After my first look at the new Sport last year, I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to rig the same kind of RAM mount outriggers on the Sport that I had installed on the Outback. There were several reasons for this, not the least of which was the lack of a stern deck hatch that could provide access to the underside of the gunwales behind the seat. This is where I thought it was necessary to install the backing plate, and nuts. Although I used lock washers, flat washers, and standard nuts beneath the backing plate on my Outback, I finally realized that the single Nylock locking nuts should work just as well, plus they are one heck of a lot easier to position and install. Duh!
Since the rear gunwale was not accessible, I finally decided to try to get inside the hull thru the forward hatch. Now, I had originally thought that this would be a terrible place to mount outriggers since they might interfere with the paddle stroke. Turns out I was mistaken on that count. No problems with the paddle interfering with the forward mounted outriggers, as it turned out. Besides, in a Hobie Mirage I have found that once I get underway I rarely use my paddle anyway, except to back down occasionally, as well as to launch and land.
Finally, after sticking my forearm through the forward Sport hatch and groping around a bit, I realized that my arm was about 1-2 inches too short to reach the underside of the forward deck where I could mount the RAM ball. I needed to be able to reach the flat spot just ahead of the forward gunnel tray in order to position the backing plate and hold the Nylock nuts. Now, as luck would have it, my 6-2 tall, youngest son happened to be home, so I snagged him between his workouts and measured my forearm against his. Aha-his arm and fingers were about 1-2 inches longer than mine! And that was what I estimated would be necessary to reach the spot I had in mind. So he got drafted for the KSC, (the Kayak Service Corps), i.e., ME and my Sport! I also later found out that one could also reach the forward gunwale thru the midships hatch just in front of the seat in the Sport, perhaps even easier. Duh again!
Several years ago, KFS's Joey came up with the marvelous idea of using RAM rocket launcher rod-holders to hold PVC arms upon which one could mount lobster pot buoys for outrigger floats. Based on the first reports from others who were attempting this on other makes of boats, I decided to try this for the first time on the Outback. To prevent hull flexing and possible damage, it seemed that a stiff metal backing plate would be necessary to serve as a giant ï¿½washerï¿½ beneath the hull and the RAM mount. Lowe's and Home Depot both sell a 1/8ï¿½ thick 3 foot long, 2 inch wide piece of flat aluminum stock. I cut off a piece of this on my band-saw that was just slightly larger than the RAM ball base diameter, as you can see in the first pic below.
I then used the RAM ball base as a template to drill four 13/64ï¿½ holes thru the aluminum backing plate. The pic shows the backing plate at the left with the four Nylock nuts that we used to secure the RAM ball. I didn't want to have any holes in the hull that would be large enough for water entrance, so I chose a 11/64ï¿½ bit for the actual hull drilling. This provides a tight enough fit for the four 1 inch #10 SS machine screws so that one has to actually use a Phillips head screwdriver to drive the machine screws into the hull. The RAM ball is already in position just ahead of the port-side, forward gunwale tray with the four screws already in place inside the hull. My son then reached thru the forward hatch to maneuver the backing plate up around the machine screws that had penetrated the hull. This turned out to be trickier than I thought, and I had to back off several of the screws so he could position the backing plate up flush against the underside of the hull. He then had to maneuver the Nylock nuts onto the screws, and get them started by hand. He used a 1/4 inch ratchet to tighten/hold the Nylock nuts, while I held/turned the screws from above with the Phillips screwdriver. To make a long story short(er), we finally got all four nuts into position and snugged them into place to provide a pretty solid mount.
Note the final position of the first RAM ball on the deck just ahead of the forward, port-side gunwale tray containing the anchor. We then mounted another RAM ball on the starboard side, as above. The unattached RAM rocket launcher/outrigger and hand clamp is to the left. I used a file to roughen up the rubber coating on the ball so as to provide more friction for the clamp. Once the clamp is snugged down, you can actually pick up the entire boat by the RAM tube alone, and it won't slip. Next is a pic of the final installation with the outrigger attached, looking towards the stern.
Here is a closer view of the entire outrigger. The thick-walled PVC arm is 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 30 inches long. The lobster pot buoys are from Hamilton Marine in Maine and are 5x11 inches in size. I have been using these on my Outback for over a year now. They work great, and are extremely easy to attach and remove using the single clamp on the side of the RAM tube. They are especially useful for providing excellent stability when sailing as well. The 5x11 inch size works just fine, so there is no need to go to the larger 6x14 inch size lobster pot buoy that is a lot bulkier, as well as being harder to store and transport.