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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Location: Springfield, MO
I entered into a partnership with St. Louis Sail and Paddle in an effort to change the perception of pedal drives in the MR340. It is a 338 mile race across Missouri on the Missouri River. More info: www.rivermiles.com

The previous pedal drive record was 63 hours 36 minutes. The race is open for any one person boat to enter as a mens solo, but there is also a pedal drive division to promote the boat type. It is the race directors opinion that in the next few years there will be a solo winner powered by a pedal drive, not a paddles surfski. Until this year, noone thought much of that.

In a stock Adventure, I was able to push this topic to the forefront. With a low river and an average 2.4-3 mph current, I was able to complete the 338 miles in 48hours, 29 minutes. This was good for sixth boat overall and third solo boat across. A pedal drive record by over 15 hours. Unofficial plastic boat record of 4 hours. I had a moving average of 7.28, and an overall average of 6.97. I covered 183 miles in the first 24 hours.

In the 8 year history of the race, here are some staggering stats:
1500 Boats have registered
1203 Boats have started
830 boats have finished
56th best time ever
20th best solo time
17th best men's solo
Record Plastic Boat
Record Pedal Drive

In a world of carbon fiber and surfskis, this has made a dent.

The problem is this: I feel like this boat could not go much faster in similar river levels. To win the solo, you might need to go as fast as 36-41 hours or 8.5-9.3mph overall average.

With races like the MR340, Yukon Challenges, Everglades challenge, Etc.:
Would Hobie consider developing this new, rising segment of kayaking?
A lighter hull? 30lbs rather than 75+?
Longer? 18-24 feet
Kevlar? Carbon?

As more racers realize what I have about the efficiency and race potential of the Mirage and other pedal driven systems, I would hate to see other developers tap this area first. At the finish line and awards there was an emence amount of talk and plans being voiced of building carbon rigs and engineering a pedal system. I feel that the development and manufactured parts behind the mirage is far ahead of what can be hand made in the next few years of this race as far as reliability is concerned.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Reeves


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:50 pm 
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Awesome!!

We are interested. I also bet there are some things in our R&D process that would help already. I'll send our chief engineer (Jim Czarnowski / EC multi-timer) a link to this topic.

Just fantastic!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:10 pm 
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Location: High Point, NC
Obviously the Mirage Drive has the potential - it has been mated with craft that were intended for a wide variety of recreational activities which reduces its overall ability in a singular, strictly performance oriented event.

Not sure what the market would be, but am convinced in a lightweight shell aimed only at speed, the MD would be most remarkable.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Great Scott -- that's an amazing feat! It appears that none of the other 5 pedaling craft even finished the race, so you had a leg up on the competition so to speak. I wonder what they were driving. !t appears that 83 out of 263 entries didn't finish this year, attesting to the extraordinary difficulty of this race -- so your achievement is all the more remarkable. In blowing out the previous pedaling record by 15+ hours, I think your and Hobie's legacy are both secure, at least in the short term -- nothing even close!

Great personal achievement and an exemplary testament to the Mirage Drive's durability! I'll bet you were pretty sore for a few days :mrgreen:

BTW, congratulations on exceeding your fundraising goal for the Living Water International organization, and dedicating your time and talent to that worthy cause. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:21 pm 
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Roadrunner,

Thanks! The race is difficult. We had 344 boats of varying types and sizes enter the race. From Solo to dragon boats. Annually, 20% of those who sign up don't make it to the start light for any number of reasons. 30% don't finish. The tandem drive was an Oasis. Two of the other solos were adventures. The wildcard was a home built system that did not start due to drive train malfunction. One of the adventures blew their idler pulley early in the race and attempted to paddle the adventure. He did not have the spare parts with his ground crew to fix the issue. I had reservations trusting that a mechanism as complex as the mirage drive would behave the whole race, so I had a spare parts kit AND a spare drive with my ground crew.

