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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:25 am 
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The Quest paddle-only kayak has been around for about a year now, and has already attracted a loyal following. I have to say that this is one of my favorite Hobies based on its hull design, speed, and weight. I also have to say that it would probably be my all-time favorite Hobie, if it had a Mirage drive option. I have always wondered why Hobie does not simply offer their yaks, such as the Quest, with or without the Mirage drive. Folks are always complaining about the cost of the Hobie yaks anyway, and this would seem to be an excellent way to get around this criticism. It also seems like this would decrease costs all around. If someone does not want the Mirage drive, at least initially, then they can use the boat either with or without the plug. This would shave a bunch off the cost of the Hobie yaks, making them more competitive, plus one could always upgrade to the Mirage drive at a later date, should one wish to do so. Just my $.02 worth.

So what about the new Quest? I have to issue a caveat here in that I am most certainly not a Quest expert, as compared to all the folks here who actually own one. So, all you Quest fans out there, please add your comments to this thread as you see fit. There do not seem to be any major changes in the new Quest with reference to the basic hull design. I should add that at my local demo, only the Quest Fisherman model was available for testing. As I mentioned earlier when discussing the new Outback, there is a whole separate line of Hobie boats, known as “Fisherman” models.

http://www.hobiecat.com/fishing/index.html

1. The Hobie “Fisherman” Models
These include the Sport, the Outback, and the Quest, as well as the Float Cat 60 and the Float Cat 75. With regard to the yaks, there is not a whole lot of difference between the regular models and the “Fisherman” line. If you purchase the Sport, OB, or Quest fishing models, the Sportsman's Pack (including the plug-in cart, anchor kit, and cooler bag) is included in the basic purchase price. On the earlier Outbacks that did not have the 8-inch round hatch just in front of the seat, there was a flat spot and a bungee for securing a tackle box. This Plano Guide series, 2-sided tackle box was also included in the Sportsman's Kit at that time, and was part of the Fisherman package, at least for the Outback. However, now that Hobie has put the 8-inch round hatch in front of the seat, I don't know if the tackle box is still included in the Outback Sportsman's Kit since the tackle box bungee is no longer there. The tackle box is not included with the new Sport or Quest fishing models, so far as I can determine. The colors available for the fishing line are also considerably less, with only green, sand, and orange granite as your choices. However, there is one option that you can't get on the basic models from Hobie, and that is a mount for a Scotty rod-holder. This is a screw-in mount amidships on the Quest, and a starboard flush mount on the Sport. Of course, you can always buy these separately from KFS, and add them later to the basic models, should you wish.


2. The first pic below shows the entire boat. This baby is designed for speed, as well as for fishing. Note the large hatch forward, suitable for stowing rods and other gear inside the hull, for example, during surf transits.

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3. Here is a view of the open forward hatch. You can get a lot of stuff in here, especially rods, relatively easily, compared to say, the earlier OB models. It's interesting to me that the new 2006 Outbacks have changed over to a Quest-style forward hatch, as well-good idea!

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4. Here is the cockpit layout-very clean and compact. Note the adjustable foot-brace system forward. Hobie calls these “pedals,” but there is no “pedaling” involved as with the Mirage drive system (not present on the Quest). As kytflyr points out below however, the foot pedals are used to control the rudder (later). Note also the twin mesh pockets on either side, and the 8-inch round hatch. Note too, the relatively new deluxe seat with four attachment points, two forward and two aft. The early Quests used the basic (i.e., deluxe) Hobie seat found on nearly all of their yaks at that time that had only the two forward seat straps. I don't know if this seat is an improvement over the earlier seats or not. Perhaps some of the folks who have used either or both can chime in here. Note the two after scuppers behind the seat where the Hobie cart plugs in from below. If you are not carrying a crate or ice chest here, the posts of the cart can be dropped in from above for convenient carrying. Note also the two built-in rod-holders and the fairly large deck space behind the seat.

