Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preparing for Winter

I've made my last sail if the season, unless I decide to get hardcore and buy a dry suit. This means that It's time to wrap up the Hobie and tuck it in for a long winters nap.

I'm not lucky enough to have a huge garage to store the Getaway in, so I'm relegated to wrapping it up with a tarp. Last winter I used two small tarps to cover the trampolines, but I was disappointed in the spring to find that the hooks on the bungees had left nasty black marks in the hulls. Removing these black marks required furious scrubbing and a few Magic Erasers.

After looking online at tarp solutions I decided to make my own custom fitted tarp. I started with a 11 ft.4 in by 18 ft. 6 in. tarp from Harbor Freight. This tarp is just about the right width to cover the width of the boat, but much too long.  I got a cheap grommet kit  from amazon and perfected the art of grommeting. The end result is a custom fitted Hobie Getaway tarp that cost all of $30 and took about an hour to make.  I expect it to last about a year.

I made a few cuts in the tarp to make it fit perfectly.

I made some cuts to accommodate for the wings.

I added grommets along the edges that I cut and in the corners. If you use this punch style grommet device be sure to hammer on to solid concrete. Hammering on wood causes the grommet to bounce just enough that the waster doesn't seat correctly. I wasted several grommets learning this.

I also added grommets in the center of each trampoline for drains.

I use the bungees with a nob on the end, no hook to scratch the hull.

I wrapped up the comp tip and wing seats to protect them from UV.

I also added new grommets cut corners to secure the tarp to the trailer. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sailing Bear Lake

Bear Lake is one of my favorite places to sail in Utah during the late summer. The water is clear, warm and blue. There is always a nice breeze in the afternoon the sandy beach is clean. The trip to Bear lake from our house in Cedar Hills can take a few hours so we normally camp for a few nights.

Our favorite camping near bear lake is actually at Beaver Mountain ski resort. They have 5 excellent tent sites up in the pines that are almost never taken. They also offer water, clean bathrooms and showers.

We also enjoy hiking along the ski lift finding treasures long lost by skiers past.

We normally launch our Hobie Getaway at Rendezvous Beach on the south end of Bear Lake. This is a great sandy beach with plenty of parking. The boat ramp is often closed due to low water, but they let beach cats trailers drive down to the beach to drop off boats.  It's actually quite nice to have the boat ramp closed, and avoid fighting for a spot in line with 20 ski boats. Here is a video of our trip last week. The water was a warm 71 degrees and the breeze was nice.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Making Sailing Videos

My last post of my favorite videos made me want to make my own video. Last Saturday my kids and I went out sailing and took my new Nikon AW110 along to make a video. I bought the Nikon AW110 from Costco for about $280.

I've been looking for a camera that was waterproof and took good video and good photos for some time.  I've been through a few water proof cameras and they either take horrible stills or didn't last too long. The Nikon AW110 is rugged, water prof, shockproof and freeze proof. It has a built in GPS and wifi connection and it takes great video and photos. I've very happy with it.

I'm not the greatest film maker and holding a camera steady while sailing and filming is a bit tricky, but here is the result.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ultimate Sailing Adventure

For some time I've considered sailing my Hobie from Long Beach to Catalina or from Huneme to the Channel Island, inspired by various you tube videos and stories from the internet. And although I'm a fairly experienced beach cat sailor, I've never sailed in the ocean, let alone the open sea. I can't imagine that my experience to date counts for much in the open sea.  When this video was posted on the hobie website I was inspired by the their adventure and I thought I would gather all of the epic beach cat adventure stories I could find into one post.

Lets start with two Hobie Tandem Islands and an Old Hobie 16 making their way to the Channel Islands. This is a beautiful video with some great music, thanks Wilderness collective.

Here is another great video of a group of Tandem Islands sailing to Catalina, Camping and doing some spear Fishing. If you've never been spear fishing you must try it, it's epic fun

These guys make the crossing from a campground near Cabrillo to Two Harbors, on Catalina Island in about an hour and a half. This is very fast for a crossing of about 30 miles, the video shows them flying through the ocean on a Hobie 18 with wings. As they leave you can see the Hobie Getaway on Beach.

