One item that still seems lost on people here is galvanic corrosion. I have mentioned it on a couple theads on this forum, but it needs to be said again. If everything is made out of a single metal, say aluminum, it is not a problem. But, if you have 2 metals like steel and aluminum in contact, and these metals are in contact with salt water,
then you have what is known as a galvanic cell. With a galvanic cell, the sacraficial metal (aluminum in the case of steel/aluminum cell) corrodes very rapidly. I don't know the situation with a boom, but I do know that the AI has numerous steel/aluminum connections. This is asking for trouble in a saltwater environment.
Hobie has been very generous with me and my corrosion problem--they deserve their reputation for outstanding support. And, I am very thankful for Hobie's hosting this forum for users to exchange information. The information on this forum is invaluble. I and others have expressed this opinion frequently. So, I am bringing up this potential corrosion problem with constructive intentions.
My use is special. I only do multi-day kayak camping trips. Most of the trips have been outlined on my thread about "expedition" kayaking: http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=7276&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15
Of course, on these multi-day trips I cannot wash my equipment at the end of each day. Further, I only sail in saltwater, so corrosion problems are going to be amplified 10-20 times compared to fresh water.
Now back to the "hole." This unpainted aluminum surface which, through conduction, is in contact with steel (the steel hinge pin and screws) will cause undue corrosion when used in saltwater. I am going to try to prevent that corrosion by (1) attaching zinc anodes to the xbars, and (2) sealing the 3/8" hole with marine silicone sealer. I also intend to seal the 4 holes of the jam cleats and the 2 holes of the paddle cozy with the silicone sealer.
Hopefully, a year from now I will be relatively corrosion free. We will see.