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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:15 pm 
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I capsized my AI twice in one day. Both times the amas collapsed. It’s not as much fun as it sounds.

A little background. I have had my AI since December of 2006. I sail it a lot. I sail off the coast of Florida and enjoy sailing/surfing the boat in and out of the inlet by our condo. The low center of gravity and the wide stance make the AI a great vehicle for negotiating big waves. It’s a lot of fun and I do it often.

The weather that day. Lots of wind and waves, both directly toward shore. There were no other boats out on the water, just surfers.

The area. There is an area north of us that becomes very shallow. It’s about a half mile offshore and probably covers an area about the size of 5 football fields. With the wind and water conditions, this area became a zone of breakers way offshore.

First capsize. I thought I was far enough out on the seaward side to miss the bad water. Bad guess. I was sailing on a reach, half the sail furled., the wind and waves coming directly over the starboard side. I saw the wave coming but thought it was just going to roll under me like all the others. I didn’t realize it was going to break until I was almost on the face of it. With the wind on the sail and the wave curling, the AI toppled over sideways down the face. I fell with the boat. When I surfaced, the AI was on it’s starboard side, the port ama was on the high side collapsed against the boat.

Second Capsize. After the previous capsize, I was on high alert. I was also farther into all the breakers. I needed to get out of where I was and sailing was the fastest way to do that. The wind had picked up. I went back on a reach, I furled all but a few feet of sail and was also pedaling. Every time a large wave came, I turned and went into it head on. This worked for about 5 minutes. Then THE WAVE came. It was about 60 yards away when I first saw it. If I were a surfer, it would be the one I was waiting for. I turned toward it and started pedaling harder. I knew I had to get over it before it broke. Pedaling directly into the wind and waves I had very little forward momentum. The boat slowed as it started up the face. I got this sick feeling as I realized the AI was going to be turned over backwards. I did not want it coming down on top of me with all that water on top of it. As the boat went over backwards, I remember frantically kicking it away from me. The sound of that wave breaking was thunderous. When I came up, the AI was away from me and both amas were collapsed.

The amas. I don’t know how to tell you how difficult it was to right the boat and extend and lock both amas in that water. The waves kept knocking the boat down, rolling it over, pushing me away from it. I can’t even tell you how long it took. I made deals with God. I got it together and I got home.

My concerns. For the amas to release the way they did, I was sure the little plastic caps on the aka braces had to be broken. They weren’t. But what I discovered is that if the ama is pushed from the rear, it compresses the little spring in the aka brace cap and the brace can pop off the retaining ball quite easily.

I realize that being driven backwards down the face of a breaking wave may be the only time this comes into play. But there should be a way to lock that brace on the ball.

If I had capsized where I did and the amas had stayed in place, it would have been a matter of righting the boat, getting back in and going on my way. With the amas collapsed in bad water, an inconvenient situation became a very dangerous one. It will happen to someone else. And it will happen at the worst possible time.

Note to Hobie, find a way to lock the braces on the ball. The little spring cap is great when the boat is moving forward, not so great when moving backwards. It should be a simple fix.

And now for the good news. I know how fragile the AI looks. Don’t believe it. My boat was pounded, from every angle possible and in the most violent manner. It was rolled over with the mast sticking in the bottom and then hit again and again. I kept waiting for pieces to break off, for the mast to snap, for the rudder to disappear. Nothing broke, nothing. When I got back, there was a little water inside the hull, but there were times when the entire boat was completely underwater. Well done Hobie, well done.

Afterthought. When this first happened, I was upset that a design flaw might have put me in danger. As I look back on it, I wonder if the AI would have faired as well if the amas hadn’t collapsed. I would think the tumbling, pounding and rolling over would have been worse for the AI if the amas had remained fully extended. Maybe I was luckier than I thought.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
drgatsea,
Thanks for that great report-scary stuff :shock:
I'm amazed that no damage was done.
I recently had my AI in surf for the first time. I was nervous about getting out through the breakers (only about 2 foot) and how the mast would hold up if hit directly by the waves.
Looks like I needn't have worried! :wink:
Good to know.8)


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:46 pm
Posts: 2397
Location: Escondido
Great story -- what an adventure! Glad everything turned out OK from an obviously very dicey situation! It's amazing that the boat came through unscathed.

Having not yet capsized the AI, it is my understanding that you need to collapse an ama to regain an upright position. So, if the amas were already collapsed without broken parts, wouldn't this be a good thing?

