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Kaimusailing
Hobie Madness
Capn Andy/Springlike
10 May 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
The 420 dinghy sold via Craig's List and I was sad to see it go. The buyer shorted me a hundred bucks, but I had asked a hundred bucks more than I paid for it. Now that it was gone, the space was available at the dock for the hobie cat. The plan was to begin reconditioning the hobie cats and replacing any missing items. The first cat was bought midwinter and was in a field near the shore in Mayo, Maryland. The second came with the trailer bought in Wye Mills and was transported to the dock on the Bodkin. The Mayo cat was complete except for a broken sidebar, for which a replacement was purchased along with the Wye Mills cat. The Wye Mills cat was missing rudders and mainsheet, plus two of the stays were cut and would need replacement.
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I went to DMV in Annapolis to begin the trailer registration process. It had no title and there was no manufacturer's plate on it. The seller suggested I register it as homebuilt trailer and DMV would issue a new vehicle identification number. Then a title could be generated, temporary plates, and it could be brought to an inspection station, inspected, and then finally receive permanent plates. The Annapolis DMV gave me a homebuilt trailer package of forms and said to go to the Glen Burnie DMV with them. That was an hour ride in the other direction. At Glen Burnie they asked, “Why did they send you here?”, and said the photos of the trailer didn't look like a homemade trailer. The trailer would have to be brought to the State Police inspection unit which is only open on Tuesdays. It could not legally be trailed there without license plates. License plates could not be issued until it was titled, which can't happen until the new vehicle identification number is issued, which can't happen until the State Police inspect it and verify it isn't stolen. In other words, Catch 22.
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The Wye Mills cat was disassembled and hand carried down to the dock. The rig wires from the Mayo cat and its rudders were brought to the dock and the rigging wires of the two boats were compared. The Wye Mills cat was a standard Hobie 14 which has a shorter forestay and slightly longer forward bridle wires. The Mayo cat had shorter bridle wires and longer forestay because it had a jib. This would normally be a Hobie 14 Turbo, with a roller furling jib, dolphin striker under the forward crossbeam, and trapeze wires to hike out. Because the sails and some of the gear of the Mayo cat were stored away in the seller's garage, there was no way to determine if this was a true Turbo model, or a standard with some Turbo parts added. Although the Turbo has a roller furling jib, the larger Hobie 16 has a hank-on jib and some prefer that set up. Also the roller furler is an expensive piece of gear.
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The dolphin striker is a stay or wire rigged under the forward cross beam, from end to end. A sort of spreader pointing down to the surface of the water holds the stay taught, hence the nickname, “dolphin striker”. It is sort of like a suspension bridge upside down. Mast compression tries to bend the forward crossbeam down in the middle and the dolphin striker prevents the downward bend. When trapeze wires are rigged to the top of the mast, the weight of the crew on the mast adds to the compression on the crossbeam, so any Hobie with trapeze wires should have the dolphin striker option.
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Another modification found on the Turbo model is a stay that runs across the boat under the trampoline. It is attached where the side stays are attached. The standard model has straps riveted to the sidebar of the trampoline and they serve as chainplates for the side stays. On the turbo model, the straps are wrapped under the sidebars and an additional tang adds an attachment point for the stay under the trampoline. This stay serves as a sort of jib track. The jib sheet blocks are attached to the stay. The blocks are above the trampoline and the stay is underneath with a large grommet in the trampoline to allow the block shackle to be fed through to the stay. The Mayo cat should have had this dual purpose chainplate, but it does not. This curious mixture of options on the Mayo cat seem to indicate it is a standard race model, which has the dolphin striker and trapezes. Someone purchased some of the turbo model options, but not all of them. The seller said he had never sailed with the jib. Of course not, there was nowhere to rig his jib sheets.
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The Wye Mills hobie needed the forestay and a side stay replaced. The original damaged side stay was long enough to provide enough wire to make up a new forestay. I searched around for riggers and took a trip to the local West Marine store to see what they had. In the store was a crimper to make up the stays with nicopress sleeves, but the wire would have to be ordered. It would be a week before we could repair the stays. That meant there was no great rush to get the rest of the boat in order, there was plenty of time.
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A posting on Craig's List of windsurfing gear had the two piece mast I needed. Windsuring masts make great spars for any kind of jumper strut or other sailing pole. They are light and strong, and these days they are being sold cheap just to clean out the garage. In this case it was a little different. The seller was indeed cleaning out his garage, but he was offering a large quantity of gear, and it turned out the quality of the windsurfing gear was top notch. He had 3 Mistral windsurfers, a two piece North mast, 5 sails, all custom or North, a gear bag full of expensive parts, and a couple of windsurfing booms. It all went onto the roof racks on the car and that gave me the idea that the Hobie cat in Mayo could be transported the same way, if it were disassembled to fit on the car.
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We went down to Mayo, disassembled the Hobie Turbo, and mounted it on the car. The hulls and mast went on top the roof racks, and everything else went inside. Because of the threat of spiders, ticks, mites, and the goose excrement that surrounded the area around the Hobie cat, we offloaded the gear, then cleaned and vacuumed the car, then threw our clothes int the wash and threw ourselves into the shower.
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A review of the Hobie cat showed the hulls were soft and not worthy of repair. The mainsail was a sunbleached tatter that existed only to be a home for vermin and spiders. The jib, however, was like new. It also had the proper jib furling drum and head swivel. Also, the jib sheet blocks with becket and cam were there along with the jib clew blocks. It was odd that the trampoline was Hobie Turbo with the large grommet openings for the jib blocks, but the jib block support wire had no place to mount. The turbo chainplates weren't there on the side rails. That's why the jib looked so new, it had never been used. The front crossbeam had the correct dolphin striker and the mast stays were the correct length for the turbo. The boat had been sailed with a piece of wire in place of the jib and the other jib components remained in the garage, never used.
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I could build up a proper Hobie Turbo using parts from both cats, plus a few minor repairs. The standard chainplates were drilled out and replaced with the turbo chainplates. A trip down to West Marine and use of their nicopress station enabled me to make the jib block support wire, 6 feet 5 ½ inches of 1/8 inch 1X19 stainless wire. The boat from Wye Mills needed epoxy infusion into its decks to cure some soft spots. The rudder crossbar had a couple of rusted bolts in it that needed to be replaced with stainless. The hiking stick was stuck, but flushing with fresh water eventually cleaned it out. It also needed a new mounting bolt which needed to be epoxied in place, since the threads of the fitting on the hiking stick were gone. The turbo trampoline was surprisingly in good shape except for the corner that was torn when the catamaran was flipped around by the hurricane.
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The torn trampoline corner was repaired with ballistic urethane coated dacron and contact cement. The decks were given a coat of arctic white to mask the repairs, epoxy infusion to rebond the inner and outer cores. The hiking stick mount was repaired by peening a washer onto it. The turbo jib was washed, the furler was disassembled and cleaned, and the whole unit was hoisted to dry, then furled up for rigging day.
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Rigging day arrived. The trampoline frame was assembled and the trampoline tightened. The jib support block wire was installed along with the jib sheets and blocks. The picture is of the port hull and trampoline being assembled. Shortly afterward a gust of wind blew it all into the drink.
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