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AMF Hilu

bigbear1270

New Member
Hi everyone, I have an AMF Hilu that was in my families possession and i didn't really understand what it was the other day till I started doing some research, according to what I found it is really rare and there are not many left, I also found that it might be worth a good deal of money and wanted to see if anyone had any information on the boat, i am looking to eventually sell it but i just want to get all the facts straight first.

thanks, Jake
 

matias

Member
Hi everyone, I have an AMF Hilu that was in my families possession and i didn't really understand what it was the other day till I started doing some research, according to what I found it is really rare and there are not many left, I also found that it might be worth a good deal of money and wanted to see if anyone had any information on the boat, i am looking to eventually sell it but i just want to get all the facts straight first.

thanks, Jake
Beautifull boat you can use a sunfish racing daggerboard and a sunfish racing sail with it and sail it anywhere if I were you I wouldn't sell it.

Enjoy!
 

bigbear1270

New Member
thanks for the reply, im thinking about selling because i just dont know anything about sailing and i know there are people out there who are dying to have one of these and i could use a good chunk of change for college lol
 

matias

Member
thanks for the reply, im thinking about selling because i just dont know anything about sailing and i know there are people out there who are dying to have one of these and i could use a good chunk of change for college lol
If you need the money well, go ahead but if you are willing to take sailing clases or somethint then keep it. you will never see one of those again.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
i know there are people out there who are dying to have one of these and i could use a good chunk of change for college lol
I hope you really are LOL when you wrote that, as its not like you have found a rare Jaguar or Mercedes. I don't think there is much demand for these - they were never popular and are a pretty weird boat. I think you are likely to get $250-500 max, although if you do in fact find that one person who is truly dying to own it, you might get $750 or so.

BB
 

btsunfish

New Member
My vote would be to keep it and learn to sail it. It has a Sunfish rig which means it will be as easy to sail, but the hull design should give much better speed. Also, apparently only 6 of these things are known to exsit; yours could be lucky number 7 ;-)
 

matias

Member
My vote would be to keep it and learn to sail it. It has a Sunfish rig which means it will be as easy to sail, but the hull design should give much better speed. Also, apparently only 6 of these things are known to exsit; yours could be lucky number 7 ;-)
I agree with you, it would be perfect if you get a racing sunfish sail and a racing daggerboard, it will be 5 times faster and easier to handle you should also get a good tiller extension because those boats I believe come with a wooden one. if you do so you will get a fantastic little boat
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Hi everyone, I have an AMF Hilu that was in my families possession and i didn't really understand what it was the other day till I started doing some research, according to what I found it is really rare and there are not many left, I also found that it might be worth a good deal of money and wanted to see if anyone had any information on the boat, i am looking to eventually sell it but i just want to get all the facts straight first.

thanks, Jake
Jake,

Just because such an outrageous urban myth has been started about this boat, I'm going to put in my 2¢ as well in an attempt to nip this in the bud and help prevent you from experiencing too much of an anticipation let down.

Truth or Fiction ... Wikipedia - Hilu (notice the claim is red flagged)

... and most readers overlook this - Wikipedia - Hilu Discussion

Ultimately, the buyers will determine the value. So, if you are dead set on trying for the supposed "collector value" get it to one of the big auction houses for collectables. It's the only place you'll find a buyer at the "rare item" price level. Not here, or craigslist, or any classified ad.

If you want to test the water, get it on ebay and set the reserve 10% below the price you've heard. The bidding will show the actual interest level and if you land a big kahuna..., the party is at your house.

In reality, I believe someone confused the AMF Hilu with a museum piece or a restoration project being undertaken by a Polynesian historical research foundation. It strikes me as the sort of mis-quoting you might find in a grade schooler's term paper research.


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WOP31

Hello
Not knowing anything about this boat, I went to google for some answers and found on Ralph Harvey's site that he had sold one on ebay in 2008 for $800. Not the $$ supposedly reported on the Wiki but not a bad profit for him cosidering he picked it up for about $50.

Neat looking boat, looks like it may be fun to sail in some good winds. I would keep it if I were you Jake and learn to sail it.