Here is a great Journal entry about a trip to the Channel Islands (Santa Cruz Island) made in a Beach Cat.

This guys sailed his Hobie 14 across Florida Bay from Flamingo to Long Key. The video is a little dry, but he gives good info and you can see how he loaded up his tiny boat.

This last journal is my favorite and tells the story of two brothers sailing their Hobie down the coast of Baja Mexico. Epic Journey on a Hobie that is well written and informative.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Rockport State Park Camping

Friday afternoon we drove back up to Rockport to camp. We heard that there was a regatta that would be held there on saturday so we thought it might be fun to go camp friday night and then go out on the boat and watch watch some sailing races on Saturday.

We arrived at Rockport about 6pm on Friday night. All of the campsites near the lake where full. We ended up driving to the other side of the dam and finding the last camp site at the the Old Church camp ground. This is a nice flat camp ground below the dam. The state park restored an old church building and moved it to this site some time ago. You cant go into the church, but it is located on a grassy knoll next some mature shade trees. It would make for a great place for a family reunion.
2012 Hobie Getaway

We packed up camp early on Saturday and headed over to the lake.  The race turned out to be 3 catamarans, but the lake was full of sail boats. At one point there were over 10 sail boats on the lake, including two Hobie Getaways, a few Hobie 16's, a Hobie Wildcat, a Prindle, several Nacra's, a Lazer and some Keelboats.

Wind was consistently  fresh and gusty blowing from the west. Water temperature in the middle of the lake was about 70 degrees and the air temperature was about 90.  We picnicked just left of the boat ramp in a nice sandy beach. My brother in laws family joined us at the lake and at one point we had more then six kids out one the boat, which made me glad I decided to buy a Hobie Getaway.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rockport State Park Sailing Report

We intended on sailing at Deer Creek again this Saturday, but we where disappointing to find the parking lot full at the day use area. Instead we continued up the road a bit to Rockport State Park. You can read more about Rockport in one of my previous blogs.

This was our first sailing trip to Rockport but it will not be our last. The weather was overcast and cool. with wind blowing consistently at 10 to 15 mph from the damn on the north side of the lake. The water temperature was warm, but with no sun and consistent breeze it made for a cool trip.

We spent most of the day making quick reaches, zipping across widest part of the lake, which is about a mile when the reservoir is full.

We also had a good time rafting down the little stream at the south end of the lake.  Later in the afternoon, the storm blew in and rain started to fall. The rain blew over quickly and a nice calm sky to pack up under.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tacking the Hobie Getaway

I've read a few posts and forums threads about tacking a Hobie Getaway. This can be quite tricky for those new to sailing small beach cats. For some time on my 14 I avoided tacking altogether. However, the more I sailed with kids the more I preferred the less violent and more graceful maneuver of tacking.

From what I gather there are two methods two tacking that folks prefer, the key difference being whether or not one makes use of the jib in pulling the boat through the wind. This maneuver is called backwinding, and is my preferred method of tacking on the Getaway, simply because I have more success with it.

Here are some basic tacking steps.

1) Gather boat speed. I do this by bearing off the wind a bit to a reach.

2) Turn in to the wind and sheet in your main sail more and more until you are just about to go into irons. Make a nice smooth and wide. Avoid a sharp tiller movement as this will slow your boat speed. Keep your weight on the boat balanced between, leeward,windward and fore, aft.

3) Un-cleat your main sail just as you approach the close hauled point. If you keep your mail sail cleated, it will act like a whether vain and turn your boat back into the wind.

4) After you have passed through the wind, switch your jib and sheet in your main.  Leaving your jib on the lea ward tack until after you pass through the wind, allows the jib to catch the wind on the opposite tack sooner, pushing the bow of the boat across the tack.