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Part 2, Art And Science Of Sailing




Some of you may have noticed the profile of a Hobie Cat (no -- not her profile!). It's banana shape with the bow having the leading edge sharp and narrow. Hobie Alter was a pioneer of surf boards in the mid 50's and transferred his innovated design to his new catamarans with similar rocker profile of a surfboard. Using light weight materials but built like a tank, the Hobie Cats were made to play out in the surf line.

When my fellow friend and skipper dared me to come out and play with him, I took his offer but didn't realize how fearful I was of the 3-5 foot breakers coming in fast and hard. This was in Cardiff by the Sea, CA right behind the restaurant called the Chart House. He quickly noticed my apprehension about going out solo and gave me a couple shots of tequila to calm me down. It was a life saver, a form of anti-freeze for my blood during that cold and breezy day at the beach. After a couple failed launches into the oncoming "soup" of fast moving water, I finally timed it just right and sailed out to experience the "ride of my life".

Good thing there was a strong side-shore winds (perpendicular to the waves) blowing steady at 12+ knots. It was ideal for us to power through the rising face of the oncoming waves. Nevertheless, I was already pissing down my wet shorts as I followed my crazy friend further out. Actually we were both crazy, the only fools out there trying not to piss off the local surfers by slicing their heads off. At four boat lengths in front of me, he executed a perfect jibe and caught an awesome wave, flying on one hull and hanging out on the trapeze wire -- an ultimate Nirvana of pure adrenaline rush. Meanwhile, my timing was still awkward and had to go further out in between the waves. By the time I made my jibe to catch a wave, he already beached his Hobie and signaled me in to join him. Rather than beaching, I performed a quick jibe and went out again. The hot babe on the beach was watching (OK, now you can check out her profile...he, he), probably waiting for me to flip the boat over in the surf line.

This time going out, I was "dialed" in. I felt more confident and trimmed my mainsail tighter, which gave me extra momentum to accelerate up this face of a five footer. At the top of the crest is when I felt pure weightlessness. I looked back to see the only part in the water was the tip of the leeward rudder blade. The rest of my Hobie was completely airborne. My heart was in my stomach, beating a million times a minute. It was sheer terror and also addictive at the same time. Go figure....! Later that day, my friend shook my hand and simply said, welcome to the club of hardcore sailing.......as we downed more shots of tequila with our two Hobie's sitting side by side, beckoning us to abuse them again.

Forget that! The winds died anyway and the hot babes were still smokin' hot over a tequila sunset. Talk about pissing down my shorts again.,,,,,,,,

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Sounds amazing. It's still my dream to get into some kind of watersports one day, when I have time.

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Hey Mike,

It will only take just one afternoon of sailing lessons (and a few cold ones) to get you solo certified. The last test is to have you flip the boat over on purpose and see if you could recover, while I'm watching and laughing through my binoculars.....he, he.

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Hey Wandibushman,

It was a Hobie 16 playing out in the surf line. The first thing I do after completing a turn is to sheet in the jib sail tight and leave it there. The main sheet and tiller are the only ones to trim after that. The only problem sailing solo on a Hobie 16 is you need extra weight (another body) to right the boat back up after you dump it. Usually someone will come by to assist by lifting the tip of the mast out of the water. The mast is usually air tight so it won't go completely "turtle".


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