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cheap masthead float?


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Longtime lurker, first post :) Recently I have become the proud owner of an old, yet surprisingly quick in my untrained hands 16ft Hydra. At least I think it is a Hydra - picture here:


What is hard to see in the picture:

Small storage compartments

Centerboards (the ones that pivot down)

Anyway, I have "practiced" turtling the boat last weekend at the Gold Coast and although we got it back up without too much trouble something to stop it, or significantly slow it from fully turtling would be good peace of mind. So I made a few calls and can get Hobie's masthead float with 30kg of buoyancy for $178. It will probably attach to the mast somehow... Being a poor student I thought this might make cheaper, if somewhat funny looking alternative:


(see product code FLD025 for the one I am thinking of).

Is this a rookie mistake or a cost effective sensible alternative? :)



PS I got the boat insured for an agreed value of $3500 with $100 excess for $17 a month using NRMA. It was done over the phone and they didn't mind there was no rego because the boat had a name painted onto it.

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I did a Manning Marathon once - long, long time sitting on a run!

There was a yougster in a laser, started with the trailables - he had a plastic two litre milk bottle tied to his masthead. Virtually zero weight, two litres of bouyancy and low cost.

If you want more, just tie another one on!

There's nothing daft about doing it (ok, maybe a little 'uncool') given the practicality of keeping the mast on the water in a capsize.

There's another idea though, you know the kite surfers actually blow up their kites. They have inflatable tubes that hold the kite in place. Maybe one along the top batten would be all that's needed. Since it would be inline with the pocket it wouldn't have much drag.

And no, I'm not going to try it!!

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I like the Sauce bottle idea, that would start a trend I'm sure.

All jokes a side, last season a relitively inexperianced sailor went out on his cat (with a mast float) in a long race regatta. The wind was around 20knots, capsized and because the boat wouldn't go turtle the tramp then acts as a sail and blew the boat away from him and he couldn't swim fast enough to get it. He was in the water for 1/2 hr before somebody noticed the boat without a sailor.

So if you go for a mast float, DON'T let go of the boat when you capsize.

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Mast-head floats are especially good if you sail on a shallow lake with an urban catchment, where everyone's fertiliser ends up as black sludge on the lake bottom. After a capsize the stuff is hard to wash off and can permanently stain the sail.

When sailing a Sailfish on Narrabeen Lake in Sydney, I had the halyard hooked through a 2L milk bottle. For a cat with more weight, I'd look for any bottle with a moulded handle at the top, maybe 4L? The tom-sauce, detergent, or orange juice.

The Hydra looks great by the way!

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Do you think a 4L bottle would be enough? The Hobie-Bob has 30L of capacity so I was looking at floats around that size, I suppose I could just attach a 4L bottle and see how much it slows it down. Plan to be sailing this weekend at Wivenhoe Dam so will give it a go!

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