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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:17 pm 
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Location: Escondido
Note: this the third in a three part series on the PA. The other parts are linked here:

Part I: Loading and Handling
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewt ... e0f99f5027

Part II: Features and Accessories
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=11997


Initially I was tempted to compare the Pro Angler to various other Hobie kayaks. Upon further reflection, the PA is really in a class by itself and as such, should just be described. So I'll try to do that here.

Lets first take a look at the three methods of propulsion it is capable of: pedaling, paddling and sailing.

Pedaling, of course, is the preferred method of operation. I started out with a one hour "fast cruise" to give some approximation of range. The boat managed a respectable 4.54 miles (GPS) in an hour. Conditions were optimal; winds light and variable, no current, tide or chop. On a shorter three mile cruise, the boat averaged 4.66 MPH.

I didn't experience significant winds or chop during the test, so can only estimate that moderate headwinds and chop would probably drop the speed about 10%, and shouldn't pose much of a problem. There is ample rudder authority (more details below) to easily handle winds from any direction and the Mirage Drive units have an outstanding record of both operating and rescue in significant wind and chop.

The test boat got up to 6.0 MPH on a sprint. This two picture sequence shows that as with all boats, as speed increases, it begins to settle into its own wake, limiting the top speed:
Image

Image

But with a power boat wake providing a wake to ride, the PA can exceed 7 MPH for brief periods. While not as nimble as the lighter kayaks, it still moves along at a surprisingly good clip.. This picture shows it gracefully grabbing a little surfing action on a small swell:
Image

Extended cruising speed was about 4 MPH with the Turbofins.

Paddling: With a generous beam and elevated hand rails, the boat was not really designed with paddling in mind. That doesn't mean you can't so it -- the elevated seat helps compensate. With the rudder down, the boat is reasonably controllable. You have to consciously adapt the stroke to swing the paddle wide in order to avoid contact with the side handles. Standing, paddling is quite easy from either the main cockpit or the rear deck.
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Directional control is not difficult to maintain. I think a stand up paddle would be a very useful accessory with this boat!

Sailing: For some years now, all Hobie kayaks have had a sailing capability. The PA is no exception. This is a totally cool feature.
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Image

One can sail along leisurely (which means not particularly fast) or use hybrid power (sailing and pedaling) to move along at a decent speed without too much effort. Even better, if the wind fails all together or you need to get upwind in a hurry, you're never stuck!

For those not familiar with the Hobie sail, set it up is almost instantaneous -- Step the mast by dropping it in the mast receiver, connect the downhaul bungee (shown here), rig the mainsheet and sail away.
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No halyards or stays to connect or adjust. Once sheeted, it's easy to drop the sail and set it back up again while underway -- it just rolls up!
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The PA points OK, but makes noticeable leeway with just the Turbofins acting as a daggerboard. Without pedaling, upwind progress is slow. It's easy to pedal while beating to windward to compensate; oddly, this doesn't seem to cause any additional leeward drift.

The boat has good manners -- it is very stable with the Hobie small sail and rudder authority is quite adequate up through the few moderate gusts that showed up. The rudder is balanced well. The boat sailed in the 3's and 4's and topped out at 4.7 MPH in moderate winds. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting outriggers (i.e. Sidekick) with this boat.

The PA will tack on a dime, but you need to reverse the rudder early to keep its momentum from overshooting your new heading. The boat has some lean-steer. While this works well for fine tuning your heading while cruising, it adds some weather helm in gusts, as with most sailboats.
____________________________________________
Next, lets review some of the handling characteristics:

Steering on this boat is remarkable! This boat almost spins like a top. With ample rocker designed into the hull and good rudder authority, the boat responds well at all speeds. Take a look at the wake at this next picture to see how efficiently the rudder channels the thrust output right out the side -- almost like a jet boat!
Image
Here's another pic showing the end of a 270 degree turn.
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The flip side of the coin -- a boat that can turn like this rarely tracks well. The PA is no exception, requiring almost constant correction to hold course. The boat reacts to the tiniest rudder input. Once a correction is made, there is a small time lag before the hull starts to respond, and there is a tendency to add a second adjustment, making it easy to over-correct. Once you get used to it, this becomes much easier to anticipate and keep the boat going where you want instead of wandering back and forth.

All in all, it's a good trade off -- excellent turning and maneuverability for a very sensitive helm.

Hull characteristics: Hobie may not be the first to combine a monohull bow with a twin stern, but has developed this concept to great advantage in offering an excellent combination of speed, handling and stability.