How long has it been in your family? It may be something cool to pass on to the kids/grandkids later on down the road and you can teach them to sail it. Just something to think about.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Learning to sail one of those would cause my brain to capsize....

Apparently, the bow becomes the stern after tacking. Or, in other words, the hull that carries the sail is always to windward and the ama is always to leeward.
 

surfski

New Member
Ok Wavedancer , totally baffled here. I know that traditionally south pacific proas would actually move the sail from end to end thus keeping ama in same relative position with tack , don't believe the hilu is set this way.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Not knowing anything about this boat, I went to google for some answers and found on Ralph Harvey's site that he had sold one on ebay in 2008 for $800. Not the $$ supposedly reported on the Wiki but not a bad profit for him considering he picked it up for about $50.

Neat looking boat, looks like it may be fun to sail in some good winds. I would keep it if I were you Jake and learn to sail it.

How long has it been in your family? It may be something cool to pass on to the kids/grandkids later on down the road and you can teach them to sail it. Just something to think about.
I agree with everyone else who's recommending you hold on to and enjoy this boat. They look like a real kick. I've not sailed a Hilu, but as a kid I built a Proa-like outrigger canoe so I have fond memories of the adventure.

The trouble I have with the Wiki article is Ralph Harvey is the only verifiable reference cited and his sale price is grounded in some restoration work, not rarity. So, nobody ever received the astronomical figure stated, it's only some amateur author's wildly imaginative, but unfounded speculation.

The other statement that's highly questionable is the one saying only 6, now 7 are in existence. I've seen that many come through here, ebay, and craigslist in the last 10 years. It's hard to believe somewhere out there, but unknown to anybody, is the global registrar of Hilu keeping an official record of the remaining owners and their boats. Come out, come out, wherever you are... :rolleyes:

So, you've got a cool boat and yes it is uncommon. If the boat was in pretty good shape when it was put away and the fabrics, wood, and hulls haven't dried and deteriorated from lack of attention over the years, you might get as much as Ralph got for his after he cleaned and fixed it up.

Replica Proa have a following ...


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Wayne

Member Emeritus
Ok Wavedancer , totally baffled here. I know that traditionally south pacific proas would actually move the sail from end to end thus keeping ama in same relative position with tack , don't believe the hilu is set this way.
I believe you are correct, the Hilu (and I believe most small or modern Proa) sail more like a catamaran. Note the fixed rudder of the Hilu rather than a movable steering oar.


... that looks familiar


Photo - R. Harvey

The only boats I've heard of moving the mast or spar on are old style Pacific outrigger sailing canoes and old world Dhows.


For those who've never seen one, this is the HILU


Photo - R. Harvey


...and, a left turn into a bit of sailing history half way
around the world from the Proa's origins.




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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Ok Wavedancer , totally baffled here. I know that traditionally south pacific proas would actually move the sail from end to end thus keeping ama in same relative position with tack , don't believe the hilu is set this way.
My brain may not have capsized, but it was confused. :eek:
To be a bit specific, I looked up (Wikipedia) how a proa is sailed. And I thought that a Hilu was a real proa, but it isn't (thanks for the picture, Wayne).

Is it correct then that the Hilu is more like a catamaran, but with one hull bigger than the other and the sail off-center?

Larry Ellison, are you listening?

 

surfski

New Member
Wayne et al , check out hydrovision raptor on a goggle search. Pretty cool proa-craft with modern foils , unfortunately out of production .
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
I bet those are fun to sail (fast?)..I'd keep the thing.:D
Not as popular as a Sunfish, probably because they aren't as easy for beginners to learn sailng basics on.


Looks like the Wiki people shed more light on the design and debunked the urban myths.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilu


Normality appears to be returning :cool:


This ad is currently posted at Duckworks (August 12, 2010)
http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/classified.htm
14 foot fiberglass proa/outrigger canoe. built by Alcort in the early 70's and called a Hilu. sails nicely and has most parts, sunfish lanteen rig, its in Fort Pierce, Fl. no pics availiable. very light, fast and fun had had many good times in the Atlantic with it, loves waves, very rare would like $500, john bartlett captjbturtle@yahoo.com
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Hilu_Darin

New Member
Hi all -

New member, found this thread via Google, and thought I'd offer my brief impressions for your interest, and for posterity (since this page was the #2 result on Google for "Hilu" for me).

