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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 11:22 am 
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Location: Panama City, Fla. USA
The FX-1, a boat for “all the right reasons!”

As I neared 60 myself, my aging 18 was falling further and further behind the new technology found in the Hobie Miracle and Tiger. I found myself wanting the option of single-handing, was looking for a lighter & smaller cat, and wanted the higher performance capability of new sail & hull designs. On a cold day in January 2003, SUNJAMMERS’s Brad Stephens, my local Hobie dealer here in Panama City, Florida, shared with me the specs and pictures of the “new” FX-1, and I ordered sight unseen!
The FX-1 arrived in record time sporting immaculate racing hardware. It shares many of the characteristics of its big brothers, the Miracle and Tiger, but weighs only 275 lbs! When fully rigged in a stout breeze, this is not a boat for “kicking back with a beer.” But if you want a quick and responsive cat that adapts its sailing personality to a combination of sail plans, then read further. Originally designed with the single main, taking my 9 yr. old niece Catherine and her friend Kim into the Gulf of Mexico to play with the dolphins was smooth sailing, without the “macho.” Catherine’s response, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life” made this uncle’s day. Unfurl the optional jib kit and 2nd trapeze and you’re on the wire in relatively light air. But the new spinnaker I sailed with last weekend for the 1st time adds a dimension of performance that should allow the FX-1 to keep up with its larger brothers.
This lighter, shorter, and faster boat needs a little getting used to. The heavier sailing platform feel of the larger Hobies is gone. For the 1st time I have to be careful on a jibe in heavy air, but it’s the kind of challenge one doesn’t mind getting used to! The FX –1’s potential to point high with the jib, and higher still without it, is tempered only by how deeply one wishes to push down those long daggerboards. In heavy air and on the wire, a board part way up allows the boat to “skip” laterally in a puff and drive forward instead of raising a hull. But now I’m getting into sailing style, and my “point on the learning curve” indicates the FX-1 is for the present doing the teaching.
If there are any draw backs to the FX-1 package, the hot stick provided will not clear the side shrouds and trapeze when retracted. So….shortened it immediately….or later if you like the challenge of getting hung up during a critical maneuver.
I have noticed several comments in the forum about the hulls of the higher performance cats being “fragile.” With more glass comes more weight…hello! Radically new production techniques and in-hull bracing have proven hull strength on the water, and that’s where I sail. But if you like to sail your boat over rocks, sand bars, oyster shells, and drag them around on the beach, the heavier built 14, 16, and 18 are better suited. The FX-1 package provides custom cradles (4) for your trailer and additional cradles (2) for your Cat Tracks.
Unlike its big brothers, the FX-1’s flat bottom design tends to plane on the tops of the water/waves, reducing drag, and giving an entirely new “feel” in a breeze. The radical bow design pierces waves without burying up on some points of sail, and they ride with the first three feet out of the water on other points of sail and wind conditions. Watching this variety of bow entry from the trapeeze can be mesmerizing! Weight placement seems as much a part of tuning this craft as the multitude of its hardware designed to power up or power down.
I guess the reader can tell I’m “stoked on this boat!” Its not only a “boat for all seasons” with its ability to handle all sailing conditions short of one of our Florida hurricanes, but it is a “boat for all the right reasons.” Light, fast, multiple sail plans, and the option of having a crew makes the FX-1 Hobie’s most versatile creation to date. I want to think they built it for an old-timer like me, who thought he’d seen, sailed, and owned Hobie’s best……until the FX-1!!!

Thomas W. Duke

Reader may wish to weigh credibility against writer's history with Hobie products.