The tunnel stern seems to cancel some of the stern wake, giving the boat a nice boost in cruising speed for its size. notice the speed sucking distinct stern wake from a Hobie Classic in this picture...
Image

is virtually absent with the PA...
Image

In some conditions, depending on weight, speed and water conditions the hull emits a gulping noise from the stern area. It sounds a little like bubbles in a water cooler. I suspect the rudder pocket may be in and out of the water in some conditions. While not annoying, it is quite distinct! Perhaps it's not uncommon with tunnel hulls -- I noticed a distinct hull slap on one of the competitor's fully tunneled kayaks. Nobody ever seems to mention it, but I couldn't miss it!

Seating: Everyone seems to like the Cool Ride seat. I found it quite comfortable in all situations except after prolonged pedaling during the fast cruise test. The lack of 'give' in the seat bottom gave me a sore butt. I took an i-comfort inflatable seat and placed it on the Cool Ride and found that to be a significant improvement.

The seatback has adjustable seat straps -- a very nice feature. There is also a strap to snap the seat closed. The original lock (I am told) will break off if you forget to release it. I don't have a picture of it here, but it is the black lever on the left rear of the seat bottom. Sorry, it isn't a secret ejection lever after all! :wink: Bottom line -- it's best to use the strap and ignore the locking lever.

Utility: the fishing ergonomics of this set-up are very well thought out. Rods can be stored quickly and securely without having to drop them in a hatch. The center Hatch tray holds a ton of stuff in almost any combination you like. The cutting board is a great feature and well located. The forward hatch tray will hold fish on ice (if you provide the ice). You can customize the side compartments with tackle boxes, lunch boxes, tool boxes, radio or TV or anything you want next to you! The cargo area can hold the bait tank AND wheels, a cooler and other bulky equipment.

Beside fishing, this would seem to make a great expedition boat. In addition to interior hull storage, you can load the foredeck, huge cargo area and afterdeck with about everything including the kitchen sink. Tents, sleeping bags, folding chairs, perhaps even a bicycle!

Hunting, photography, exercise, sight seeing -- I can't think of anything a kayak can do that this boat can't, except perhaps Eskimo rolls and rapids. The PA can launch through surf, off a dock or at most shore lines. Light enough for a roof rack, compact enough for a truck bed, it transports easily without a trailer.

Overall, I really like the boat. It feels solid, handles well, moves along nicely -- and is fun to ride!
Image
8)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:06 am 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Thanks for the excellent review series Roadrunner. Great work as usual! 8)
So Hobie can add stand-up paddle board to the list of PA features! :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:05 am 
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Location: South Jersey
Thanks Roadrunner, I've learned alot from all you've said, not to mention the pictures to really clarify what your saying (not that you needed them) but its nice to see. You've earned the status of "God" of the ProAngler. Be safe and have a great day.

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Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll sit in his boat (or kayak)and drink beer all day.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:23 pm
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Location: The rocky shores of Gambier Island
A great review, I've been waiting for your take on this new boat. Too bad the weather wasn't more cooperative with sending some chop your way.

I was wondering, could you stow the sail with the mast end in one of the rod tubes and keep the whole sail more or less within the boat?

With the rudder out of the way, that rear handle looks like the perfect place to mount a sculling oar, or perhaps (I'm guessing) a future electric motor option?

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Frank
2007 Oasis


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:06 pm 
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Location: Escondido
soundandfury wrote:
I was wondering, could you stow the sail with the mast end in one of the rod tubes and keep the whole sail more or less within the boat?

No, unfortunately. The rod tubes follow the curvature of the bow, not allowing the straight mast to get far.

On the other hand, there is plenty of space to stow the assembled mast. Here's one -- just lash it to the inboard side of your side rails.
Image

I specifically looked for some chop to see how much it would take away from the speed. The stuff on the lake was too small. The best I could do was crash back and forth through boat wakes at various angles. It wasn't much different than your Oasis, only much drier (compared with the front seat). In fact, I stayed totally dry. A little wake and light wind chop made it to the foredeck and that's about it. The boat carries a lot of freeboard.

There was some stern movement with a trailing swell off the quarter with some of the larger wakes, but I saw nothing out of the ordinary here -- it was easily handled -- much better than any of the Hobie kayaks with original "small" rudders.