First, I had no idea as a Hilu owner I was part of such an exclusive club (!!!). Encourage any other Hilu owners to contact Ralph to be added to the unofficial registry on his Hilu page.

I picked up just the hulls & platform (no tramp) for 20 bucks a few years ago - saw it sitting in someone's yard and it looked interesting, so I knocked on the door and they were happy to get rid of it. (And I didn't even know about the infamous Wikipedia entry - since removed - that said the boats were worth $20k to collectors. :eek: )

Missing the original rig, here's what I used for a sail - from a big Mistral sailboard...



I used the Mistral's centerboard as well. For steering, I modified the gudgeons to take a Laser rudder.

Sailing impressions: In 3 years I only had it rigged and in the water for a couple of hours, but I liked it. A junior Hobie, but more forgiving, and with a unique look. I can say the Mistral sail wasn't quite powerful enough for me, but I brought my 9 year old nephew along for a ride, and he sure thought it was fast - hooting and hollering at the speed & the splashing. The fiberglass sailboard mast bent & spilled wind more than I would have liked - I wanted more, more, more.

I don't think the boat's as light as the Wiki article says - 75 lbs?? I'd bet the big hull alone is that much, if not a bit heavier. (If I get around to weighing mine, I'll edit the page.)

It's a wet boat - but that's only a downside to a fair-weather (non-wetsuit) sailor like myself, meaning it's only comfy for about 2 months a year here on the cool St. Lawrence River.

Now I have a chance to pick up a Sunfish rig, sail & foils. (That's what rekindled my interest in the Hilu and had me Googling it). With the bigger sail area and stiffer mast, I'm looking forward to finding out how it behaves.

Of course the primary goal is getting that outrigger hull flying (the brochure photo shows it!), and comparing its temperment to a beater Hobie 16 that I co-own with a friend. The Hobie is a handful in a wind, like a Laser, being somewhat overpowered. It's particularly cranky if you stuff the leeward bow into a wave at speed. :p

Regardless, with the proper rig & foils, the Hilu's definitely a keeper. It's an interesting boat to look at, and amusing to sail. The fact that it may also be somewhat rare has me re-evaluating this one's "beater" status. I'm thinking that in addition to making a trampoline for it this winter, I may even refinish the woodwork & wax those hulls!

cheers-
Darin
 

skutzabik

Sails the Bidet
Oh no, I have a Snark and four SF's, a pontoon, two bass boats and a canoe in the yard, mama's gonna kill me but I am now in the market for one of those too!

How do I sneak that thing home? It will probably just melt in until I pull all the boats out for winter, then I got some "esplanin" to do.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
First, I had no idea as a Hilu owner I was part of such an exclusive club (!!!). Encourage any other Hilu owners to contact Ralph to be added to the unofficial registry on his Hilu page.
I'm not finding a registry link on Ralph's page ... or is his web page it?

There are five (now 6 with you) Hilu members who show up on this forum and three more on Sunfish_Sailor. I have seen about 8 others on the Net in other groups..., so the numbers appear to be slightly higher than first thought.



Oh no, I have a Snark and four SF's, a pontoon, two bass boats and a canoe in the yard, mama's gonna kill me but I am now in the market for one of those too!
Respond to that Duckworks ad in post #17, it seems to be priced within reason.

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Hilu_Darin

New Member
I'm not finding a registry link on Ralph's page ... or is his web page it?
That web page was it, I thought. I'm already counted on his page - the photo of the Hilu with the Mistral sail is mine.

Weight: FYI, I weighed a few parts:

Code:
 24.0 platform 
 34.0 outrigger hull
 84.5 main hull
-----
142.5 lbs
So a bit more than the "75 lbs" wikipedia says.

Maybe the 75 lbs reference was for the main hull - I just discovered my main hull was full of water (drain plug hole was pointing skyward, and the plug was out)! And has been for over a year. I drained it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had absorbed a fair amount into the glass in that time.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
That web page was it, I thought. I'm already counted on his page - the photo of the Hilu with the Mistral sail is mine.
Ah, then I'll take all the numbers anyone throws around with a grain of salt, maybe a pound.

