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Hobie 18's Still doing well
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Author:  Kaos [ Tue May 09, 2017 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Hobie 18's Still doing well

So we had our local big race. The Mug Race. We had 7 Hobie 18's in the race. The only boat design to have a class in the race of 80 plus boats. This is a distance race of about 45 miles up a river in North Florida. The river is fairly wide up to 3 miles in some areas. However is is a twisty river generally heading in a northerly direction.

The wind for this race started out nice 10 -11 then went big, 20 gusts to 30. The race had a scattering of all designs. An RC27, ARC22, Inter 18, F18s F 16s, Nacra 20 Hobie F20 Fox, Javelin 18HT and others 28 multihulls in total.

What we noticed in the high wind is that the older designed boats like the Hobie 18's did particularly well in those conditions versus the newer high tech boats. Mainly those boats in real wind are way over powered.

Of course come of the 18's had their issues as well.

However, they had problems because of failing to seal the hulls from leaks. The leeward hull in a race like this is almost completely under water for the many hours it takes to complete the journey.

Bottom line a Hobie 18 finish 6th boat for boat and 4th overall on corrected time. A tremendous statement for the boats great overall design.

Cheers to the Hobie 18.

Author:  TAMUmpower [ Fri May 12, 2017 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Those dang high tech boats and their modern advanced water tight hulls. *shakes fist*

It was a beast of a race for sure. I'm not sure which was more important, what boat you were on or how big your balls were. The 4th on corrected time was definitely a surprise but just to keep the H18 hype train going, only 6 more minutes were needed to place 2nd and the last hour was spent unirig and only the crew on the wire. If pushed until the finish in an alternate reality that's a H18 only being bested by a monster beam RC27. These old girls can still dance for sure, they just need a little extra resin in the dagger board wells from time to time :mrgreen:

Author:  randii [ Fri May 12, 2017 11:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Great finish, sounds like an adventure... would love to hear a fuller set of details if available, and I imagine I'm not alone!


Author:  TAMUmpower [ Fri May 12, 2017 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

I would say go over to thebeachcats forum but I realize people like to use as little effort as possible so I'll past my story book over here too.

The morning of the race I pretty much couldn't eat anything. I knew how bad the wind was going to be and the beam reach direction that was predicted I had my doubts was even possible to not pitchpole in. I had been in the same 30mph gusts a few times over the winter and it really was only controllable to be pinched into the wind so to say I had a little shake and leg twitch all morning was an understatement.

Besides that, literally the last time I had sailed was a month before in less wind than this and had messed my leg up pretty good in a capsize so choosing to go straight back out in the heavy stuff wasn't really on the top of my list.

But ideal situations we are never in and if there was any race I wanted to do well in all year it was this one after screwing up bad right at the end of it last year. Wetsuit, boots, pfd, splash jacket, baseball hat on backwards and it's game time. My strategy was to try and get a lead on whoever I could early while getting used to the conditions, push hard mid race and cool it down at the end and not go 100% since the conditions were going to worsen and fatigue would be setting in the second half on the race. I wanted to be focusing on as few things as possible when I was in the worst shape physically and not having to go 100% trying to run someone down at the end.

I get in the water about the same time as everyone but my crew drops the boom pin for the mainsail in the water... We look for it for a second but it's lost. Once we get a spare pin in and get moving we are pretty far behind everyone else who is already at the start. We end up being about 5min late. As I tack under the bridge I watch the whole field pull away as I sit wondering how I was late for the start yet again...(It's quickly becoming a tradition on my boat to blow starts in every way possible). Another H18 is behind us, late as well, so I started 6th.

Nothing else to do but press on. The first few miles the wind hadn't really filled in yet. 1 on the trap on occasion but mostly just sitting on the tramp on a close reach/upwind angle. My assumed main competition is the first boat in front of me a few hundred yards away so I'm not too bummed about being so late to the start. I'm catching them little by little so it's game on.