I have committed to joining two of my friends in a three person rig for next years 340, but if I can find my way into a fast enough pedal drive, I would like to enter as a mens solo in 2015 and go for the individual win to fully change the perceptions of pedal drives. I'd also like to extend that perception to other races like the Everglades Challenge and other open or flat water races.

Any suggestions or experimental developments from Hobie would be interesting to work with.

Reeves


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:20 pm 
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huckmonkey :

That's an amazing feat especially on a recreational kayak like the Adventure.

The pro Kayaks and canoes are ultralight (around 20-25 lbs) and usually very long 21-25 ft long and very narrow. The Kamanu boats are actually proa's (with one AMA)

I was able to see a couple in action earlier this year down in Islamarada, FL, there was a family with a couple of them on their roof at Fiesta Key, FL where we were staying. The boats they had are made in Hawaii by Kamanu composites. He had an Aukahi which is rudderless, and a tandem of similar design.
Kamanu has a newer SOT model called the Pueo that might be a good candidate for a mirage drive. ( http://www.kamanucomposites.com/pueo).
I have seen several home built kayaks and boats with Mirage drives installed, basically what they do is build a box (with fairly high walls) into the bottom of the hull, then fit the mirage drive in.
I believe each of their boats is custom built, so adding a mirage drive socket during construction might not be out of the question for them. Of course you would need to supply the patented Mirage drive.
I'm sure there are other brands out there also that might be more easily fitted with a mirage drive, the only ones I have seen in action are those Kamanu boats. I'm no expert in this area at all, but I do have eyes, and the people in that Kamanu boat were going at an amazing rate and looked to be able to maintain that rate effortlessly. They were way faster than my Tandem Island could ever go and left me in the dust.
Hopefully Hobies skunkworks has a high speed mirage drive in the works along with something similar to the Kamanu boats.

Good luck
Bob


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:29 pm 
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huckmonkey wrote:
One of the adventures blew their idler pulley early in the race and attempted to paddle the adventure. He did not have the spare parts with his ground crew to fix the issue.
What a cruel irony! He Ass-u-me-d the Drive was non functional -- in fact it was still 100% usable without the idler cable. It pays to know your equipment!

Anyone who has reversed their Drive has effectively operated without the idler in play. The idler's primary function is to intercept and redistribute part of the thrust generated by each pedal stroke to the opposite side. It's secondary function is to reduce potential shock load from cable slack. Without the idler, all thrust carries through the rear cable. This shortens the expected life of that cable and system shock shortens the life of all the parts, but does not impact functional operation until something else breaks.

So we could say the idler is critical to the reliability of the Drive but not to performance. The competitor with the failed idler cable could have continued with the Drive and taken his chances that it wouldn't fail until after the race (and saved his paddling option as a back-up later if necessary). His probability of making it all the way with his Drive would have been good.

Another takeaway on this issue -- proper tuning (balancing the cables) impacts not only Drive performance but also reliability. In that regard, how did your Drive hold up during the race amid your concerns? 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:29 am 
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Actually, I left that part out. It was quite frustrating for him. He blew the idler pulpy in the first few miles. His wife ran to the shop to pick one up. She was on her way across the state to meet him and they would repair at one of the checkpoints. He continued to use the drive, but fifty miles later, the rear drive chain snapped, also damaging the plastic sprocket. He could not fold the drive flat to paddle, and he did not bring the drive plug. So he pulled it. As he paddled the hobie, water would pour in every stroke. He gutted through past halfway through the course until frustration, fatigue, and skin hotspots from paddling set in.

I commended his tenacity, but needless to say, he has a bad taste in his mouth as his drive was then in need of a lot of work. Hobie was awesome, and sent parts right away to St. Louis Sail and Paddle so their shop can replace the broken.

