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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:34 pm
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I recently learned to sail, and I am looking for a Hobie 18 for day sailing and light racing.   

I found a 1991 H18 SX which appears to be in good condition and has a bunch of upgraded aftermarket parts that seem to indicate that the owner cared about it.   I haven't seen it in person yet, but I intend to thoroughly check for soft spots in the hull, cracks in the metal components, or cracks in the fiberglass to metal attachment points.  I also plan to replace the standing rigging.

I intend to eventually take my kids out on this boat.   I imagine a structural failure could be quite dangerous.   Does anyone have any additional thoughts on how to make sure the boat is structurally sound?

I am buying an H18 because that is what they race at the club I am joining (they said the SX is OK, its informal).   I'm actually not very price sensitive (I'd be fine spending $25K on a cat I could be really confident in structurally), but they don't race newer cats at this club (except carbon-fiber a-cats, which aren't family friendly). Its H18 or else I'm in a class of one by myself.

Any thoughts on ensuring safety are appreciated, or any warnings that a 30-year-old cat may be intrinsically sketchy and I should rethink my plan.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:58 am 
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I posted this last night, and by the time it was approved I was feeling a bit better:

1. Probably the highest risk is the main sheet or traveller sheet snapping, so I will just replace those (maybe all the sheets, it looks like Murrays sells a kit). I can also replace main block if it looks worn. I suppose an accidental jib is a vastly higher probability than a failure of these parts if well maintained.

2. I was picturing the boom detaching from the mast under load and hitting someone, but then remembered that the sail seats in the mast, so the boom shouldn't have much pressure on the mast-end, I think. Plus maybe the downhaul would tend to hold it in place.

3. It appears Hobie sells an 18SX "Mast Assembly" for about $2K, so I think I can actually replace the mast if I want. It seems like with new standing rigging, it should already have good support.

4. In my mind, that leaves structural failure of the hulls, or the hull to metal attachment points (cross bars). I am not sure what the forces/risk would be there. It does seem like it might crack or show some warning signs before failing.

I also intend to put everyone in helmets, which should increase safety somewhat.

Anyway, I would still appreciate any thoughts on how to make a 30-year old boat as safe as possible. If there are other components people would recommend replacing, or ways to check the hulls more thoroughly, that would be helpful.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
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Location: Jersey Shore
Sounds like you are over-thinking this.

Catastrophic failure of any cat is possible, but highly unlikely as long as you inspect the boat and maintain it. 1991 is probably one of the most robust years for the 18. The hulls were beefed up after some failures in the mid-1980’s and also to account for the wings and the larger SX rig. If the hulls have no soft spots, they should be fine. You can also check up under the hull lips where the crossbars connect - haiine cracks in the gelcoat are normal. Any significant cracks would be cause for concern. I doubt you will find any problems on a 1991 though.

The front crossbars have a tendency to crack at the mast base attachment after many years and if the dolphin striker isn’t properly tightened or if the mast step rivets loosen up. It is easy to inspect and used replacements can be found if needed.

Also its generally a good idea to replace any standing rigging (shrouds, etc) including the shroud anchor pins if you don’t know how old they are.

Beyond that, unless they are visibly damaged, the points on the mainsheet snapping, the boom falling off, or needing to replace the mast are not realistic.

sm


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:01 am 
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 3:15 pm
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Location: Buffalo, NY
srm wrote:
Sounds like you are over-thinking this.


I agree. I bought my boat from '78 and sailed it for the first year with all the original rigging (sailed on fresh water), lines that were 25 years old and never saw even a hint of failure. Far more likely that if something "fails," it'll be a shackle or bolt that wasn't secured properly, or wasn't assembled properly. A 1991 SX with wings that doesn't have any soft spots is pretty much solid. Very few things you need to worry about structurally, these boats were well overbuilt, and the "weakest" component or component most prone to failure is the hulls, by means of soft spots or holes from hitting something.

Standing rigging is worth replacing for peace of mind, along with shroud anchor pins. Running rigging (ropes) are worth replacing as the wear out, but they aren't going to suddenly snap on you. If you don't have soft spots and you have new standing rigging, you're not going to see a catastrophic failure. You might break a part here and there, but that's sailing.

The other common areas of concern are the hull lips (check for separation), or the forward crossbar (check for loose mast step), but they're not as likely on a '91 boat, and are easily fixable.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:02 pm
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Location: Rockford, IL
The main thing I'd be concerned about is the standing rigging. I bought a used H17 that the seller represented as non leaking hulls and new standing rigging. One of the hulls leaked gallons, crack in the centerboard trunk that I fixed. About the third time out, the windward shroud broke and the mast came down, in moderate winds. So, new standing rigging.

I've never even heard of a mainsheet or traveler sheet breaking. And if it did, you'd just depower.

Make sure shackles are tight. Wire tieing is a good idea. I had a jib shackle pin come mostly out ( I swear I cranked down on it after replacing the jib!) but we noticed it seconds before it fell out and the mast would have come down.

I had a rivet blow out in my tiller last year, so one rudder was loose. I raised it and sailed back in on one rudder. No problem, built in redundancy!

My 2012 Getaway has been babied (mostly) but I just bought new standing rigging for it. Figure I can afford to spend $260 every 9 years to put my mind at ease. And I will be safety wiring every shackle!

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Yet another Bob!
"Firefly" - 2012 Hobie Getaway with wings and spinnaker
"Sparky" - 1978 Sunfish (OK, it's not a Hobie, but it's a fun little craft)
Too many canoes and kayaks


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