·Attended college in Hawaii (1962-1966) and became familiar with the large beach cats.
·Learned the Hobie name in surfboards represented quality & performance.
·Ran across a 1½-inch Hobie 14 advertisement in the back pages of “Boating Magazine” while living in a beach house on Mexico Beach, Florida (1970). Ordered sight unseen, I unloaded the two large boxes from a semi in my front yard, and with the instruction book put my first Hobie Cat together.
·Since there were no Hobie dealers in Florida, I dealt with the factory direct when needing new parts. I was asked to be a dealer, but had to decline because of other responsibilities. Fort Lauderdale took the 1st Florida’s dealership (as I recollect), and the rest is history
·I sailed in the Gulf of Mexico for the next 3 years and never saw another catamaran, but I answered a lot of questions. By the fourth year our beach came alive with Hobies. After seeing pictures of Hobie’s new 16’, I had a jib made by a local sail maker using Hobie 16 hardware. Hobie would later market this sail combo as the 14 Turbo. I am proud to possess a letter from Hobie Alter himself, dated 1972, in reply to correspondence from me praising his sailing creation.
·Eventually I brought a 16 (1976), got into racing on a dare from a friend, and was hooked when my wife and I took 1st place in “C” Fleet in our first race weekend. I moved up to “B” fleet, and up to an 18 (1977) that I wore out racing. I bought a 2nd 18, this time in “black anodized aluminum.” My wife and I raced about everyother weekend during the sailing season for years. It was normal for us to sail the “White Knight” to one of the first 4 trophies by Sunday afternoon, and that was back when fleets were larger.
·A year and a half ago my wife was in SUNJAMMERS, our local Hobie shop, and saw a Hobie kayak. We ordered a tandem immediately….with pedals. When the sail kit became available I was the first locally to order the original (larger) sail, again sight unseen. Like all other Hobie products of the past, workmanship, hardware, and performance are tops in the industry!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 12:53 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Tom,

I am also a new owner of a FXone and love the feel of the boat. I have, however, had trouble getting it to go to weather well.

May I ask what has been your experience and how do you have the mast positioned.

Thanks.

Phillip


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 11:35 am
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Location: Panama City, Fla. USA
I hear you Phillip!

You bring back the feelings I had the 1st times I unfurled my jib. It hung up on the spreader bar, the mast rotator seemed to be in the way of setting & uncleating the jib sheet, the jib had wrinkles where there weren’t supposed to be any, and I felt I was having to over sheet the jib to get any shape at all. I even began to wonder why I had bought this “tiny” slice of canvas. But, chin up old buddy, because things are going to change, and you’ll appreciate the increased performance and boat balance when you get that jib to feed the main. The following are adjustments & modifications I made over time, but not necessarily in the order made:
 Lay the mast back all the way. Rationale……it’s pointing where I needed the power, and laying back the mast is an old trick used to improve upwind performance by cat sailors sailing many designs.
 Place the jib lead in the center hole of the clew plate. Results, the wrinkles disappear.
 Get some tell-tales on the jib so you can read the air flow. Result…..you will have more confidence in you jib set as you can now see what the wind is doing.
 Move the jib traveler car toward the mast until it just covers the second rivet from the mast….or the edge of the traveler car is approximately 4” from the end of the rail closest to the mast.
 My spreaders are all the way forward, and the diamonds tight enough so there is absolutely no slack…..and then a couple more turns because I’m light. It is just a starting point though, and I knew it would be safe to leave them there while I played with the other adjustments. Eventually I’m going to want to loosen them a little at a time and watch those results. In the meantime……
 With the above diamond & spreader bar settings, I find that the leech of the jib wants to get caught on the spreader. The old rule is to point the mast rotator toward the dagger board. Solve this problem by pointing it toward the back edge of the dagger board and no more hang-up! The spreader will stay just a couple inches away from the jib leech.
 Get tell-tales on your main as well. Those stock ones on the leech tell you if your hooked (over-sheeted), but don’t help with the more finite adjustments necessary for upwind work.
 Down haul the main, but leave a few wrinkles along the luff. Center up the traveler, but loosen up on those sheets, and from those go fast books apply the saying …… “When in doubt, let it out.” We are all guilty of wanting to “sheet in” too much! Now when the winds come up, all bets are off, and its de-powering with tugs to the downhaul, mainsheet, and jib sheet. With enough wind and my light weight, eventually the jib becomes the last de-powering with a quick furl and a return to the trap.
 I haven’t come up with an opinion on the outhaul yet, but suspect that 6” or so between the boom and the bottom of the sail measured horizontally might be a good start for pointing your boat to the max.

I hope some of the above thoughts will help you in your quest to sail closer and faster upwind. Happy sailing .

Tom Duke
(FX-1 # 328)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 7:10 am 
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Authorized Hobie Dealer

Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2003 7:35 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: 315 N. Hwy 79 Panama City Beach, FL 32413 850-235-2281
This may help you out as well Philip.

ftp://ftp2.hobie-cat.net/hobiecat/manuels/tuning_fx.pdf

Let us know if we can help you out in any way. Where do you sail any chance a trip to the lovely Gulf Coast of Florida is anywhere in the future? Maybe we can have a FX-1 play day in emerald green waters of the gulf across the street from the shop, any takers? There are thousands of motel/hotel rooms close by. The shop is located in the middle for 250 of them!

