Most who are familiar with the Hobie 14 know that its optimum weight is pretty low, around 155lbs. So by having two people on a 14 one can easily call it overloaded. Asya and I have proved it. When we are both on the same side of the boat in calm wind the hull we are over has a tendency to submarine. In the past we have fixed the submarine problem by staying on opposite sides of the boat and keeping the boat level that way. That all changed on Mashpee Pond a couple weeks ago. We finally got enough wind in the sails that we both needed to be on the windward hull in order to keep the boat level. Further more we needed to shift our weight backward to keep the leeward bow out of the water and thus prevent a pitch-poll. A very cool feeling as we finally felt like we were actually sailing our little boat, rather than coxing along an overloaded dingy.
By and large the 14 is intended to be sailed solo, at the very least the size of the trampoline and single trapeze suggest that it is a one person boat. But our experience shows that having two people on a 14 isn’t a deal breaker. Certainly no hobie cat speed records will be broken with a crew on board, but the boat is plenty fast enough to have fun. And who wouldn’t want someone on board to share the fun with? That being said, sailing a 14 with two people definitely requires coordination and care to make sure the boat can actually handle the extra weight. Personally I wouldn’t be comfortable carrying to much more weight on Tiger than we already do. So, if you are inclined to have a crew on your Hobie 14 please do so carefully and be sure you know how your boat will handle the extra weight.
Up until now Tiger has been a small boat on a small pond. But now she is a small, but fast boat, on a larger pond. We launched onto a lake substantially larger than the pond that we had be sailing on, and in doing so opened up a completely different world. Compared to many lakes Mashpee Pond doesn’t warrant any special attention, but as far as lakes on Cape Cod go, they don’t get much larger. Either way, there is more than enough room to stay on a single tack for more than a couple minutes and have relatively consistent wind doing so. I am sure that it is due to these factors that Asya and I finally started to understand what our little Hobie was capable of.
The day of sailing was shared with some friends of ours who brought along their own sailboat. Haveing another friendly sailboat around was really nice, both for the company as well as for a point of comparison. We had never before had another boat with which to gauge our speed, and now that we did we realized that Hobie cats are FAST!! To a degree we had known that before, though some points of sail are definitely faster than others. Running downwind she isn’t quick at all. Our friends in their monohull were able to pull away from us while running downwind, which they were unable to do on any other point of sail. While on a broad reach or close reach Tiger absolutely flies. Seeing this boat perform in these new conditions definitely feels like having a completely different boat.
There are many ways to describe the first sail of a season, exciting, wonderful, relaxing, and maybe even relieving. Personally, I would probably go with relieving. After all the work that went into removing the old and peeling paint from the hulls and the various problems that cropped up during that process, I was relieved to finally get the boat on the water. That being said relaxation and excitement followed very quickly. I am sure most people who mess about in boats understand the relaxation that comes from being on the water. Not to mention the fact that there aren’t cell phones and emails to worry about, it is simply you, the boat and the wind.
For the first “sea trial” of the year we launched on a small pond, just to stay out of into too much trouble. And, I’ll admit, this is one of only a handful of boat launches my car can handle. Anyways, because the pond is small it gets rather light but consistent wind, which was nice while Asya and I reacquainted ourselves with “Tiger” (that was the name under the paint) and communicating with each other. As is typical with catamarans, we blew plenty of tacks in the beginning but eventually got slightly better at it. My excuse was that we didn’t have any tell-tails to indicate the wind direction, but the reality is closer to simple sloppy sailing. We weren’t on the water very long since there are only so many times you can go around in circles; but even so, our port hull managed to take on a concerning amount of water. It is probably time to replace the port drain plug. But, despite the hull taking on water we know that Tiger works and we are both eager to get back out on the water, but this time we’re looking to graduate to a larger body of water.