Beforehand, thanks a lot for your detailed answer.
The sail starts to help in very little wind. Maybe 3 knots. Just enough to keep the sail from flogging around. It starts to really power the boat and make the pedals unnecessary at around 8-10 knots.
That's exactly what I wanted to know.
And I do see the considerable & original advantage the AI has over most other boats by being able to produce and sustain some more apparent wind through peddling. Windsurfing we can pump the sail but it's very tiring over a long course.
The extra drag of the amas in flat calm conditions is barely noticeable. It gets more noticeable in wind and chop, of course.
Great piece of news again for me as here, chop is directly related to wind : it is very rare indeed that we meet swell without wind. So in other words if one is in the situation of having to peddle with a completely furled sail, in our prevailing water state conditions, it means that there won't be any noticeable chop.
The AI goes through chop, not over it. It's a wet kind of fun!
Actually I like that, and prefer it over a sit-inside kayak, among other reasons.
You can pedal with amas folded in, but it's extremely inefficient. The amas fold in and down and come to rest at an angle. It's like dragging buckets behind you. You can see me pedaling a folded boat in this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FncgPZTh_1A
Quote from page 9 of the user manual
"Pivoting Akas and the Locking Crossbrace
The Adventure Island is equipped with pivoting akas to
make it easy to get on and off the boat from a dock. As
the akas fold in, they also move down to give you plenty
of stability even when folded in. Do not sail the boat
with the akas folded in."
I think I had overlooked that bit and misunderstood it : they say not to SAIL the boat amas folded in, but perhaps we can PEDDLE it this way without damage ? (as you demonstrate in your video, thanks BTW to you and other contributors as it surely makes things clearer)
You didn't ask this question, but in my mind, the AI has two modes of propulsion. The Mirage Drive and the sail. I use my paddle to go backward and to bang on the sail to free the telltales that are always sticking. Oh, and I used it one time when I lost the Mirage Drive overboard and then the wind died. Paddling is by far the slowest and most tiring way to travel in an AI. The Mirage Drive is one of man's greatest creations.
... as long as it is kept safely leashed I reckon
Well that's something not to be doubted, as stated by the overwhelming majority of those who actually tried the Mirage drive.
The reason why I still contemplate it is that it could be a precious way, on a windless day, to have the legs take a break after a few hours, without having to actually stop. Just for a change.
Well Tom, I don't know if you have any affiliation with Hobie, but you definitely sell them right