Hobie Forums

New to sailing cats
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Author:  Baraboo Bob [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  New to sailing cats

First an introduction-I am 63 years old and retired. I live near Baraboo Wisconsin which means the lakes are frozen over for about 3 or 4 months out of the year. I ride bicycles, motorcycles, hike, hunt, camp, cross country ski, and just about anything outdoors.

I recently bought a Hobie 16. 1980 boat in very good condition with a good trailer. I am imtiditated beyond belief by this boat. I have been watching videos on you tube and I hope that I have not gotten in way over my head. I have already learned a lot from this forum and will probably ask some really stupid questions. One video that I am sure to use frequently is the one that shows how to get the boat up after capsizing.

I have sailed a Sunfish in the past and enjoyed going out in all types of weather. I was frequently informed that I was crazy for being out in such a little boat in stiff winds. As long as I stayed in the bays and out of the heavy waves I had a blast. Getting the Fish out in the waves was another matter, even when I sit way in the back of the boat the boat would plow into waves and almost come to a stop.

Are there any members here from central Wisconsin? I hope to get out on the water frequently on Devils Lake, Lake Monona, Lake Mondota, and eventually Lake Winnebago when I get more proficient.

Author:  I.P. Freely [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

Hey, welcome to the Hobie way of life! If you have the right attitude, you are going to love it. Don't be intimidated. What's the worst that can happen on an inland lake? (Wearing your pfd). The thing is to have fun and just keep your wits about you.

I'll be 60 this year and solo my H16 all the time. I trailered it up to Necedah and sailed on Lake Pettenwell? for a weekend once. The biggest concern I had was the motor boats (and that one spot where electrical wires go over the middle of the lake - they were plenty high to get under but watch out for that kind of thing when stepping the mast).

My only advice is to take it at your pace. We all learn by doing, not by being told what to do. There are a million things people can tell you about it, but it all becomes muscle memory as you get comfortable. Don't go out and try to duplicate all the adrenaline videos right away. I exercise discretion on the conditions I am willing to tackle. You can depower the boat and keep things reasonable unless the wind gets well past 15. Then try little things and expand the envelope bit by bit. Learn the techniques to dump sail and turn upwind to stay upright when gusts hit. You probably already know that. It's not nearly as tippy as a sunfish. You'll get the hang real quick.

If you want quick and intensive learning, the best way to learn is racing. Maybe you can crew for somebody at one of these events:

If you are down in the Chicago area when the water warms up you can pm me

Author:  TiberiusGV [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

Great to hear about another hobie on the great lakes. I recommend you reach out to CRAW. They are a great group and I have had the pleasure of working with them a lot even tho I'm across the lake in Michigan and part of CRAM. Below is a link to our combined season schedules. Hopefully you can make it to our joint event in New Buffalo, MI. I can guarantee there will be plenty of Hobie 16s there.

Send me a PM and I can make sure to get you in touch with the CRAW commodor.


Author:  Baraboo Bob [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

If a H16 is more stable than a Sunfish I will be in hog heaven. I frequently had the Fish out in some pretty strong winds and quickly learned to dump the sail or go swimming.
I can see where power boats could be a royal pain because some of them think sailboats are targets to be used for torpedo runs. I had a run in with a "gentleman" in a high power boat trying to turn me over with his wake as he repeatedly charged at me and turn within 50 feet to throw some really big waves my way. Luckily a DNR warden saw it and I told him where the guys truck and trailer were located. They put wheel boots on the truck and trailer and got him when he came off of the lake.

Jet skis also seem to think that my Sunfish was a moving bouy to use for racing. I got tired of that quickly.

I have been reading about CRAW and I believe that I will be going to some of their events to watch.

Thanks in advance for allowing me to hang out here.


Author:  HobieMarty [ Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

Welcome!!! A Sunfish is a really fun boat, you will be amazed at the speed of your H16 though. Check out Matt Miller's instructional video, it's on here and on you tube as well. It helped me a lot when getting back into cat sailing after about a 20 year hiatus. Just take it slow and learn about your boat, go out when it's not blowing hard and just get used to its behavior, you will have a blast even at slower speeds. Please don't think you have to jump out there and start flying hulls, the Hobie 16 is still a lot of fun in light winds. The name of the game is to have fun with your boat, that's what it's all about!!!

Author:  Baraboo Bob [ Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

Thanks for the encouragement. I had a great time with the Sunfish and learned a lot about sailing. One of the first things I learned was if things get out of hand-let go of the rope. The simple knowledge kept me right side many times.
I plan on taking my time learning about the cat. I hope that I don't overly confident and wreck something.

Author:  dorienc [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New to sailing cats

Hi, Bob!
Another Bob here, from Rockford. I'm 64 and retired. We (children, friends and I) have been going your way to climb at Devil's Lake for a lot of years. I took my Hobie 17 there a couple of times, but not sure I ever actually sailed on the Lake.

I've got a Hobie Getaway, and I go up to Lake Mendota a lot all summer long. Do you know about the Hoofers Sailing Club on Mendota? Great bunch of people, lots of boats, and a cheaper way to learn to sail and continue to sail does not exist. They have 12' dinghies, Lasers, scows, 18' sloops, J boats and some bigger keelboats. Under $400 yearly all in for unlimited instruction and sailing!

If you want to meet up and do some sailing together, I'm happy to bring my boat to Devil's Lake, or meet you at the Madison Lakes. More fun to have more people and boats out! If you want, I can go out with you and help you get comfortable sailing and righting it.

Oh, don't worry about wreaking something. They are tough boats. I've made about every mistake you can make, and on these little inland lakes, it's hard to get into serious trouble.

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