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5. In this closer view of the forward portion of the cockpit, the foot-brace system is a little clearer. Especially note the Scotty rod-holder mount just aft of the forward hatch, and the hatch bungee. This Scotty mount will accept all the basic Scotty rod-holders that can be swiveled to either side of the boat, or forward just as easily. Note also the two sets of scuppers here also. It's not clear to me just why two sets of scuppers are needed, but it may have to do with the weight of the occupant, and how much the bow is elevated while underway. Note also the built-in handles or hand grips in the hull itself, just aft of the mesh pockets. These are present on both sides, and apparently were the inspiration for the handles now found on the Adventure. In fact, the basic hull design of the Adventure, along with its 3-foot greater length, strongly suggested to me a Quest on steroids!

The newer style Hobie paddle-keeper bungees, with the very handy pull-tab, are also clear in this pic on either side of the hull. Note too, the central cup-holder, a small tray for tackle or various odds and ends (with its own built-in drain), and the elevated flat area where one might mount a fish-finder assuming you were careful in the positioning of the Scotty rod-holder. One problem with the Quest, as compared to the Outback or Sport, is the lack of any flat gunwale areas upon which one might mount rod-holders, RAM ball mounts, or electronics.

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6. In this stern view, note the abundance of storage space for a crate and/or ice chest. Note too, the deck indentations where one might install 1-2 extra 8-inch round hatches. Such a hatch at the stern might be very useful for packing camping gear and food if you planned to do some sea kayaking and touring. Such a hatch behind the seat would probably be pretty useless since you would probably have an ice chest or crate there anyway. Note also the naked stern-no rudder, although the rudder line openings are already drilled and in place.

A rudder is the one thing that is not included with the basic Quest or the Fisherman models. Now, some folks don't care for a rudder, but if you ever do any drift fishing over the flats along the East or Gulf Coasts, or down a large river system, you might be glad you had one. Without it, you will have to dig out your paddle and keep it handy for positioning yourself. So, if you think you might like one, my recommendation would be to order the rudder, and have the dealer install it before you take possession of your yak. However, it should be noted that the rudder installation and arrangement on the Quest is somewhat different than on the Mirage drive kayaks, as kytflyr mentions below, and it may be a bit easier to install on the Quest. Either way, let the dealer or factory install it for you--you will probably be glad you did.

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So, there you have it-the Quest is another really nice boat from the Hobie folks that does not overlap much, if at all, with the other kayaks in their line. If you don't need a tandem or a Mirage drive, this may be just the boat for you if you like to tour or fish. Fast, stable, and a reasonable weight and length combo. Plus a lot of the stuff that is extra on other yaks comes standard on the Quest, such as the seat, paddle and rod-holders. Check it out.

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Last edited by Apalach on Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:47 am 
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Apalach did a very good job for the new Quest. The only thing I can add is about the rudder. The rudder on the Quest is not controlled by handles as in the mirage kayaks. The up and down is controlled by a cord that fits into a jam cleat by your right elbow while the left and right is controlled by cables attached to the outside top of the foot pedals. Look at Apalach's photos and you will see a flange, or tab if you will, type area there with a hole in it. That is where the cables attach. One pushes on the top portion of the right pedal to go right and the top of the left pedal to go left. Equal pressure to go straight. It is different from most other setups but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. one might get a better idea by going to the Hobie web site and looking at the detailed view of the Quest. On my Quest Fisherman I discovered one thing that had to change. That rod holder base is only good if you have five foot arms. Being 5"10", my arms are not that long. I moved it as far back on the flat area as I could to get as close to me as possible while not invading the tray area and I could still use it 3 to 4 inches closer. Why not mount it in the tray area just in front of me? That is where my GPS is located. llt


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:16 am 
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Yep kytflyr--that makes a whole lot more sense than what I was trying to figure out with those foot pedals. Thanks for the update. I had the same question about that Scotty mount being so far forward that it might be difficult to reach. I also was wondering if the flat area might be a good place for a GPS or fishfinder, but thought that it might come into contact with water in the cockpit if it was mounted that low. Any problems with that as yet? Thanks.
Dick

