Refurbished Hobies provide family fun

Restoring sailboats an enjoyable sideline

PELICAN LAKE, Man. — A small two hulled catamaran with a tarpaulin stretched between the hulls sits by the side of a Manitoba rural road, with its mast just waiting to be hoisted.

The Hobie sailboat is parked outside Darryl Enns’s business, Signature Cover, in Elm Creek, Man.

He has been manufacturing hopper covers for the past 20 years using PVC tarpaulins.

He uses the same equipment to make sails and trampolines for the Hobies.

He and his wife Jodi have a cottage at Pelican Lake, where Darryl test sails the Hobies he restores and sells.

Their first Hobie washed up onto their lakefront property about seven years ago. It was in bad shape but Enns set to work restoring it.

Since then he’s refurbished and sold 16 of them.

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“I’m dragging them out of bushes. That’s exactly where they are,” Enns said.

Each boat handles differently.

“You put them in the water and they have their own character, some of them are sluggish and some of them just go like crazy,” he said.

The couple, who has two daughters, grew up on Manitoba farms. Jodie teaches preschool in Elm Creek and Oakville and runs a preschool program for moms and tots.

The two-hulled watercraft was popular in the 1970s.

Most of the interest in his refurbished Hobies comes from fathers who are looking for an activity they can do with their teenage sons.

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“You can both go as hard or as slow as you like on those things,” Enns said.

Jodi agreed.

“You can fly on those things,” she said. “You can have someone hanging off of it. They’re designed for one person to balance the craft while the other hangs off the side,” she said.

Enns’s restored Hobies range in price from $3,000 to $7,000. A plain Hobie can be jazzed up with options like a roller furling jib, trapeze for hanging off the side, drink holders, pockets, mesh trampoline and stainless steel hardware.

He advised people planning to sail a Hobie to first take a sailing course.

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