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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:36 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 12:32 am
Posts: 29
Location: New Jersey, USA
Yesterday was my second trip out with the Tandem Island; this time from a different launching point further south of the previous one but still in the same general area within the Raritan/Hudson Bay area @ Sandy Hook, NJ.

We were going to launch from the ocean side, but the fishing beach was heavily occupied (the only beach with a relatively close portage to a parking area). Instead of being rude and trying to launch where people had their lines out, we chose to seek a new launching point.
There really are not many within close proximity to parking. The best I could find was just south of the Coast Guard station on the Hook on the bay side. There is a parcel of land that shoots out into the bay that has 3 abandoned bunkers on it. There is a clearing right there and a place to pull off your vehicle for "dropping off only". On the south side there is a short sloping trail that leads right down to Sandy Hooks' "seneing beach", where at high tide, will put you right in the water. Low tide, we learned, puts you on the other side of a sizable sand bank.
Just adjacent there is a parking lot which was perfect for my needs, but otherwise might not be if you had a trailer.

After reading the wind reports and checking the weather the night before, we got there and were fully assembled by around noon to launch and went out with the high tide. We rode the wind north and east of Sandy Hook where we dropped sail to drift for fluke.
Then came the unpredicted thunderstorms. We used the initially shifting westward wind to haul back into the bay from the ocean, but by the time we got far enough into the bay, the eastern blowing storm as shifted winds in that direction, blowing us back toward the ocean, or toward the northern part of the hook.
After numerous attempts to tack into the wind and south to our launching point, we were forced to drop sail completely as swells in the bay picked up to 4 feet or more at times.
Thankfully the lightning went quite a bit south of our location, and under pedal power, we managed to ride just behind the storm at that point, but we were forced back to our launch point irregardless due to the threat of more storms on the horizon.

Amidst all of this I once again witnessed jib equipped vessels doing what I could not - tacking with a tightly trimmed mainsail and moving with relative ease .

All said, it was a rough and hurried pedal back, but fun none the less. However, had the storm not passed just south of us, the situation could've been slightly worse. If all else had failed, we could've turned into land and waited it out. There were no life threatening situations at any time, but it got me to thinking...
... had we not turned back to the bay when we had, instead of fighting from running aground on the bayside we would've been fighting our way from running adrift oceanside.
In only two times out now fighting tides and currents, I feel there have been times where sail, paddle, and pedal have been rendered all but completely useless.
Which has me questioning purchasing the torqueedo motor.
Not only would it extend range and allow me to go upwind to sail downwind repeatedly, but could also serve as a last ditch safety precaution for when conditions finally go far less than ideal.

All said, I'm having a blast with my TI. Just hoping for the chance to be on the right side of the wind sometime soon rather than having to fight it.

- Fireseid

Running a 2010 Tandem Island transported on a modified Yakima Rack & Roll.

Modifications: Torqueedo Hobie eVolve v2; Furling line rigged to cleat from rear crossbar w/Spinlock cam cleats; Custom ACK anchor trolley system;

