Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Distraction....The Hobie

It was the Summer of 2003, Lynn and I visited our time share in Mexico with just the two of us this time. I noticed a few Hobie cat's out sailing and I was determined to rent one and take Lynn on a little 1-2 hour cruise. After all we had two years of sailing our C250 under the belt and I had rented a Hobie 18 on Offett's Bayou years ago and took my son Graeme on a bay sail. I got a little to adventurous on that trip and turtled the Beach cat, but a few boaters came over and helped us right the craft and away we went, just a little slower. We walked north down the beach looking for the right Hobie to rent, you know one that was not held together with bailing wire and duct tape. A couple of miles down the beach we found a few Hobie's on the beach and they looked safe enough to sail. It was at one of those huge all inclusive beach hotels and there were hundreds of overly tanned bodies on the beach and lots of people enjoying the Caribbean waters. We selected our Hobie 16 and the non-English speaking rental guy helped us drag the Cat to the water. After donning life jackets and with the help of our guy, who warned the swimmers to open up a path so we could sail out into open water, we were moving right along the clear blue water. I did not want to sail to fast and risk turtling the Hobie with Lynn aboard so we just sailed just beyond the swimmers back and forth up and down the beach. The one thing I could not do though was to bring the Hobie about..I just could not figure out what I was doing wrong, the bow would just not go through the worry though, we just jibed each time and after about an hour of sliding effortlessly across the blue water I figured to call it a success and head back in. I reminded Lynn who was controlling the jib sheets that as we approached the beach, we would let the sheets go to depower the sails and just slowly glide in to a stop on the beach. The rental guy walked out into the water and with a whistle he motioned for the swimmers to part so we would have a way back into the beach, I think the swimmers were a little intoxicated as they barely gave us enough room to slip in...I asked Lynn to let the sheet go and I reached back to raise the rudders so they would not dig into the sand as we approached the beach, I heard Lynn say " You Better Watch Out!" and just as I turned to see what was the matter the Hobie took off like a jet, and the little Mexican dude who had waded out in the water to help us come in threw off his hat as he ran as fast as he could away from us up the beach....We shot up a 2-3' section where the beach had eroded from the wave action, we were sailing on sand. We came to a stop just 1" from another Hobie parked up on the sand. The rental dude walked back over and Lynn said "OK?"...he replied "OK".... We then went to a beach bar about 50' away and proceeded to drink 3 beers each. I asked Lynn what happened, she said that she saw a guy to close to us in the water as we were coming in, she felt the boat slip as I pulled up the rudders and she thought I would need more power to avoid the swimmer so she sheeted in the jib sheet. All is well that ends well, after all no one had to drag the craft up on to the beach, we just flew up there! As soon as I got back to Austin I began hunting for a used Hobie 16 to buy. I found one that had solid hulls but needed some parts, so along with the Sailboat shop in Austin and Ebay, I put it all together. (# 71607 in the second Pic is us at Hobie Point on Canyon Lake) We took her to Canyon Lake 4 times and my friend Bob Stalbird, who had a Prindle 18, helped us learn how to sail Beach Cats. I really enjoyed the thrill of this boat, you can sail easy or you can sail nuts...tons of fun. We took it a couple of times out to Windy Point at Lake Travis and had adventures there as well but as it came near the time to sail our second boat "Hey You" I realized it was just a distraction from the real goal of buying a cruising boat. I listed the boat for sale on Craig's List and when they came to take the boat away I felt like I was selling off the little boy inside myself.

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