I had just learned of the idler pulley myself three weeks before the race. I was on a 74 mile training run on the Missouri and mine blew. At the time, I only had 150 miles on the drive. I paddled four miles to a ramp at 51 miles and called it a day. I was frustrated and doubted that the drive would hold up for the race. Hobie sent a replacement pulley. I then built a more extensive parts kit for the drive for use in the race. I also borrowed a backup drive from St. Louis Sail and Paddle.

During the race, I had 79 miles to go and started feeling a new clicking sound. I checked the cable tension and could not find the issue. I cautiously limped in to the next checkpoint at 7 mph. When I arrived at the checkpoint with 69 miles to go, I had my ground crew swap my turbo fins to the spare drive as well as the leash while I walked to loosen up. I got in with the other drive and continued to the finish.

When racing, you have to find a way to take other precautions no matter how well you have lubricated and tensioned the drive. It is still a mechanical part that has many things working to thrust you forward. Those same things that push you might break and keep you from forward motion. Of course it is simpler with a hull and a paddle. Your hull is fine unless you smash into something, and your paddle might break under stress, which is why you carry a spare and a few in the support car. I had luckily thought about worst case scenarios and had both spare paddles, parts, and a drive.

After the race, I cleaned and lubricated as usual, but I have not taken the time to troubleshoot the reason the chain is trying to jump off the sprocket during each full extension pedal stroke making the clicking/grinding noise I experienced during the race. It's on the list for this week, but I'm sure it would have survived the last leg if the race. I had another option, so I used it to spare my drive additional stress.

If I was to race in a faster hull with the mirage drive in 2015, I would want a personal spare drive that I have tuned and lubricated regularly. It was hard to trust the borrowed demo drive, but it worked and got me through the last 69 miles.

Ultramarathon racing at that level might require a bigger turbo fin set and stronger Mirage drive to accept the load. I am convinced that for those coming to experience the race and just focusing on finishing in the 88 hour time limit, there is not much better option for stability and speed that the adventure. The ease of pedaling at a 60-70 hour pace would surely limit the number of DNF in the race. 65-70 hour pace also has more comraderie not to mention my favorite views: at night, the string of navigation lights 4 miles up and down river showing the channel under the full moon.

...but it would be nice to have the hull and drive system to go fast and shoot for 40 hours, or the solo record of 37:46, or the overall record of 35:58.

Thanks,

Scott Reeves


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:46 pm 
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Scott, thanks for providing the rest of the story and the additional information on your Drive. Carrying a spare for an event like this was definitely the smart move!

Lets hope Hobie has something in the works for a faster boat -- it would be exciting to provide some serious competition to those surf skis (but without having a high risk of capsizing!). :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:24 am 
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Roadrunner :
I know very little about kayak/surfski racing, have never been on a surfski, but as a kayaker looking at surfski's my thoughts are that they are easily tipped over, and that the operator needs to be well skilled in the use of their paddles, though I don't know first hand, I would think that 75% of the stability in something that narrow comes from the skilled use of the paddle to maintain balance (like tight rope walker Nik Wallenda).
The thought process in my above mentioning the Kamanu composites rig is that this appears to be a surfski (very narrow/long racing type hull SOT) with the addition of a 4 lb Proa for added stability in those huge Hawaiian waves.
Now fast forward to taking the paddle away from the surfski racer (you would have to pry it from their dead hands LOL), and mount a Mirage drive in it's place. Yes he is using totally different (much stronger and durable) muscle groups with their legs for propulsion, but the boat itself probably doesn't have the necessary primary/secondary stability to be able to not capsize without a skilled paddler and his paddles. As soon as you increase the width and stability, like the Adventure (which was designed from the ground up for use without those important paddles), then there is a price to pay on the speed.
To make a long story short (too late), my thought would be to start with a Proa type SOT surfski design add the mirage drive. Of course the foot steering would need to be converted to hand steering (maybe keep both). The reason for keeping both would be if you fit a drive plug into the Mirage drive socket, the boat can be paddled no differently from any other surfski. So the racer can alternate between muscle groups (giving his muscle group a rest), and still make headway. In bursts he could use both pedals and paddles for burst speed (like we do on our Adventures).
Watching those Proa's in action, the AMA is out of the water 99% of the time. Because it's way out to the side of the boat it acts just like Nik Wallendas balance beam (Nik is the tight rope walker from Sarasota that just crossed the Grand Canyon for those that don't know who he is), so in a skilled racers hands it never touches the water. At least that's how the guy explained it to me, and what I observed as he left me and my Tandem Island (which is Hobies fastest kayak) in the dust.
Now the rub is going to be to get any surfski racer to even listen to you (not going to happen), or any racing surfski manufacturer to not throw you out of their office bodily, that will be the challenge.

