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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:14 am 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:07 am
Posts: 1
I recently sold my one Outback Mirage drive kayak and sent the buyer this note of tips/thoughts as he had not owned one before - I am sure other more experienced forum members will be able to weigh in with other/better ideas:

I think you said you are new to kayaking or Hobie Mirage-drive kayaking - here are a few things to consider - which you are not told about but have to learn over time - much easier to know about them in advance but also check out the forums I list below:

• Get or make yourself a table-tennis (ping-pong) bat (ideally with slightly larger face e.g. shape of the Hobie paddle but a bit smaller) and attach about 3' of thin stretch/shock cord and attach a s/s clip at one end to attach near the seat - use this so you can easily 'reverse' when you get into tight corners. Having one for each side of your seat and hand may even be an idea but may not be necessary;
• Bear in mind with the turbo fins you don't have to push them all that hard or fast to move surprisingly quickly - you can go for hours like this;
• Best not to beach your craft without removing the Mirage drive as that will keep sand and grit out of the works. Many would say unnecessary precaution but over time it will make sense. Also others advise pull drive apart once every 800km or so and re-grease using only highest quality marine grease;
• The paddle is presently a one piece only due to the fish measure tape stuck to it - by slitting that at the appropriate spots/joins it becomes a two piece which is handy for transporting it;
• Download the accessories catalogue as a PDF from the Hobie site;
• To insert or remove the Mirage drive while the boat is on the ground:
o Get the locking screws in place in the boat - grooves facing inwards;
o Turn the boat on its side;
o Seat the drive in the well with fat side of the fins pointing forward - the trick is to get the front side down first;
o Lock the screws by twisting;
o Push pedals apart - attach locking cord - this keeps them flush with the hull bottom;
o Turn boat over (carefully if on concrete or similar).
• When in the boat set the pedals on the relevant number so that you can just about straighten your leg when the pedal is at its extremity - just like a bike;
• If you use the live bait PVC tube you will need to rig up a way to tie it to the side of the boat so that it sits parallel to the water out of the water when not in use but can then be lowered into the water when in use (with fish in it) - you may wish to drill more holes in each end for water passage but it works well as it is - very simple light system which works a treat with no need for batteries or motors etc. and keeps the fish fresh;
• I never kept fish inside the hull (not that I ever keep fish anyway) - once you get that smell in there not sure one would ever get it out;
• Get a short piece of strong cord with a s/s clip on the end so you can tie yourself up on a branch or post/pole if you want to stop for a drink or meal while on the water or maybe to wade a bit;
• Get yourself about 2/3m soft 15mm or so rope for the front for if you are ever wading/walking through shallow rapids (always better for the kayak bottom) - makes it easy to traverse them - also handy to tie the boat up;
• Loading on and off a high vehicle is easiest done using a Rhino side loader. I did it however by lifting one side up on to my rear rack from behind and then sliding it up and over - also quite easy;
• When first using the mirage drive - bear in mind if you come into shallows or where you think there are logs when you have your feet at their widest apart the fins are up against the hull under the water so don't bash into anything. You can do short strokes with feet wide apart in shallow stuff and still keep moving quite well. You will quickly get a sense for how to do this, especially when looking out for logs etc.
• The seat has a purplish cloth glued to it underneath (the stuff you use to stop things skidding around in draws) - a bit scruffy but it stops it sliding around (which is annoying). To clean it you use that stuff that takes glue and resin off things - it comes off by scraping and is quite easy to do;
• Because the pedals propel you forwards one of the best ways to fish in moving water - river or tide - is to pedal slowly against the direction of the water. You will learn to keep yourself almost dead still against such waters - very handy;
• When the boat is not in use open the hatches slightly - it dries out any moisture (and kills any smell) that may have crept in via the hatches;
• If you put anything in the hatches put it in a bag big enough to not to slide all over the place otherwise it may be hard to access. I never got one but should have bought a hatch bin which sits nicely under the lid. In the mid-section I have glued in plastic pipes to stop stuff sliding around;
• Be aware that the transducer is glued to the inside of the hull with Sikaflex silicon (inside a sponge frame) - accessible through the front hatch;
