Like all Hobie kayaks, the Adventure and Tandem Island sailing kayaks are hardy boats. As with any boat, however performance is always going to be optimal if the craft is in tip-top condition. A well maintained boat is also much less likely to suffer from inadvertant breakages and failure. Island trimaran pedal and sail powered kayaks require a bit more care and attention than the other models in Hobie's fleet due partly because of the added components and appendages, but also because they are often used in rougher conditions. And because Islands are often used in more challenging circumstances, the need for them to be in optimal operational condition is increased.
We've put together the following information to help fellow Hobie Islanders get the most out of their sailing experience by maximizing performance dependability while minimizing the likelihood of inadvertant gear failure. We'll start by highlighting one of the most critical components of the Hobie Islands - the MirageDrive
The pedal-powered MirageDrive is an invaluable component to the Hobie Islands for all sorts of obvious reasons. While it won't often be used all that much (or at all) in ideal sailing conditions, it is your 'get-out-of-jail' free card should the wind drop out, or should anything go wrong with the sail rig. We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your MirageDrive reasonably well maintained and we always emphasize this whenever we talk to someone who bought their Hobie second hand, simply because it is likely they were never informed about proper maintenance procedures from whoever they bought the boat off. We have covered the basics on MirageDrive usage, maintainence and service in an article we titled 'All About Hobie's MirageDrive'. If your MirageDrive is a bit of an enigma to you, we highly recommend you read this article.
Mast Receiver Set Screw Bolt
A commonly overlooked and seemingly minor component common to both the Adventure and Tandem Island is the bolt that keeps the sail mast receiver in place. This should be screwed down snugly so that the mast receiver and turnbuckle V-Base assembly is securely locked in place. While uncommon, we have seen these work their way loose (usually, we suspect, because the nylon locking part of the bolt was stripped slightly during installation) and occasionally we encounter a loose bolt in a brand new boat. Every now and then it is good practice to make sure this bolt is fitted correctly. To be sure it is least likely to ever become a problem we would advise to remove the bolt and then reinstall it after adding a drop of blue Loctite, and or a second bolt on top of the original.
Cross Bar Bracket Bolts
From time to time it pays to check that the bolts that secure the cross bar brackets are firmly seated. These can work themselves loose over time and are worth keeping an eye on to prevent unwanted sideways movement in the crossbar (this is especially important with the front crossbar). These bolts are tightened with a hex key, which is supplied in the warranty pack of all Hobie Islands (now you know why this hex key is included). Make sure the crossbar bolts are tight, and keep them that way.
Ama Bungee Loops
Later model Hobie Islands are now supplied with a dual bungee loop arrangement to secure the amas to the akas. Previous models used only one bungee loop. Over time the bungee cord can stretch and suffer from wear and tear. If the bungee cord is in poor shape they might not hold the aka into the ama tightly enough and may even break free during use. If you notice any obvious signs of stretching and or wear and tear, it might be a good idea to either adjust the tension of the cord (by undoing the screw-in fitting they are attached to, untying the stopper knot that sets the length and then retying it so as to shorten the length), or otherwise replacing it completely. In theory this should be less of a concern on newer boats with the dual bungee loops, however we'd recommend keeping an eye on the condition and tension of these as well.
Aka Brace Shear Pins
Aka brace shear pins are sacrificial 'fuses' that are designed to break in high-impact circumstances in order to prevent anything more critical and or expensive from breaking. These are made from nylon plastic and as such will break down from wear and tear from general use over time. This is why the boats are supplied with 2 spare shear pins (installed onto each brace) as well as two extra spares in your warranty pack.
It is highly advisable to inspect these from time to time and when in doubt, replace them.
Some users have taken to replacing these sacrificial shear pins with stainless steel substitutes (screws or clevis pins), which will not break under the same conditions. The upside to this is that it eliminates the potential for a sudden and inadvertent capsize (should a nylon pin fail unexpectedly) but the downside is that in a high impact event (surf landing, sailing into an immovable object, etc) something else might break.
All Hobie Islands are supplied with a spare rudder pin and users should carry at least one spare pin at all times. Like Aka brace shear pins, rudder pins are designed to break in the event of high impacts on the rudder assembly. They can and do break so it's a good idea to inspect them from time to time and if there are obvious signs of wear and tear, replace them.
Some users install replacement rudder pins with a small amount of grease, which eliminates friction on the pin and can help free up left and right movement.
There are a few noteworthy points to raise on the topic of rudder lines. An obvious one is to mention that steering will be optimal if both left and right and steering lines are reasonably taught and calibrated for even movement left and right. Left and right steering lines do stretch somewhat over use and usually require to be re-tightened after a few shake-down cruises on a newly purchased boat. This is done by adjusting the steering lines at the rudder assembly.
Line stretch isn't the only reason that steering line calibration can become out of whack. This can also happen when and if the steering line tubes become unsecured inside the hull. All rudder line tubes pass through a padeye screwed into the underside of the rear hatch (one line on the starboard side, 3 lines on the port side. It is not uncommon for one, some or all of these to break free from the padeye. When this happens the steering lines will become loose. For this reason it's not a bad idea to secure the rudder line tubes to those padeyes. We do this by using a single cable tie to clamp each tube to the padeye, as shown in the image below
Up and Down lines are responsible for deploying and retracting the rudder, as well as keeping it held down in place during usage (ideally the rudder should be cleated down tightly while sailing). Its rare that we see any problems with the up and down lines, but when we do it is usually as a result of transporting the boat with the rudder up line holding the rudder up, instead of the Rudder up strap assembly (supplied with the boats) or the Island rudder cover. If the rudder is held in it's up position with the up line exclusively, this will create tension on the up line, and if that line starts rubbing on the inside of the rudder pin guides (from vibration during transport) this can cause wear on the line where it passes through the rudder pin guides. So don't transport the boat with the rudder in it's up position by using the rudder up line cleated in - use the strap assembly or cover instead, as these will remove tension from the up line and thus eliminate inadvertent abrasion.
Mast Bearings and Bearing Plates
Its a good idea to keep an eye on the mast bearings and specifically, the mast bearing plates that hold them in place. If the bearing plates get at all loose it is possible for the mast bearings to pop out. So every now and then use a Phillips head screwdriver to check that all of the bearing plate screws are nice and tight.
You are well advised to rinse the mast bearings out from time to time in order to eliminate particles of sand and salt that will otherwise gradually grind down the bearings, which may also result in losing them. To ensure smooth operation it can help to give the bearings a squirt of silicon spray.
Some users take the precautionary measure of inserting a short length of pool noddle into the mast bearing plate to help keep the bearings safely in place during transport and storage
Inside the sail mast receiver is a stainless mast base that is screwed into place with 4 screws. These can come loose over time and if they do this can effect smooth operation of the furling line. In the event you are finding the furling line to be unnaturally rough during use it is possible that the mast base is loose. Check these by inserting a long Phillips head screwdriver into the mast base screws and making sure they are all nice and tight. If you do find any loose screws it isn't a bad idea to remove it completely (tip: use a magnetic screw driver) and then reinstall it with a helping of blue Loctite.
Every now and then we hear of batten caps going missing, usually during use on a gusty day. This typically only happens when the batten cap is not tied on securely enough. It's not enough for the cord to be pulled into the cleat on the batten cap - it should also be secured with (at the very least) a stopper knot tied onto the cord as it exits the eyelet to prevent it from flying away should it come loose. Typing off the tag end around the brass eyelets or around the batten itself should prevent it from coming loose in the first place