With all the buzz around the America’s Cup foiling catamarans performing like middle of the road iceboats and how we are waiting, patiently as only iceboaters do, for the huge influx of charged up go fast sailors into our sport, Doug sends along a middle way. Not quite Denis and Frank sailing their Hobie 16 on the verge of disaster, nor the high end international foilers, but a step beyond Jory Squibb with his new passion for sea kayaks. Here’s what Doug has discovered, along with a video for illustration.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation.
About ten years ago I purchased a Hobie Adventure Island. It is a kayak with folding amas and a sail. It has Mirage Drive, a system that allows the skipper to pedal it with one’s feet, leaving hands free for fishing. The Mirage Drive was invented by Greg Ketterman. He also designed the boat. If that name seems familiar it is because he was also the designer/inventor of the Tri-Foiler and the world speed record holder for a while. So, what does this have to do with iceboating? With amas extended the boat is eight feet wide. All up it weighs about 125 lbs. The mast is 16’. Sail area is 60 square feet. The skipper sits in a comfortable position facing forward, (just like a DN? ed.) not on a tramp but in an adjustable seat. You can car-top it or carry it around in the back of a pick-up. Or if you prefer, trailer it. Sounds a lot like a DN doesn’t it? Okay, so what about speed you ask? Unlike DN’s, multi-hulls and other Hobies they aren’t fast. But don’t stop reading. The lack of speed doesn’t negate the the thrill we seek. The sail is instantly reefed to any size on a roller furling mast. This allows the skipper to sail safely in thirty knots of air and enjoy the ensuing adrenalin rush. And if you are lucky enough to be out when the breeze just starts to build and the water is still flat you’ll find yourself trimming for every last ounce of speed and you’ll swear it feels exactly, well almost, like a March day sailing in three inches of slush. It is uncanny how similar the sensation is. These boats have many other attributes. Number one: There is always a venue available. No waiting for ice. They are capable of expeditions. One guy sailed his from Miami to Montreal. NumberTwo: You can get to and experience areas inaccessible by any other sailing craft. Number three. And this gets to what I did on summer vacation. They can be fitted with a motor. I recently added a Minn-Kota 30 pound thrust electric motor. When the wind dies it moves me along at 4 MPH. I copied the mounting design from an Aussie who posted photos on the Hobie blog site. So my fellow iceboaters, you may want to consider getting one of these. You will not regret it. You’re welcome to try mine if you like.