If I read this correctly, it sounds like both collapses were the result of capsizing rather than the cause. Is that right? 8)


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 5:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:07 am
Posts: 598
Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Wow, sounds like quite an ordeal! I'll try to remember not to go backwards down breaking waves! ;) Impressive and surprising that nothing broke.

I agree with your afterthought re the aka strut release. If you hit something going forward, the plastic pin breaks. If you hit something going backward (or get slammed backward by a breaker), something has to give way or break.


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 5:53 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:06 pm
Posts: 49
Location: Long Island, New York
drgatsea

What a tale! Glad to hear you were able handled the recovery. Somewhere, if you do a search, there's a post about holding broken amas open with two ropes fastened in an X shape across the ama, connected at each of the four ends. I cut four to the correct lengths with added clip fasteners, and carry two on each side of the AI stretched from the front carrying handle to the side by my seat so that I can use them if an ama pin breaks. Would hold the ama open in a case like this so you could get back to shore. Of course, getting the craft upright, opening the amas and fastening the ropes to hold ama open in big waves is something else again, but if you could do it, the ropes will hold the amas in open position.

John Long / Long Island


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 6:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 1865
Location: South Florida
Wow, scary story. Glad to hear you survived the ordeal. Your "research" on the ama brace and ama brace "release" is very informative. I am definitely going to try not to slide down backwards on the face of any waves.

If you can take the time, could you explain to us in a little detail how you got out of your predicament with both amas collapsed and your boat turtled?

Keith


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:28 am 
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Roadrunner, you are correct on both points. The amas collapsed as a result of the capsizing. They did not cause it. And yes, I think you have to have an ama collapsed to right the AI.

On the first capsize, the collapsed ama was up in the air. I needed to roll the boat over to get that collapsed ama in the water to right the boat. I was in the process of doing that when a wave did it for me. When they were both collapsed, I waited for a wave to go by, swam over, got behind the AI, put my feet on the ama in the water and pulled on the upper ama. I wasn’t quick enough the first time, and as the boat came up a wave came and rolled it back on top of me. I did that a few times. But I learned and got quicker.

I also want to say that righting the AI is not hard, in fact it's quite easy. You just get behind it, put your feet on the ama in the water, lean back and then just pull it over. I was not gentle because I had so little time to work between waves. My problem was the breakers and the wind. They made it very difficult to safely stay near the boat and try and fix it. I also made the mistake of getting in the boat the first time. The next wave taught me that was not a good idea. If you are in breakers, you need to be able to get away from the boat when they hit you.

And again, I can’t emphasize enough how tough this little boat is. You will give out before it does.


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:37 pm
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Glad you're ok. I think the amas need to release to prevent damage. I had mine do so once when a big gust hit me. the release created enough play where I didn't flip.


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 Post subject: nice
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:31 pm
Posts: 132
Location: New Jersey
thanks for sharing - still sounds like you had a little fun :D

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Al aka "YAKMAN"


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:50 pm
Posts: 461
Location: sacramento california
:shock: Cowabunga Dude :shock:
I think I just soiled myself whilst reading your post.
Glad you and yak are both ok.
Kepnutz


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 1977
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Came across this report about being hit by a bombora wave in a fibreglass sea kayak. It makes interesting reading. The Mirage sea kayaks are one of the best available. In fact I was going to get one before I discovered Hobie. :)
The article 'Trashed at Killcare' is about halfway down the page found here:
http://mattbezzina.blogspot.com/
Here is the end result:
Image


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:50 pm
Posts: 461
Location: sacramento california
Crikey...Stringy... now that Yak is totally buggered :shock:
Watch out for those large breaking waves and you wont wind up like this fella

Image

Kepnutz :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 1977
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
G'Day Kep,
Great pic. Looks like he's in the Ostrich position- 'if I hide it might just go away' :wink:
I wonder how big THE WAVE was that somersaulted dr g's AI?


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:50 pm
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Location: sacramento california
How Ya Going Stringy :D
I once read that an average five foot ocean wave delivered some 1276 lbs of force per cubic foot but dont quote me on that. Ill take a squiz around and see what comes up.
Ok here's one excerpt I found.....

........The largest waves, those measuring over thirty-five feet, require anywhere from six to nine hundred miles of unobstructed ocean, or “fetch,â€


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 Post subject: take a look
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 8:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:31 pm
Posts: 132
Location: New Jersey
here is one of my favorite video's

http://youtube.com/watch?v=WuRvujRFsjY&feature=related

it kind of makes me want to try it on the AI

thats a really cool video

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Al aka "YAKMAN"


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