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:21 pm 
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Apalach,
I have had no problem with water, fresh or salt, for two reasons, the water only gets about 0.7 inch deep around the lowest scupper so it does not get to the tray and my GPS is water resistant to a minimum of one meter deep. Also, I have installed a separate Scotty surface mount sideways just in front of the left side pocket (inside the hull) so with the Scotty fishfinder adapter, I also have a fishfinder located far enough out of the way but within easy view in front of my left knee.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:50 am
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Location: Florida Panhandle
Apalach & Kytflyr: A good review of the '06 Quest Fisherman. I purchased the Quest Fisherman several months ago ('05 model). It apparently was in the mutating stage from the earlier models. It came with the delux seat, complete with the 4 attachment points, a rudder system, the newly designed "tabbed" bungie rod holders, and the 4 forward scuppers but not the rod holder mount. All in all, it is a great yak. Comfortable, stable, fast, and easy to get along with. The footwell area stays suprisingly dry even at drift speed (never use the scupper plugs). It also drains pretty quick during the summertime showers on the river. If the Quest has a downside, it is that the rudder doesn't retract enough when in the "up" position. When loading the yak on your racks, it is advisable to load the rear end first. From your pics and reviews, it looks like I do not have to even think about upgrading to the '06 model ... sorry Hobie.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:52 am 
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From your pics and reviews, it looks like I do not have to even think about upgrading to the '06 model
That means you made a smart choice by going with the 2005 Quest.
Doesn't look like any major changes from the '05 model. Basically the same simple, stable, fast Quest.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:51 pm 
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But hey, I'm not complaining. Many of the guys I fish with have Tarpons (14 or 16i), and I have not problem keeping up with them. In terms of speed, mobility, and stability, this boat is as good as any.

I've fished in rivers, ponds, and in nasty rips along the Rhode Island shoreline and have done it with ease.

Similar to what was mentioned before, I just wish the sides of the yak had a flat surface (similar to the Outback) to place Ram Mounts.

Overall, I'm still very pleased with this boat (which was purchased in early June) and already has well over 200 hours on it.

Rol


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:17 pm 
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Location: San Diego, CA
How dry is this boat? Can you Quest owners give me a rundown of your size/weight and how much gear your carrying and the resulting water in cockpit?

I'm about 220 and I carry about 25# of gear plus a bait tank that can add another 35# of water. That pushes me over 280#...how wet would my butt be?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:26 pm 
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I am also 220 pounds and carry approximately 35 pounds of gear. Simply put, my butt stays dry. It's got a 350 pound capacity and I believe that is probably real accurate.

Rol


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:02 am 
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Drew:
Speaking from the lighter side of 175 lbs, I've loaded the Quest with 2 ice chests, tent, camp tools, fishing stuff, and a full dry bag ..... never had an issue with a wet butt or water logged feet.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:17 am 
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Drew,
First, every time I use my Quest I am more convinced I made a good choice. My weight varies from 205 to 210 and I carry abut 25 pounds of gear plus a 24 quart Igloo ice chest. The only scupper plugs I use are those already in the seat area. I have used my Quest on large and small lakes (sometimes with white caps with the attendant splashing) and down at the coast on the flats and bays for redfish and specs. The water gets around .5 to .7 inch deep around the front scuppers (lowest point) and never gets anywhere close to getting in the seat area. One of the reasons I chose the Quest is it had so little water in the foot wells compared to the Tarpons I paddled.
Now, if you need little to no water in the foot wells, the Adventure is the ticket, albet a higher priced one. When I paddled the Adventure, the water was never out of the drive well.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:48 pm 
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Hey kyt,
Did you ever try our little experiment in lengthening the Quest rudder bungee to see if that permitted a better retraction of the rudder onto the deck?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:07 pm 
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Apalach, no, but I have a design in mind. The idea of threading a bungie through the rudder and making a u-turn towards the front of the boat for the extra length then attaching the end has my attention. Maybe This coming long weekend will provide the time, if I don't go fishing that is.
llt


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