Thanks,
Brad Stephens
Authorized Hobie/Vanguard Dealer
www.sunjammers.com
info@sunjammers.com
850-235-2281
Panama City Beach, FL


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 11:53 am
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Tom,

Many thanks for the comments...

I am still trying to make things happen without the jib. Theoretically, the boat show point higher as a Uni. Anyway, I really appreciate your suggestions. I have set up the boat via the FX-1 tuning guide and it is slow that way (to weather) ... so ... I am off to find a new setup.

Obviously, what makes a boat fast to weather can deter from its performance downwind, but for now I am trying to find the weather sweet spot. Without another boat, this can be hard to dial in, but not impossible.

As soon as I make progress, I will post the results.

Unfortunately, I am on that "other" coast, so I can't take up the kind offer to sail in Florida.

Many thanks.

Phillip


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 12:09 pm
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Location: So Cal
Phillip,
are you on the west coast? California? I'd love to check out that FXone if your close. As far as I know, there are no FX ones in So Cal.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:37 am 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Scott,

I am in Northern California, San Francisco Bay.

Let me know if you are in the area and I would be happy to hook up.

Phillip

There is one other FX-1 that is in Nor Cal and he and I are trading voicemails and will eventually get together to compare notes.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:43 pm
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Location: ST Croix US Virgin Islands
Phillip......I have an FX-One and point very well..what are your usual wind conditions.??.what is your traveler setting when going upwind ?...In 15-20kts my mast rake looks like a 16 so its pretty far back .. I have the downhaul on pretty hard the traveler centered and sheeted in as hard as I can and the mast rotation at the front on the daggerboard or higher....then at 6-1 230 I can really push the boat in big wind......


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:23 pm 
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Location: ST Croix US Virgin Islands
here are some shots of my FX and others here in the Virgin Islands............. http://groups.msn.com/SantaCruzBeachcat ... snw?Page=3 there are 4 pages of pix...Harper


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:02 pm 
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Hi all,

I am very interested in the FX-1, hopefully will be an owner in the next couple of years (just bought a house....first things first). Does anyone know how many FX-1's there are in the states or North America? It looks like an awesome boat, meets all the needs I currently have. Also, has everyone weighed their boat? I've seen reports from 265 lbs up to 330 lbs. I can't wait to get on one, the more I read about it, the more excited I get. Keep us up to date, Harper, when you get the chute up and runnin.

Kip
H18
Boise, ID


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 11:48 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:43 pm
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Location: ST Croix US Virgin Islands
the Kite is in the works...as soon as I get it set up I'll put some pix on the site...Hobie europe has the boat at 312lbs.....IM thinkin thats pretty close.....its a very good solid boat....with the conditions here most of the time Id be somewhat leary of an a-cat at less that 200lbs......no to sure how they could handle the chop and rollers here....


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:48 am 
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Vicatman,

Many thanks.

I sail to weather with the settings you describe, except that I have the mast set at fourth from the bottom on the back stays. Since I weigh less than you do, (170lbs), I may be able to rake more. My current setting is not max rake, so this weekend I will trying different settings (i.e. Mast rake at full or nearly full).

Can you out point the 40 foot monohulls that you have down in the islands? This is what I am currently shooting for.

Thanks again, I will post my results.

Phillip


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:03 am 
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Location: ST Croix US Virgin Islands
Phillip ...I cant quite point that high...but have out pointed an I-20...there are a couple TRIs here that I can out point...one is an F-31....work on different settings and see what works best for you.....


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 5:47 pm 
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I saw the FX One two years ago at the At. City Sail Expo. Could not take my eyes off it. Bought it in the Spring. The boat is fantastic and well built. Do not have any trouble going to windward. I put the mast rotator at about the dager boards. One problem I have with the boat is that there is no feel to the rudders. I'm used to the 16 & 17 steering with a little weather helm. Have tried rakeing the rudders forward, but no help. If I raise the boards about 5 inches it get a little feel (pull) on the rudders, but not much. Any suggestions?
Anyone in the Delaware area who wants to try one out, let me know.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 5:32 pm 
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Jim,

I have raked my FX-One mask back over the weekend and the boat has both helm and goes to weather very well. Raking your rudders forward will decrease helm, so go the other way or rake the mast move.

Hope this helps.

Phillip


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