The first right turn at the power plant is coming up and then onto the short downwind leg. The rate I had been catching the fleet had been increasing the more the wind was filling in and I was now close enough to the 5th place boat that I was deciding on which side I wanted to try and pass. But the second we bore off onto a broad reach to make the turn we just blew by them as they cut the corner too close, pointed too low and lost all their apparent wind. My boat was totally setup for upwind given the forecast so I was expecting the downwind let to be pretty big jibe angles to be able to keep the apparent wind working and I was right. Man were we cooking back and forth across the river but a bit higher than I like to maintain speed. It's working well enough though and I realize after the first jibe that we have now passed 2 more H18s that were trying the deep game. Halfway through the downwind leg and the next boat up is consistently going just as fast as me. 3-4 times we jibe and cross each other with hardly any ground being made up. I figure I'll go to stage 2 and try heating up the boat a little more to get a hull out of the water but right as I do the real wind for the day kicks in and it's too much to keep the sterns down and maintain rudder control so I just cool it back down and start thinking about the left turn coming up that will take us back on a close reach.

This was the real turning moment for most of the fleet strategically. Me and my crew realized that the left shore was going to be blanketed by the tall trees on the next leg so I was shooting for the middle of the river at the turn. Credit to my crew for keeping me even wider than I wanted and spotting right were the wind picked back up. I basically had a wind sniffing blood hound on my boat all day feeding me info on exactly where the puffs and lulls were. It was like having a cheat sheet for a test. All I had to do was focus on boat speed, which I have a better knack for than strategy and spotting wind. Our final jibe we went very long so as to not try and cut the corner too close. The 3rd place boat we were competing with went shorter and met with the fleet behind us and cut the corner pretty tight about 50-100 yards behind us. As me and the 1st place boat moved into double trap weather at near full speed, the rest of the fleet, to both me and my crews surprise, hugged the windward shore and got voluntarily blanketed. Within 15min the gap from me and 1st to the rest of the fleet was probably a mile or more(or whatever distance it is when you have to squint to tell what color sail you are looking at). You see this a lot, where once in a group of boats, no one wants to break off and try something else and instead everyone holds position and just fights with each other instead of looking at the bigger picture and getting out of that dead zone. I watched them stay in a tight pack as we disappeared.

The wind angle turned out to not be a beam reach but an upwind tack so that was a total blessing. The other 18 was a SX with new sails and wings. A huge advantage in these conditions. Constantly pinching and blowing the main in these massive gusts made me jealous of those wings real quick. I was to leward of him but was moving faster and by the time he came down to cover me he had to duck behind and I assumed the lead. The waves weren't up yet so the name of the game was low drag and steady helm. It was hard work pacing a boat that had a leverage advantage on us but we somehow managed.

Holding port tack and slowly having to ease towards the right shoreline the other 18 was directly abeam but about 150 yards to leward with a point of land coming up I was pinching to avoid. I left myself enough room to clear it just, but the SX didnt and had to tack back across the river. It looked to be a slow tack because he pretty much met up with the rest of the fleet before getting back on port tack and we were left all alone out in front. From 5min late at the start and almost dead last to a big lead in about one hour. Fist bumps all around on my boat and we are feeling confident. I had been sailing with a pretty loose traveler through this period but once I saw them tack I told my crew to get some good footing because I was going to start pushing and not dumping so much power in the puffs. Time to see what this boat can do. Waves and wind continued to build and my hands started to feel the pain of the constant sheeting and deep trapping with just a bucket harness. All the ab workouts before the race are paying off but dang I need to make myself a full harness.

The big gusts and waves were blasting my crew back into me and making it hard to keep boat speed. Doing a serpentine pattern through the waves timed with some appropriate sheeting in and out seemed to work best and we were able to grow the gap to the others a bit to the midpoint bridge. Just before the mid point gate the SC22 passed us going the wrong way and was limping back to the start only under jib power. It was like a bad omen to what conditions were up ahead if Bill was choosing to head home. Through the gate, under the bridge and holy crap hold on to your butts!

Green Cove was a monster of a leg. I have adjustable trap lines but at max height they are still a little low for waves and I had forgot to shorten the wires before the race. Wave after wave started beating my crew up and the spray was making it hard to see. The only solution was to start flying a hull to get us up out of the waves but the varying speed from the waves made it impossible to keep us high enough. Port tack was still taking us near the shore and we had to eventually tack back across the river. That's when it really got bad. We had a horrible tack with me accidentally blowing both the traveller and the mainsheet and losing the line. Then our trap lines got tangled. Then we both almost slipped off the boat. Being crossways to the waves and not moving at full speed was a disaster. Every time my crew would go on the wire a wave would throw him back on the tramp. 4-5 times I watched him get catapulted back onto the boat. Finally I got the sails trimmed and me out on the wire and we endured 5-10min of the most brutal beat of my life.