As evidenced by the three boats appearing on the used market in just the past couple of months, it seems the quantity of Hilu in existence exceeds speculation. Although I don't think there's any disputing the numbers are low, seeing how it didn't make it as a popular boat model in the first place.



Weight: FYI, I weighed a few parts:

Code:
 24.0 platform 
 34.0 outrigger hull
 84.5 main hull
-----
142.5 lbs
So a bit more than the "75 lbs" wikipedia says.

Maybe the 75 lbs reference was for the main hull
May as well round that figure off and post it to Wikipedia as an "actual". Who knows where their figure came from. I've never seen a Hilu spec sheet, just the sales flyer Ralph and a couple of document dealers have posted out in the wild.



I just discovered my main hull was full of water. I drained it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had absorbed a fair amount into the glass in that time.
The fiberglass should not have absorbed any water unless it is becoming delaminated. You'd see this evidenced by it going soft. I had a Hobie hull do this back in the 70s so badly the Hobie dealer swapped it for a new one. Bad lay-up job I'd guess.

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Hilu_Darin

New Member
As evidenced by the three boats appearing on the used market in just the past couple of months, it seems the quantity of Hilu in existence exceeds speculation.
Shh! You'll drive down prices! ;) (I'm holding out for that $20k Hilu collector.)

May as well round that figure off and post it to Wikipedia as an "actual". Who knows where their figure came from.
I'll weigh the rig & foils when I get them (next week, hopefully) and post a total boat weight then. Seems like something around 200 lbs is likely.
 

Hilu_Darin

New Member
Hilu weight

I'll weigh the rig & foils when I get them
Got some parts this week. Getting closer to a final "actual" Hilu weight:

Code:
 24.0 platform   
 34.0 outrigger hull  
 81.0 main hull  
 13.0 daggerboard + rudder/tiller
 23.0 spars & sail
----- 
175.0 lbs
I say "getting closer" because I'm still missing the four frame bars + webbing that make up the trampoline (will make these myself). Also, the Sunfish rudder I got is ancient - it looks quite a bit smaller than the rudders I see in other Hilu pics.

The sharp eye will notice I dropped my main hull weight from 84.5 lbs to 81 lbs. That's because 3.5 lbs of water dripped out of the hull over the course of a week. (It had filled up after being stored outside with the open drain facing skyward for over a year.) That water might have been absorbed in either the fiberglass, or the buoyancy foam, or both.

That said, seems safe to say that a fully rigged Hilu probably weighs in at ~180 lbs / 82 kg.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
. . .That water might have been absorbed in either the fiberglass, or the buoyancy foam, or both.

That said, seems safe to say that a fully rigged Hilu probably weighs in at ~180 lbs / 82 kg.
Fiberglass doesn't have a tendency to take up and hold water without becoming obviously soft and delaminated. The foam flotation, on the other hand, when left to steam for years in a closed pontoon, can osmos quite a bit..., about 58 lb per cu ft for USCG approved, 4 lb density, marine grade flotation.

A factory spec sheet just got posted to Sunfish Sailor and it confirms AMF listed "hull weight" at 75 lb. Hull weight is typically a bare hull so they are undoubtedly looking at the main pontoon alone, without sail rig and foils.

More fitting with tradition, that should probably be both pontoons and the connecting frame..., maybe 135 lb to 140 lb altogether - don't you think?



And I still need to buy webbing to make the tramp! :eek:
The spec sheet has a note stating later production superceded the webbing with a laced-on single piece tramp.

.
 

Hilu_Darin

New Member
Fiberglass doesn't have a tendency to take up and hold water without becoming obviously soft and delaminated. The foam flotation, on the other hand, when left to steam for years in a closed pontoon, can osmos quite a bit..., about 58 lb per cu ft for USCG approved, 4 lb density, marine grade flotation.
Likely the foam, then. I've been all over the hull, and aside from one crack that needs repairing, I found no obvious soft spots (on the outside anyway).

More fitting with tradition, that should probably be both pontoons and the connecting frame..., maybe 135 lb to 140 lb altogether - don't you think?
Sounds reasonable. Maybe they advertised only the main hull weight as a way to suggest how the disassembled boat is easily handled (for transport/storage etc.)