The boat has a lot of surface exposure to wind (compared with a kayak) and I wouldn't want to fall off untethered -- might never catch it! On the other hand, I think there is easily enough rudder authority to handle most wind. What wind showed up didn't challenge the Pro Angler in any way. 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:18 pm
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Location: Tasmania, Australia
Great review Roadrunner.

A sailing question. Looking at the hull form and stability of the yak makes me think that sailing could enter a whole new dimension if you had something like an AI rig on the boat.

I realise that you would need a centre board and new mast mount for this much larger rig, but it might form the makings of a new sailing model for Hobie ?

Tasman


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:24 am 
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Tasman, I think you're right. The PA could probably carry 30 to 35 sq. ft. of sail (AI is about 60 and standard is about 20). With roller reefing and maybe a daggerboard slot like the Adventure has, that would make a neat package! 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:30 pm 
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Thanks for the sail info! I'm definitely getting more and more intrigued.

A slightly bigger sail would be good though. It looks like it's wide and stable enough to handle it.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:30 pm 
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Sail, pedal, paddle, stand-up paddle and now (this from the KFS forum) surf! :shock:
Image
Is the PA the most versatile Hobie ever! :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:43 pm 
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It does look a lot more like a small sailing dinghy than a kayak. Maybe a windsurfer sail could be adapted to work?

Did putting up the sail add any significant boost to your pedal-only cruising speeds?

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Frank
2007 Oasis


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Frank, during "pedal only" cruising I don't use the sail. But, when sailing I frequently use the pedals. They do several things:

-- they keep your speed up while tacking
-- downwind they can bring the apparent wind around to a more favorable reach and otherwise add to the wind factor.
-- during a lull they keep you moving to your destination
-- When other boats are sailing in light wind, it's a gas to "sail" right past them with this tiny sail (kind of an immature practical joke -- sorry). :lol:

In addition to that -- yes, you you can definitely get better speed with sailing and fins than with either alone. On a reach with light winds and casual pedaling you can get a very nice boost with very little effort! The faster the speed, the smaller the combined effect, but there is even a small boost at sprint speed.

Before (fellow forum member) Aloha Dan got his AI, he frequently used this combined method on his Adventure to gain a fast enough troll speed for the pelagic fishing he likes to do in Hawaii. With practice, he could get his sail down and out of the way in a matter of seconds when he got a hook up.8)
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Stringy, cool picture!:wink: I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see one driving down the road!:shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:43 am 
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Roadrunner wrote:
I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see one driving down the road!:shock:

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Now that's a cart I'd like to see! :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Location: The rocky shores of Gambier Island
That's good to know Roadrunner. I've very tempted to get one, but I'll have to measure the dock ramp first...can't remember if it's 36" or 48"!

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2007 Oasis


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:43 am 
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Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Hey RR great post! What would you best estimate the difference in speed during similar conditions and giving the peddles similar cadence/effort between the ProA vs. Revo?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Here are some typical GPS speeds for the different boats using Turbofins. Keep in mind someone else may be faster or slower and there is some variability with just one person, depending on many factors. It's more helpful to look at this as a relative scale.

These are "fast cruise" speeds, where a person is trying to get to a destination in a minimum time.

2.4 mile course: (average MPH)

5.6 Adventure (multiple runs)
5.3 Revolution (multiple runs)
5.2 Classic (multiple runs)
5.0 Oasis (about 8 solo runs) (tandem similar but too variable to list)
4.9 Outback (estimated no wind, 1 run)
4.8 Outfitter (2 solo runs) (tandem data not reliable)
4.75 Pro Angler (revised average, 2 runs)
4.2 i9 (1 run)

One hour course (2 directions) (miles traveled = MPH)

5.4 Adventure (multiple runs)
5.1 Revolution (multiple runs)
5.1 Classic (multiple runs)
4.85 Oasis (about 8 runs solo, ballasted)
4.8 Outback (1 run)
4.65 Outfitter (2 solo runs ballasted)
4.55 Pro Angler (1 run)
4.1 i9 (1 run)

Comparative speeds are affected by hull length, width and displacement. The Pro angler shows up on the slower end as one would expect, but it hangs in there well with the tandems and IMO shows excellent speed for its size. It's one hour cruise speed, for example, is almost as fast as the sprint speed for an Ultimate 12 with Propel Drive!

I don't have actual comparable data for the Sport, i12s or i14T; would estimate one hour distances to be somewhere around 4.2 to 4.5 respectively on this scale.

Every 1/2 kt increase in speed (in a given boat) requires almost a doubling of power, so backing off a little bit can get you there almost as fast and a lot more refreshed! 8)


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