Last edited by Fireseid on Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:49 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:49 am
Posts: 43
Location: Morristown, NJ
Launching from the Hook can wear you out at times.. Lot C has been a good choice for bay launch. Just have to lug the yak across the street, then through 50-100 feet sand - depending on tide.. I have been launching from Port Monmouth Park - an easy 50 feet and you are in the bay.. Fluking is good there too.. If you are near route 78 Lebanon, you may want to check out Round Valley - just back the car/truck down the kayak ramp and water is right there.. The reservoir is up to 160 feet deep in spots.. check the web. I have a 2011 Dune AI. Maybe will see you on the bay some time!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:31 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
Posts: 2717
Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Fireseid :
We also have a TI and have been caught out several times in deteriating conditions ( ie.. thunderstorms suddenly coming up, high winds, strong tides, or breakdowns). We sail mostly the west coast of Florida and Key West where weather comes up suddenly at times. Actually the first day we owned our TI (over a year now) my wife and I took it out in the afternoon and were having a great time, we went out big pass in Sarasota FL(known for it's swift current ~5mph), to make a long story short the wind died completely, and we had to peddle back in against the current, we are both long time Hobie kayakers with very strong Hobie legs so were never in any danger but 2 1/2 hours of hard pedaling later we got back in and pulled out of the water just before dark. The very next week I mounted an emergency motor on the boat just in case anything like that ever happened again (a free ticket from the wife for the motor purchase). I always carry 30-40 miles of extra fuel (about a gallon) If you look at the post (the ultimate tandem island, hydrofoils, spinnaker, jib, etc) viewtopic.php?f=69&t=33720 . That post describes how the motor mount was made (very simple) and what motor I used (2 hp 4 cycle gas). I have well over 700 miles on the boat to date and have never gone out to sea without the emergency motor since that first time. The motor weighs a little over 20 lbs and has got me out of some pretty bad situations. One example my best friend and I (who is an expert sailer) went out from Key West toward Cotrell key (due west of KW (we were maybe 5 miles out) where we ran aground and broke the rudder. The wind was coming from the east at 15 mph, we couldn't sail without the rudder so had to use the motor to get back. As a testiment to the Tandem island design where 99% of the time I can sail or peddle my way through anything, when in the ocean there is always that 1% of the time that either the currents or wind are too strong in the wrong direction, or in Florida sudden fierce lightning storms in the summer. BTW my TI will not sail up wind in winds over 25 mph (20 is even tough), and I have a well designed jib and a strengthened mast all tuned for sailing upwind (most small 'light' boats can't go upwind in strong winds). To date we have used around $10 worth of fuel. I'm pretty green and all and looked into electric drive (the Evolve wasn't out yet when I was looking), and found the market is pretty geared around fish trolling (the mirage drives are actually better at that). I came to the conclusion that 99% of the time I can handle anything the sea can throw at me because the TI is a great boat, the 1% when my life is in danger is the only time I would ever use a motor. Just last weekend my wife and I were in the cruise ship channel just off Mallory square in Key west where the north to south current is 6mph plus, a storm blew in 2 hours earlier then expected and the wind changed from due west to from the north west (and very strong), we were south east of KW unfortunately at the time. Our launch site was just north of mallory square at the end of Simonton street for those who know KW. With the motor on full throttle (normally gets us to 4-5 mph in calm conditions) and both of us pedaling as hard as we can we couldn't make headway against the strong headwind and current (tacking didn't work either). That was a 7 hour ordeal, we would have depleated an Evolve in around 20 minutes at full throttle and would have been swept out to sea ( I'd be learning spanish right now in Cuba). Even with the motor we barely caught the very tip of the island and had to beach on a small 100 ft wide beach (in ft Zackary park) with large rocks on both side with 3 ft breakers rolling over us as we came in with lightning all around us. Now I'm thinking the 2hp gas motor I have is too small and am looking for a 2 1/2 hp Honda to replace my present motor which I think is really more designed for fresh water lakes, not so much Ocean. The Honda weighs I think around 35 lbs but I think will be more reliable. We use our TI for Scuba diving down here (year round) and all the good coral reefs are 5-10 miles out so I feel I need just a little more than what I presently have to feel safe, we go out sometimes 3-4 times a week when down here. I've been watching and have not seen anyone using the Torqueedo on TI's in the Ocean(not even the Aussie's), I suspect it might be too small on a TI ( I think they say it's the equivelent of a 1hp gas). The Evolve is a great design but the TI is a very big boat (just my opinion), I would have one on our Revolution in a heartbeat if I could afford it.
I'm not trying to talk you into or out of anything, I'm just trying to share some of my experiences so others can make good decisions when it comes to ocean sailing/kayaking and be safe out there, and hope others help me in the same way, we are all always learning. Proper planning, knowing local conditions, and good backup plans and last resort planning (shore support and rescue planning)is important. It's not proper planning if when you get in trouble you start calling your friends at random who happen to have boats to come out and get you. I have heard (but never experienced) that if the coast guard has to come rescue you, that doesn't neccessarily include your boat as well. This is assuming you have a VHF radio to contact them in the first place I don't but I should have one, cell phones only work a short distance out, and good luck with that whistle getting anyones attention . I used to design and build racing hydroplanes (as a hobby) and swamped one in front of a really big barge on the Mississippi once, I whistled until I was blue in the face and he didn't stop (probably couldn't anyway) so I'm a little bitter about whistles now, it took me a year to build that damn boat. (all just stuff to think about for that 1 percent)
It would actually be nice if some of the real experts on this forum put together a checklist of must have equipment to take into open water. Sorry about the long response.

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