This message was posted to the IHPVA mailing list on June 19th, 2000
Very Informal HydroFest Boat Experiences (VIHFBE)
I know some people out there are dying for some info on HydroFest, soI'll scoop Ron Drynan on a small portion of the event.
The single seat Sea Cycle was slower for me than the Wave Walker and the Surf Bike, but still quite seaworthy and fun to ride. I had to pull up its drive unit after running through the weeds, but it was easy to clean out.
The spanking new Sprite from Nauticraft was a hoot! Yes, it looks like a white cast iron bath tub, with two legs on either side of the bow, too. However, it has great acceleration, superb maneuverability - almost as good as the SurfBike - and it can scoot all over the place. I was out there quite possibly making a pest of myself riding circles around and dodging all the other boats. Yes, its prop can also get fouled with weeds, but this seemed to be somewhat less than with other prop boats. There is an access panel to the prop in this boat, too, which quickly enabled me to clean off the weeds and get back to joy riding. The belt drive on this boat was slightly loose, so when I tried to slow down so as to not hit the dock beside Curt (the owner of Nauticraft, who was so good to bring these boats to HydroFest) it slipped a bit - and I hit the dock with a rather good thud. Sorry, Curt! Happily, neither the dock nor the rotomolded boat were damaged. Tom pointed out some of the reasons for the front fins: you can insert an axle and attach wheels and roll the boat about on land; the fins make it easier to stack Sprites on top of each other; they keep the boat upright when beached.
The Velosea Soleau is a nice boat. The one I tried for the drag race had a loose chain, so under heavy load it skipped. The adjustable deployment outriggers did a great job of stabilizing it, and when deployed did not severely reduce the speed. Perhaps being a bit out of shape I was unable to beat Tom in the Escapade during the drag race, and being unused to the boat I did poorly in the slalom by making the turns a bit too wide. Otherwise, it is another fun beachable boat. The bimini top was a nice feature, too, and it was up high enough it did not interfere with my hat.
the 2k criterium the most amazing feat was performed by the fellow in the Hobie
Mirage. He was in the first heat of relatively slow vehicles, and managed to lap
the field a couple of times. He then entered the second heat of relatively fast
vehicles, which included John Howard's Wave Walker and the Wave Bike, and came
in second place! Not only that, he bettered his time by 30 seconds! Truly
all that, I think that if I were in the market for a fast, generally beachable
long distance car top-able boat, it would be difficult to choose between the [Hobie] Mirage, the Wave Walker and the Surf Bike. Then again, the
[Hobie] Mirage and Surf Bike
are both plastic and the Wave Walker is fiberglass, so maybe the choice is a bit
more clear if beaching without long term hull damage is a requirement.
It's a good thing I don't have the budget for another boat!
you again, Ron, for such a wonderful opportunity to observe and try out all
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