Those who have purchased recent boats may have noticed Hobie's latest Mirage Drive improvement -- a redesigned spine
. Although the old version has been virtually trouble free over the years, several improvements mark the newest version.
Perhaps the most noticeable change is the full length skirt. Hobie has attempted to mitigate fin-surge
in the drivewell for some time, occasionally with undesired side effects. This seems to have solved the problem well. Keeping the surge
out of the well makes the Drive run more efficiently. In this view, you can see the comprehensive coverage of the skirt vs the much smaller Drive Seal.
This design increases the rigidity of the Drive as well. Note the skirt also incorporates an updated Drive alignment pin.
From the front view, some of the smaller detail can be examined. In this next view, the green highlight shows an example of the additional reinforcement for idler and sprocket shaft mounts (new spine
on left). The red highlight area exemplifies below the waterline streamlining at the nose and tail of the spine
. You'll also notice that something is missing -- there is no longer a provision for the pitot-tube speedometer. Evidently in these GPS days it has been deemed obsolete. I use my pitot-tube constantly and will miss having it available!
This final picture shows the more robust profile shape. Again the streamlined shaft retainers can be compared, a more convenient location for the tether attachment (green highlight), and omission of the pitot-tube holder (red).
Fitment dimensions are very close. The new spine
extends the leading edge about 1/8" deeper for better fin clearance. Length is 1/8" shorter. I suppose this is to insure a better universal fit. In any event, it fits well and works flawlessly with my 2010 Adventure. The only modification necessary for older boats is to cut off the alignment pins.
Overall, the new spine
is a solid improvement. Well thought out, it incorporates several innovations. I especially like the streamlining and surge
elimination. It's only shortcoming that I can see is the loss of pitot-tube capability. FWIW, the old spine
is still in service and used with the inflatable series.