After a 3 generation evolution over 10 years, say goodbye to the old Oasis. It closed its remarkable run in 2010 as the oldest existing Mirage Drive kayak. Say hello to a completely new tandem, coincidentally also called the Oasis. The only thing these two boats share is a common length and width.
So what's new about the new Oasis? A completely new hull, larger cockpits, bow hatch, cargo hatch, larger cargo well, rod holders, dual rudder controls, built in flotation, dual grips, front and rear. Then there are the little things like dual drink holders (F & R), dual mesh pockets (F & R), flat cockpit deck, wider cockpit rails for additional rod holders, new rudder mounting system, improved rudder up/down controls, dual scupper cart positions. So many of the new systems come from three years of research and development on Hobie's Tandem Island, it almost seems like you're stepping into a mini TI (without the amas)! Lets take a closer look....Hull:
Much of the rocker has been removed and volume has increased (again) although capacity is still listed at 550 lb. At the forward end of the front cockpit the new Oasis is 2" deeper and 4" narrower. It retains good buoyancy and runs quieter in the water. As you can see below, it takes on a whole new look (shown here is Hobie's new color "Olive", replacing last year's "Moss"):
The hull profile has been redrawn for even more stability. Capacity has been added in the stern to support a slight cockpit shift aft and heavier cargo loads (like the Hobie bait tank, which can now fit in the cargo well).
The new foredeck sports its own bow hatch. The opening measures 11" diagonally by 14" deep, with lots of room inside. The 6" front bulkhead hatch has disappeared. Also notice in this next picture the end of one of the new flotation pieces. For 2011, all Hobie kayaks meet the NMMA certification requirement for flotation (at least 10% of rated capacity)
Many don't realize that most if not all Hobie foredeck hatches have mounting holes for lines to secure your gear. Nice touch! This is the Oasis version:
The cargo well is slightly shorter and wider and much more usable. It now has its own 8" hatch and a pair of rear cart/drainage scuppers. Notice the added rod holders.
Here are some other pics of the hull you can click on to get an idea of the overall lines: Cockpits:
Both front and rear cockpits have gained length and are about as long as the Adventure cockpit. Seat width has increased about 2". Seating position drops slightly and the forward cockpit rails are held higher. Combined with the finer bow entry and greater depth, this gives a drier ride in the front seat in choppy conditions. Note in these views the dual cup bottle holders, dual mesh pockets, dual rudder controls and flat decks (for standing?). Grips are well placed for both passengers to use as desired. The soft grip material is pleasant to grasp. Grips are also used as paddle rests and can be a little awkward to grab with a paddle sitting on them -- still manageable though.
The smaller sail mount is now out of the way of the rear Drive in the full forward position. The grip between the cockpits is an optional accessory for easier solo handling.
The rear cockpit deck was raised as part of the capacity upgrade. Drive position feels quite comfortable unless you use the #7 pedal position -- your large feet may drag on the deck. Rudder system:
The rudder system sports several improvements. Dual controls allow total versatility in seating arrangements, whether solo or tandem. Both steering handles and up/down lines are replicated in both cockpits. Handles (and steering cranks) have been redesigned for all the 2011 kayaks. In addition to a new attachment system, the lighter colored handle material is very grippy. There is a threaded insert to which an optional steering knob (shown here) can be attached.
Rudder up/down pulls only require half as much effort to raise or lower the rudder as the previous version. When locking the rudder down with this increased leverage, be sure not to over-tension the line, as this can make the rudder difficult to move. Note the red and green labels on these handles tend to fall off eventually.
The rudder gudgeon is now part of the rudder assembly rather than molded into the boat. This solves some potential rotomolding problems and saves space as well. Here is a before and after comparison (click on image to enlarge): Handling:
The boat's 86 lb. weight is unchanged from the previous version. Carting with the front scupper holes balances the boat nicely for easy rolling. The new rear scupper holes not only drain the cargo well and provide circulation access for Hobie's optional bait tank, but serve as a secondary location to facilitate loading the boat in some circumstances.
As you can see, the new Oasis is a handsome boat, packed with Hobie's newest features and innovations. Next, we'll take a look at the boat's performance on the water. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=30997