This area turned out to be the boat graveyard of the race. We watched some boats head for shore to quit, some were fiddling with their rudders that had failed, some you could see doubling back to pickup crew in the water. A few big monos from a different club were out sailing and I guess trying to see if they could get their mast wet as they heeled so far over I could see the keel. All I could do was tell my crew to lock his feet and hold on tight. "Are you ok? You're shaking. Remember to stretch your neck. Almost far enough before we tack, we got this. Dude we are passing F16s and square tops! This is nuts... No way I'm quitting. I don't care what they are doing back there look straight ahead and focus up." The conversation flipped between excitement and humbled fear as another wave swept our footing away from us and we drop to our shins against the rail. Time to tack and get these waves off our back. At some point the dang Gilligans Island song got stuck in my head. "The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew the minnow would be lost...the minnow would be lost..." Yep that's me.

A gradual right hand bend ahead as we bear off to a close/beam reach and round some docks. This spot last year is where I lost the lead and was soon to be where I thought I'd lose this one as well. Out of no where a puff blasts us right as a wave clears the deck. I lose vision from the spray as I blow the main sheet. When I look up my crew is gone and the boat is well on its way over. I get my balance and superman off the hull landing behind the main right before the mast hits the water. I get ahold of the boat quickly and turn to see where my crew is. He's about 25 yards away swimming as hard as he can but not getting any closer. The boat is drifting too fast. I have to jump in and hold the dagger to slow the drift. He makes it and I'm confident about getting the boat over. I have righted it before with a 120lb girl so with my 150lb crew we should be fine right? Wrong. The waves are holding the boat at an angle that the wind is pushing down on the tramp and holding the boat over. The mast wont even come out of the water. Time to get ghetto. "Ok dude I'm going to go out and you jump on my back ok?" The mast comes up but we are too low on the line and my crew is in the water and we can't get the boat to fully come over. 4 times we have to come back in and rest. My arms are toast. 15min goes by and I'm starting to realize this might be it for the race. Another lead blown in the same spot. I'm expecting to see the fleet blow by me any second as we sit floating closer and closer to a group of busted down docks with jagged posts everywhere. Man I hope my main doesn't go into all that. Rested up and we try one more time. I get a little higher up on the line and we lean out, the mast comes up and just barely keeps coming. I think it's going to go....yep its definitely going. I let go of the line to try and grab the dolphin striker but am a little late and the hull smacks me on the head and pushes me under water... true professionals here...

Back on the boat, gear stowed away, we jibe all the way around instead of tacking near the docks and are off. Oh yea baby, daddy is still in the race! To our amazement we look behind us and can't see a single H18 behind or ahead of us. Holy cow we are still in the lead! "Dang, I wonder how bad everyone else got hit back at Green Cove if we can't even see them" I decide that we are done pushing and furl the jib and only go 1 on the trap. We are not risking going over again and losing the win. And that was it, the last hour on a reach, unirig, half power with me just chilling on the hull. There were 2 square top boats behind me, one a H21 I believe, slowly making ground but I could see the finish and could tell we would be ok without having to speed up to cover them. I didn't think of anything else the last mile or 2. Just eagle eyed on the finish and focused. Half expecting to somehow capsize 2 feet before the finish. The chop was still pretty bad and the wind was still gusting. Little by little the line gets closer. And then we cross. We realize we lost our number plaque when we capsized so just yell it over to the race control boat and head into the club.

6th boat to finish and 4th on corrected time. Crossed the line about 20min ahead of the next H18. I'm not one to look at corrected time too much but when I realize that I was 6min from being 2nd overall I laughed and thought of that last hour we spent under just a main sail and one on the wire. I assume other people might have let off at the end too but for sure if I would have known the times were that close I could have pulled another 10-15min out by pushing to the end. The old yellow '85 H18 still has plenty of fight left in her.