• Every now and then I sprayed the sounder and battery contacts with something (Inox or contact cleaner) or scrape them. I try to leave them and the sounder plug outside the boat hatch when not in use so they dry out properly;
• Always attach the battery tightly against the sail/sounder mast with the Velcro strap and remember to take the battery out before you turn it over and take it out of the water, otherwise the battery could become a bit of a missile in there! There is now a bracket you can get from Hobie for such batteries (which locks it to the mast shaft) which I have been meaning to acquire but never did - well worth it I would think;
• The best rod leash is in fact a thin piece of shock cord with a small plastic slip lock system (not sure of their name but any chandler or boat place will have them) and simply attach tightly to the bottom of your rod. Otherwise the bulky bought ones get in the way. The one supplied is best used for the paddle I found;
• If you are right-handed put the paddle on the left side of you and your rod on the right side and vice versa.
• If going down a river with some rapids always tie your rod down with tip out of the way - it is the first thing to catch a branch when you are concentrating on staying afloat;
• If you want to use the mirage system going down-river where there are rocky rapids I suggest using the shorter fins (or don't use the drive, just the paddle) - just prior to going through a rapid - lift the mechanism out and push the fins towards you under your seat - that will stop the mechanism banging on rocks. Make sure the mirage is attached securely to something by suitable cord - they are expensive to replace!
• The rod holders for the Scotty system are different to one another as one is for a spinning reel the other for a fly rod/reel - they can inter-change with a bit of ingenuity;
• Bear in mind the sounder only works once you are in water;
• Spray kayak down with fresh water after every use - especially mirage drive - even though we did it, it still had the paint peel a little bit on the mirage drive over time;
• Going in and out of the surf practice first with nothing in the boat - when you do take stuff make sure it is tied down - it is quite easy going out through swells but coming in sometimes it catches you on an angle and you can tip;
• Best way to protect the hull is with 303 Aerospace Protectant - guys all over the world swear by it - it has 40SPF protection against UV built in - this firm has it - www.carcareproducts.com.au;
• Never tie the kayak down with the hull pushing down on a rack or something hard like that, especially in hot weather - have the top side rest on those hard sections -otherwise it can dent it - if you do happen to dent it badly or have an accident and do so you can get the dent out quite easily using compressed air into the rear drain plugs and pouring close to boiling water over the damaged section and then massaging it - it pops out to shape again - never done it but seen it on YouTube and it does work;
• Also don't over-tighten the straps when tying the boat down - just enough is enough. It is safer to tie the nose to something near the front bumper with thin cord;
• Generally I avoided leaving it lying down anywhere in the hot sun not that they can't take it;
• Scratches can be tidied up using a heat gun and knife and it works remarkably well. I have seen it done but never really done it other than try one or two. Most guys (me included) just accept that these craft do scratch a bit and it's not a big deal;
• One of the best life jackets to consider for kayak use are the Ultras but you may simply go for a self-inflating job nowadays;
• Good websites and forums are http://www.akff.net/ and www.kfdu.com.au. It is worth joining both. Stacks of information and lots of helpful people - you will find guys from all over the world are members and chip in with tips - very handy. I would also suggest registering with the Hobie forum - lots of useful stuff - viewforum.php?f=26;
• The only minor snags I have ever had with the boat:
o that one of the plastic lugs on the seat came off (simply worked itself loose with use) - unbeknown to me it had fallen off in my vehicle and I only found it after having paid ten bucks to a Hobie dealer to send me this little plastic tube/lug - if I remember I will put in the one I found as a spare for you in case it happens again which is unlikely as I have tightened them up;
o that one of the fins used to come loose due to the tightening pin (which required an Allen key) working loose. I replaced it with a newer system and it has been spot on ever since;
o the zips on the bag behind the seat locked up a bit - I would wash those after every use in brackish or salty water, especially if you won't use the kayak for a while.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:24 am 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:00 am
Posts: 12
Some great tips, love the ping pong paddle idea!

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