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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:53 am 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 12:38 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Chandler, AZ
Awesome to find this post here!

My 10yr old daughter and I were the 4th Hobie in the TX200 and while it was a great experience, I don't recommend trying with two people. Thankfully I overpacked which meant I had enough water to go 4 days before reaching the first re-supply point... which also ended up being the end of our journey at the Marker 37 Marina.

I knew I was going to have a problem with weight so I attached two SUPs under the trampolines and strapped our dry bags to them. I've tested this out before while sailing with my wife and 4 kids at some of the lakes nearby and it worked great. Unfortunately this didn't not work as well with 2' - 3' swells or even 6" swells coming straight at us. They turned into drag chutes instead.

We departed Port Mansfield at about 6:45PM on Sunday and sailed until 2:00AM by marker 15 when the wind died in the land cut where we made our first camp. For the first night of sailing, I had most of the weight on the main hull of the TI... we almost sank. At around 11:00PM I hear in a small voice from the rear seat "Papa?" I turn and look and see that the entire back of the boat is about 4" under water... Thankfully I had installed a bilge pump which took about 2 minutes to drain the hull. I had been focusing on sailing fast while we had favorable winds and spent a couple hours gull winged with the spinnaker. The first night was the best sailing of the trip. The strangest part was constantly being hit by jumping fish.

Woke up with the sun on Monday and the wind was coming directly down the channel. I spent the morning and early afternoon re-rigging the boat to hold the SUPs aft of the rear akas instead of under them. Then I moved as much weight off the TI as possible. I almost dumped my 6gal water tank (I also started with 48 1L bottles) but decided that the 40lbs of clean water may be needed if the winds didn't change. Before we launched we were hit by a very hard thunderstorm during which my daughter and I huddled up under a tarp... there was nothing around to provide cover. We finally set sail around 4:00pm after the storm and moved on. I say set sail but really I started pedaling into the wind and current while dragging two drag chutes. Every muscle in my legs had cramped in the first two hours and by the time we pulled up to the pier at Haps' Cut by marker 2 at 10:30PM even the cramps were having cramps... We setup camp, cooked up some tacos, drank a good beer and crawled into the tent right as another thunderstorm hit.

Tuesday morning was very calm and peaceful. I again woke up with the sun and was the first one out at the camp. Soon after the other crews who camped there were out tearing down camp while I was cooking breakfast. We had everything packed and hit the water right about 10:00AM. My legs were quite sore from the day before so I decided to pedal sail andtack my way up the channel instead of just pedal along the edge of the channel. I posted a picture of the recorded track on the TX200 facebook which has had some great comments. I think it looks like I was trying to draw a zipper up the channel. The channel is so narrow and shallow on the sides that I got stuck in the mud 4 times when I didn't tack soon enough (2-3 meters late). I sailed with the rudder unlocked and the dagger board unlocked so it would kick up and let me know when I was in shallow water. After about 4 hours of tacking every 100ft, we finally reached the opening into the Baffin Bay channel area which was around 4' deep so we could get outside the channel a little. The wind shifted for a couple hours and I was able to put up the spinnaker until the wind died around 4:00pm. I pedaled for the next 3 hours until the wind started up again, coming right down the channel again so we started tacking our way forward again. We were nearing the scheduled Camp 1 so we decided to head there for the 3rd night. Two other boats joined us. Right as we arrived at camp, another thunderstorm hit and we were directly in the middle of it. 1sec from lightning to thunder... I took our paddle board paddles out about 75' from the boat and staked them in the mud forming a large triangle. Then we took our chairs and sat in the middle hoping the lightning would would pick the paddles or the mast instead of us. Thankfully nothing was hit by lightning and after the storm subsided, we setup camp. Shared a beer with another boat captain and headed to bed.

When we woke up, we found that the mud flat near our camp was now underwater and the edge of our tent was touching the water. We started to break camp and didn't cook breakfast as I wanted to get on the water and hopefully make it to camp 2 by sunset. Unfortunately the wind was almost comically horrible. It did shift a few times throughout the day but I was never able to sail straight up the channel and would have to sail backwards when tacking to get to the windward side of the channel. I was hoping to make to the Marker 37 Marina that night but after furling the sail and pedaling into the wind and waves for hours, we ended up camping on a small sandy beach on an island with 2 broken docks and a couple shacks with damaged roofs which was about 5 miles short of the marina. When we arrived at camp I found that the SAE plug for my solar panel had corroded off so I couldn't charge my phone or run my nav lights anymore. I also did an inventory of our water and found that we had about 10 bottles left and maybe .5 gallons left in the 6 gal tank. I had way too much food but the meat was starting to go bad and all the beer was warm. I made the decision that we would sail the rest of the way to the Marker 37 Marina and call it quits after that. I saw that the other Hobies were also pulling out or had already pulled out.

In the morning, we quickly packed up and started pedaling the rest of the way to the Marina. I had a headwind or no wind the entire last 5 miles and we finally arrived around 11:00AM. Quickly hosed off and grabbed an Uber up to Magnolia Beach for $120 to pickup the car and trailer. Headed back to the Marina and started to unpack the boat and stuff everything into the Camaro / trailer. after 3.5 days of constant pedaling, I needed a break and decided to spend Friday at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Corpus Christi before starting the 15.5 hr drive home. Friday was a lot of fun and the drive home was uneventful cruising a constant 80MPH most of the way.

Great Trip, Great time with my daughter, but my expectation was far from reality. I wanted a 5 day sailing adventure. Instead I participated in a 3.5 day pedalthon with drag chutes slowing us down. I'm still sore a week later.

The biggest challenge with participating in the TX200 on a Hobie Island is weight management. People + water weigh more than 600lbs without the camping gear, tools, food, etc.

I put together an album of the trip. Enjoy!

John Fitzpatrick
2019 Tandem Island "Fintastic" with spinnaker

PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:51 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:30 am
Posts: 407
Location: Clearwater, Fl
Nice write up John !!! You guys sure picked a tough year to participate but you did great considering the impossibility of the situation. SUP's would be great for tooling around a lake with the family but probably not so much on something like the Tx200. Great Father / Daughter experience and something she'll remember all her life. Here's a picture of the "zipper" that you posted on the Tx200 fb page.



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