Tacking Your Hobie Cat – The Art Of The Tack

If you have spent any time at all on a Hobie Cat you know that Tacking it can be quite the challenge, But after you read this article you will find that tacking can be quite easy, and you will spend less time on the tack, and more time out on the trap!

When we go out sailing in Utah we have to do it on lakes and reservoirs. On a breezy day you will spend about 1 minute crossing the lake, and another 30 seconds on the tack. As you can imagine, we needed to find a better way to tack our Hobie cat and spend more time on straight runs than turning.

Believe us, we know all about sailing backwards, or trying 3 or 4 times to get around while tacking. It’s frustrating and embarrassing to say the least. After many of our own attempts and talking to some fellow Hobie sailors we’ve come up with a new method for tacking. Since using this method we have only missed about 3 – 4 tacks in the past season of sailing going 2 -3 times a week.

Here is the trick:

1. Let the main out quite a bit. The main sail acts like a weather vane. You need to let out the main sail out, if you keep it in, you will find the boat will not turn, and you will end up in irons just about every time.

2. Sit as far back on the tramp as possible! You need to situate yourself in the corner, as well as in the back of the tramp. If you are tacking to the port side, sit as far back on the tramp on the port side as possible, this lifts the starboard side out of the water making it easier for the boat to turn.

3. Once you complete your tack, you will want to get the most speed out of the boat coming though the turn, especially if you are racing. The best place to move to would be forward on the tramp on the opposite side of your tack. This allows the boat to plane (level out) better letting you turn even faster.

As far as the Jib goes…. We don’t worry about letting the Jib backwind us, we just move the jib to the other side of the boat as soon as we start our turn.

With a little bit of practice, you will find yourself tacking faster, and winning more races!

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