My boat survived 100%. The rest of the fleet not so much. The damage toll for our fleet from the Green Cove area from capsizes/wind/waves consisted of:
-Exploded rudder pins(plastic/fiberglass)
-Assumed cracked dagger board wells causing 2 take on water and DNF
-battens sticking through the front of the sail on more than one boat
-broken diamond wire bolt
-Unknown rudder failure on another boat
-Credit to my friend Emmitte who finished 3rd sailing solo in my other boat after capsizing 3 times, losing 1 daggerboard entirely, breaking the top 4 battens, breaking all 4 trap wire height stoppers and being unable to trapeze for almost the whole race and losing my water righting bag.

Author:  randii [ Fri May 12, 2017 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Thanks -- I don't always check there, this pesky day job slows my web-sailing. :p
Great summary and an exhilarating read! Fun to read your game plan AND the actual events.
With a chase chopper and off-boast strategist, you could have flogged it harder at the end -- that said, mad respect for having a game plan and sticking to it to the finish.


Author:  OlderBowman [ Sat May 13, 2017 4:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

hell of a story. Congrats!

Author:  PaxRiverMD_Hobie18 [ Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Ha I almost sunk my SolCat after a pitch pole like the above picture.... wish I had more time to sail, selling my H18 on smd.Craigslist

Author:  Kaos [ Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Had a great turnImage out of 18's again this year, not so much for the wind. How about this start line?

Author:  srm [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Sounds like you guys would be a good candidate to host a future East Coast NAC.... :D


Author:  John Shepard [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Anyone want to sell a well equipped/excellent condition H18 Mag / SX ??


Author:  gogatrz [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Great recollection of the Mug Race MAtt!

I last raced in the Mug race in 1981 on my 18 under similar conditions, steady 20 knots with higher gusts. The fleet started on a starboard tack and two of us went to port, screaming across the starting line with double trap! After passing him and taking the lead after 6 miles, he took my win away 50 yards from the finish. :shock: I had a big piece of humble pie after I congratulated him! :roll: It's all good in the end and a great day of sailing.

Another great annual race was the Jax to St Augustine on the ocean...Stayed in shore and got lifted all afternoon with
off shore breezes! The fleet all went off shore and beat them by over 20 minutes two years in a row- whooo who!
Go Gators!

Author:  Kaos [ Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Hi Gator,

Time for you to get back into a Hobie 18. I got my first one in 1982. I remember the Jax to St Augustine Beach race. Great fun. Remembering the good old days is why we are trying to bring them back. It has indeed been great fun sailing the Hobie cats again.

Author:  gogatrz [ Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

I did... Since moving on the Lake Lanier (metro Atlanta), I got a Sunfish. Couldn't stand how slow it was when compared to flying a hull. So I just picked up my 4th 18' (since 1980). I bought a '86 red line, with yellow hulls. First thing after reading the threads on here was to take it apart and add the front X bar kit, then reinforce inside stress points with carbon fiber cloth and epoxy resin through the port holes.

I'm ready to go flying but instead watching it snow outside! :lol: Not quite the same as living ocean front on Jax Bch back in the day when literally 'blasting through' waves to get out beyond the shore breaks during October swells! I may be over 60 but not over the thrill of 20 knot winds!
Blown Away IV
Go Gators

Author:  wscotterwin [ Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

A great read guys! Love seeing these boats in the water. For the record, I have owned over 30 H18s. (illness really) :-)

If anyone is interested we will have 20 or so sailing in Ca for the NACs in August. Some folks can still make these boats dance.

Author:  Kaos [ Mon May 07, 2018 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie 18's Still doing well

Well it has been a year. We had our annual Mug Race in North Florida. Once again the Hobie 18's were the only boat design to make a class. There were a total of 87 boats in the race. We had a class of 9 Hobie 18's this year, with 2- 18's sitting out the race at the Club. Now we also had about every other type of catamaran in the race. F18, Nacra 6.0 the Nacra Carbon 20's, Some old Prindles, Inter 18's and even a Hobie 16. What was very amusing was to hear comments from some of the newer high tech boats, saying "they just couldn't get away from the Hobie 18's."
We are slowly building momentum and folks are getting better and better at sailing them. Matt did a repeat and won the 9 boat Hobie 18 Class at this year's Mug Race. Way to go Matt.

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