If I had one criticism of the Hobie Adventure, it would have to be its rotund turning radius. Similarly, helm response is comparitively sluggish. At 16' and a straight keel line, it takes its own sweet time getting around to changing headings with the standard rudder.
I was curious to try out the larger rudder and see if it made much difference. Longer and wider, it possesses twice the area (and twice the weight) of the original.
At first glance it looks like overkill, and I was tempted to shape it down a bit. Fortunately, I decided to take it out for a test run first.
The "Big R" is definitely an improvement. Turning radius is reduced significantly. Additionally, responsiveness is greatly enhanced. When this rudder tells the boat to respond, the response is no longer "maybe", but "yes sir!" Likewise, low speed steerage and control are noticably better. Although I havn't tried the sail kit yet, this would make a huge difference in tacking ability (changing direction upwind).
I like to engage in the bizzare practice of riding the swells of boat wakes, etc. The Adventure has got the speed to do it. The only problem is its tendancy to broach. This larger rudder all but eliminates the problem.
The only downside has to do with it's weight (20 oz.). The "Twist and Stow" system will handle it, but the added weight feels like it might be straining the system a bit when lifting the rudder up onto the hull. Every other aspect, including moving in and out of the lock position is no problem. It's not a big issue, but a possible area for improvement.
Overall, I would give this product an "A+". The large rudder greatly enhances responsiveness in all respects. With it, the Adventure handles less like a truck and more like a sports car. Priced at about $22, it offers a lot of bang for the buck. I highly recommend it as one of your first upgrades!