Scott:
We are all rooting for you
Bob

As a side note, I live a mile or so from Nathan Benderson Park, which is a world class rowing and aquatic sports center ( http://worldclassrowing.com/). This is where Nik Wallenda practiced for his Grand canyon walk, and we went up to watch him practice. Benderson Park will hopefully be the location for the 2017 world rowing championships. It would be great if we can expand their offerings to kayak and surfski racing events as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:52 am 
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Agreed.

For the 340, surfskis are often set up with rear amas that act as training wheels for the fatigued paddling at the end of the race or when the wind picks up.

This type of long, lean setup would provide the lightweight hull with minor drag from the hull and the Amas.

In my opinion, the adventure is an ideal production vessel for most of those attempting to finish the mr340. With its stability and proven design as well as a manufactured parts options to build replacement kits, it is ideal. But to take on the mr340 as a full on race, it would be difficult to reach the 36-40 hour time necessary to truly compete for the solo or tandem crown.

A note for the mr340: the surfski and carbon fiber racer has had their paddle driven world rocked. Many looked at the performance of the adventure and realized what many of us already know about the pedal driven opportunities. The next two years will be different.

Reeves


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:25 pm 
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X3.

These guys all love speed and they're much faster than the Adventure.
Image

Something like this OC-1 would make a great Mirage Drive platform!
Image

Here's a Mirage Drive adaptation that showed up on the forum last year -- almost too beautiful to get wet!
Image
And maybe too skinny to use without an outrigger of some sort. Nevertheless, tantalizing! 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Roadrunner:
Here is a little more information on the mirage drive surfski you showed the pic of ( http://www.commarts.com/exhibit/nichola ... ncept.html ). All in I think they said it was around 30 lbs.
My opinion is adding a Proa outrigger to something like this would blow just about everything else out of the water, of course the paddle guys would need to work on and develop their leg muscles up to the level us pedal guys have.
I spent a week in the cabin next to the family with the Kamanu Proa's and we were both out pretty much every day, I don't recall seeing his outrigger ever touching the water more than a couple times, I assume he was a pro, and had his systems, technique and balance down to a science. Since I'm not from that world ( I'm more of an expedition guy), it was all new and foreign to me.
All I know for sure is I was really impressed and humbled by his stuff, I am pretty good on my TI (which I think is faster than the adventure), and after pedaling Hobie Mirages every weekend for quite a few years now, my legs are pretty good. He was not just a little faster, he was way faster than me. My opinion is it has everything to do with the hull design and length, adding a mirage drive to such a design would give you a huge advantage. Personally I think Hobie could turn this industry (sport) on it's ear with their knowledge and knowhow.
Bob


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:16 pm 
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I have some experience with sailing proas. The single Ama is intended to be kept out of the water as much as possible. It is there for balance and is kept on the windward side. It's for balance and allows the main hull to be very narrow and fast. Ideally, you want it a few inches to a foot out of the water. A pure paddling proa may be different, but any time the ama touches the water your wetted area increases. I don't think they want theirs in the water either.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:04 am 
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Reeves, wow! And congrats! Keep us posted along the way. :o

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