The spec sheet has a note stating later production superceded the webbing with a laced-on single piece tramp.
Interesting! I think I'm going to go with the webbing. I like that aesthetic vs. a Hobie style tramp.

Also interesting in that spec sheet: it shows a long, low integral keel on the main hull, not a daggerboard.

And from that drawing, now I know I don't have the right rudder for it.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Likely the foam, then. I've been all over the hull, and aside from one crack that needs repairing, I found no obvious soft spots (on the outside anyway).
Shouldn't be any different than the soft spots you typically find on older Hobie pontoons..., just without there being a foam layer in the mix. Good that everything is solid.


Sounds reasonable. Maybe they advertised only the main hull weight as a way to suggest how the disassembled boat is easily handled (for transport/storage etc.)
I wouldn't put it past them to only draw attention to the heaviest component, then if it came up simply mention everything else weighs less.


Also interesting in that spec sheet: it shows a long, low integral keel on the main hull, not a daggerboard.
There's a curious anomaly..., the spec sheet with note added for the later design change, is dated Dec. of 1971 (probably originally printed in preparation for the initial introduction in 1972). The setup manual printed a month later shows the daggerboard instead of a keel/skeg.

I just wonder if the original design tried to omit the daggerboard along the same line as a Hobie 14 asymmetrical hull, but didn't pan out. We'll probably never know since it appears all the production boats have daggerboards.


And from that drawing, now I know I don't have the right rudder for it.
In the setup manual, spec sheet, and every photo I've seen, the rudder seems to be the same one as the Sunfish "new style" (1972 thru the present).

Does your hull have a Hull ID embossed into it?

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Hilu_Darin

New Member
In the setup manual, spec sheet, and every photo I've seen, the rudder seems to be the same one as the Sunfish "new style" (1972 thru the present).
OK, then I've definitely just bought an old style Sunfish rudder. Drat. And judging solely by its appearance & bronze hardware, pre-1972 is no stretch.

Does your hull have a Hull ID embossed into it?
You mean that little rectangle with "00001" in it?

:)D Just kidding. I keep striving for that $20k...)

Nope, I couldn't find a serial number. Are you aware of any Hilu's with ID's? (If so, what's the location?)
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
OK, then I've definitely just bought an old style Sunfish rudder. Drat. And judging solely by its appearance & bronze hardware, pre-1972 is no stretch.

You mean that little rectangle with "00001" in it?

:)D Just kidding. I keep striving for that $20k...)

Nope, I couldn't find a serial number. Are you aware of any Hilu's with ID's? (If so, what's the location?)
Present day Sunfish rudder in fiberglass. Earlier versions were wood.


Ralph Harvey Hilu Rudder



Let me know if you ever see $20K as a "sold" price. Until such time I'm filing that one right next to my winning Nigerian lottery ticket.

I have an acquaintance going to check one out today. We'll see if it follows him home.

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Hilu_Darin

New Member
Wow - I have a winning Nigerian lottery ticket too!!! What are the odds??

Thanks for clarifying the rudder differences. I'm actively tracking down a "new style" version (have a local lead).

Hoping to get the boat in the water at least once this fall before it gets too chilly.
 

Hilu_Darin

New Member
went sailing

Quick update: I modified another rudder/tiller combo to fit the boat and took the Hilu out sailing on an unusually summer-like late afternoon Tuesday. This was only my second time sailing the boat, and my first time using the Sunfish sail & dagger board (used a small 45 sq ft. windsurfer sail/mast before).

Best comment from one bystander watching me rig & launch:

That thing looks weirder and weirder the more I look at it!
The breeze was pretty light - probably in the range of 6-8 knots, with the occasional puff above that.

But what a fun little boat!

Of course the object of the game (for me, anyway) was to fly the outrigger hull on starboard tack as much as possible when reaching & beating. In such light air, I had to cheat it out of the water by keeping my weight close to (sometimes over) the main hull.

Sailed for an hour or so, with two results: 1) it made me hungry for more wind - to get hiking out on that trampoline, and, 2) left me looking forward to extended Hilu playtime next summer.

I'm actually hoping to go out once more this fall, and will try to get some photos. Something to look at to pass the long winter.
 
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