Beginner seeks input, RE: Hobie cat sail/mast combo...

As a beginner here, was wondering if anyone has any
experience and/or knowledge of using a Hobie 14
mast/sail combo on an iceboat?? Use would be
casual sailing only, NOT racing, although the
performance of this combo on my Hobie 14 may not
leave much choice. The boat, as I have drawn it up,
would be roughly 15' long by 10 feet wide. The
Hobie 14 mast is 22' high, the sail roughly 85-90
SQF. I intend to sail it only in lighter winds -
I have a smaller windsurfer mast/sail for more wind.
Intend to make the boat easily convertible from one
mode to the other. Any input??

Hobie mast

When I first started in iceboating, 25 years ago, a local old timer gave us a 19 foot stern steerer(and 12 foot runner plank) with no mast. We had a Hobie 14 at the time. We purchased a Hobie mast base and put it on our stern steerer. We never had any problem with it. We made stays that were long enough for it. It rotated very well.

don't mess with hobie rig

Just build a DN. There are used parts available if you aren't capable of doing it all yourself. The goofy thing you're proposing to put together will not sail and will for sure break. Iceboating is not like sailing. A certain degree of sophistication is required to get the ice boat to move, like good runners in alignment. And it is amazing how much pressure the sail/mast put on the hull. A 22 ft. mast requires a fore and aft dimension of the hull, or hull with springboard of 22 to 24 ft. and a 16-17 ft. runner plank, and 42 in. runners. The Hobie sail will luff out because it is too full.
BUILD A DN and get with the program.

hobie mast rig

You will probably get moving but will probably start breaking stuff if you get any real speed up. I doubt you will get over 30 mph before you bend the your chainsaw blade runners with a rig that big and tall.
You will also need alot of hull strenght in the downward direction or the down forces will break an unsturdy hull. If you make the hull strong enough it will be heavy and you will add more strain on the runners that are weak already.
Alot of people make boats that are thrown together with a variety of parts and most work in good conditions with smooth ice. I don't see them on the lakes many times though. I think the owners get frustrated with the marginal preformance, speed, and durability of their craft especially if anyone else is on the ice with a regular iceboat.

Hobie 14 sail/mast topic....

Thanks Dn4889 -

Actually I will have much more stout runners if I go to
the larger sail/mast. Yes, the chainsaw blades are flimsy,
and I realized early on last year that they would not do.
I'm on somewhat of a budget, but given the efficiency of the
Hobie 14 sail I think it would go like H##L if I got the
runners completely parallel. Using the crude saw blades
last year I got up to around 40-45 mph, but that was in a
gusty wind which I shouldn't have been out in anyway. I
wound up breaking the flimsy fiberglass mast about 1/2 hour big a gust at the wrong time and WHACK!
Part of my problem is making contact (within reasonable
driving distance) with others who also want to get into
this sport. I'm already hooked, 'cause the rush created
last year when ths boat accelerated beyond what I expected
really surprised me. That kick in the pants feeling was
great, and the sound...well, it was great. Anyway, if you
ever hear of someone in North central Minn who is into this,
I hope I can get in touch with them.

Whut open water ??

Hobie 14 Iceboat

Hi Blackice -

With all the negative comments - I assume you've given up by now on the Hobie conversion project?

I've had the same idea for the past couple of years but never acted on it - the responses to your question is the first time that I've seen informed feedback on the topic.

I am up by Alexandria, MN and we really had some good ice last year - I'd say about a months worth before we got any significant snow.

Hobie Scrap


You asked a good question and are obviously not listeneng to the answers. They are all good. Your boat idea may fill time, but it is not recommended for all the reasons above.

A few facts: DN sail area: ~72 sq feet on a low aspect ratio plan, with a rotating mast. The sail cloth is very heavy, even compared to your Hobie cloth. The draft is about 7% when the mast is straight and nearly zero when the mast is bent. The boat is reliably able to go 45-50 in a 12-15 mph wind. That's about 60 mph of wind over the deck. When sailing fast, the wind angle is always close hauled, with the boom on centerline, reletive wind about 30 degrees from straight ahead or less, regardless of course sailed. The boat can easily be upset or skid if not de-powered. Depowering is by feathering upwind and stalling the rig (turning down wind) off the wind. The boat is not suitable for reaching unless the sails are luffed.

Power in sails is proportional to wind velocity squared. Your Hobie can reach at about 20 knots tops in a 20 mph wind, fastest speed is a beam reach, and the boom is out at the end of the traveler, about 45 degrees from centerline. This is about 34 mph over the deck. Lets suppose you can get your rig up to the speed you claim, if you sheeeted in, you would capsize with four times the power of your cat at its best. So at best you are luffing up wind using less than half of teh sial, and are reaching or running down wind with the boom out and the sail depowered. You may be having fun, but you aare way over powered anu unable to use what you've got in the air.

An iceboat has a big base for a tall very high aspect ration sail (8-10 to one) or a short mast on a small base, like the DN. In order to sail fast, the sail must be very flat. You describe a small boat with a huge sail plan. Your rig as described can probably reach much faster than as a water cat, and you can probably get around a course, but performance will pale in comparison to a real iceboat. Plus I don't trust geting anywhere near you. You already broke one mast, right? Where is the cheap?

The answer to your question: Anyone have any experience here? Yes. We advise you chase a real iceboat. You will save money in the short run and the long run, and have lots more fun more safely.

close ice boaters

DNers are like a band of gypsys. They have no problem driving a few hours for good ice for a days sailing. Especially if they are snowed out or there is no ice where they live. You might get ice a week or two earlier than the twin cities do so watch the large duck sloughs and shallow lakes for sailable ice. Often the best first ice of the nation is Lake Christina past Alex on 94 but you might find something good up there that freezes even earlier .

home-made iceboat

You'll probably be able to build something that will sail, but you'll be frustrated by handling and performance. Probably better off from a satisfaction and financial perspective to build a proven design (DN, Nite, Renegade). Besides, parts and used sails are bountiful for these boats.