mine up, and I think the other kayakers and canoers figured the Hobie to be similar. They changed their mind after I pedaled past them (before rigging the sail). I went back in and then had a 115 lb. 5'4" girlfriend onboard, riding in back, we were able to switch positions several times on the water, great stability, and a good straight ride, the bow was up some, but not too bad even when I was in back. I'm 6', 190 lbs. All we had to do was adjust the pedal position, took less than a minute.
The biggest challenge was getting it back in the bag at the end of the day.

I love this kayak!!!!!!!!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:30 am
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Location: Switzerland
i live in Switzerland and got my I12s for a month now, this kayak is really great ! I was going to buy a regular paddle kayak and found the Hobie Mirage drive by coincidence. I'm really happy i bought this type of kayak, i think i would not have used a regular one that much. I tried paddling but i can't go on like this for hours and miles like i do with the Mirage drive, simply no comparison. With my GPS I record all my trips and save them in Google Earth. You can ride at 6 km/hour for many hours without much pain in the legs, at 4 km/hour you can ride all day i think.

I got the sail too and i was nicely surprised ! This boat can sail quite close to the wind. I've got the turbo fins but the regular rudder. In stronger wind i pedal a bit to better keep my line, 45, sometimes 30 degrees to the wind. You can also sail on very small wind or patchy winds on a small lake. Instead of waiting for the wind to come to you, you pedal to go and catch it. Try doing that with a laser ! Then when the wind is down you just pedal nicely and enjoy the shore line watching the birds or the sunset.

This boat is quite solid too. The only thing i broke is the rope attaching the sail in front, not sure how i did that. But i replaced them and doubled each line. By twisting the lines together i can add more tension too, it's a nice fine tuning.

I also enjoyed riding some good waves with it, just pedal to meet the next wave and ride with it, quite cool.

I recommend the weel cart, i use it most if the time to get the boat in the water. You can inflate your boat on the nearby grass and roll it in.

What else can i say ? Very stable too, i think there is no worry to go out all year even in cold water (maybe not sailing in strong wind). The risk of falling in the water on a calm lake is probably smaller than the risk you take driving your car every morning to work so...Although i wonder how the kayak folds up in cold weather. Anyone experienced that so far ? Do you store your kayak inflated or folded during winter ?

ok, enough now, people will think i'm sponsored by Hobie !


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:30 am
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Location: Switzerland
Hi everybody,

just wanted to give a short feed-back on my i12s after the third season out:

I'm very satified with the quality of the materials used. I bought it in 2008 and it still looks great. No change of color, no cracks, no sign of deterioration. Just a few small surface wrinkles where the boat folds, but nothing to worry and when inflated they're almost invisible.

The kids use it a lot too, they go out 4 of them, stand on it, jump, they give it the rough test, but everything is holding on. Nothing broken. My wife is using it too.

I'm really, really satisfied with this boat. The only problem i had is when i sailed in a little too strong winds and i broke the ropes holding the sail. Actually the crimp failed. So i just changed the ropes and used no crimps at all.

great boat ! great quality ! definitely worth the price !
:D :D :D

Hugues
from Switzerland


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:10 pm 
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Location: Escondido
Hugues, thanks for the excellent long term feedback! 8)


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