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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:11 pm 
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Location: Escondido
Note: This is a three part article on the Hobie i12s inflatable. Part 1 is about portability -- unpacking and packing. See http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewt ... 2eb55ad3b7 Part 2 shows the boat's features. See http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=7650 Part 3 talks about on the water performance.


Part 3: Handling on the water

By the next morning, the hull still felt nice and firm, so no additional inflation was needed. There was wind on the lake which was perfect for checking out the sailing as well as wind effect on the hull.

Here's an end shot profile of the boat from the stern:
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Loaded up and ready to launch:
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This has to be the most stable monohull that Hobie makes. I'm sure I would fall off before getting this boat to capsize! Note also, with all my weight concentrated at one point on one air chamber, I can't even dent it much less bend it -- holds its shape splendidly.
Image

Heading out, rudder control was good. The new up-down system worked great as long as I remembered to uncleat before changing direction. Lifting and dropping the rudder was easy and the colored handle system insured that I didn't get confused.

The seating position is a little different in this boat, and I never could quite find the right position. This was somewhat frustrating. Perhaps the seat's ability to adjust fore and aft had something to do with it and I just didn't have it set up right. In any event, I had other priorities so I just lived with it. The Mirage Drive dropped in and locked instantly -- should be called "Drop-N-Go" to go along with the "Twist-N Stow" -- don't you know?! :D

When the wind comes up, most of the inflatable craft here get out of the water before getting blown ashore. The i12s, however, had no wind problems whatsoever. Here I'm pedaling into an 8 - 12 kt. headwind. With a "fast"cruising effort, my GPS speed is averaging 4.4 MPH (using Turbofins).
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Downwind yielded a 4.7 using the same effort. Casual cruising was about 4 to 4.2 MPH in mild conditions. In a calm area, top speed was 5.9 MPH. Paddling would normally be an emergency procedure for me, but for the sake of the test, I made an exception. I could manage 4.0 MPH paddling (max), but had to be careful of skinning my fingers on the wide gunnels.

Tooling around I managed to catch a couple of boat wakes. It was a blast in this boat -- I got up to 7.9 (GPS).
Image

I headed back in briefly to retrieve the sail. It folds compactly and could have easily been carried aboard, but for my first time I decided to rig it ashore. The shroud support system for the mast has the advantage of being adjustable for different wind conditions. Unfortunately Hobie didn't include a quick adjustment system, so every time I wanted to make a change I had to untie and retie the stays.

Why would one need to make adjustments? For one thing, this is an inflatable boat so temperature and wind create different levels of tautness that should be compensated for. Additionally, the boat carries a bit of weather helm; I was able to compensate for this fairly satisfactorily by raking the mast forward. Having a quick tension system would be a nice improvement.

But, now on to sailing! While not exactly in the Americas Cup category, the i12s is a respectable little sailer. The Turbofins served as a daggerboard, although there was about a 10 to 15 degree slideslip upwind. For an inflatable I'll take it any day! It was fun, VERY stable in winds that were now 12 to 15, gusting to 18 kts., and quite dry (except for the usual splash from chop). Speeds ran about 2.2 to 4.4, with a max of 5.1 MPH. Here's a pic heading upwind under sail:
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Here we're at the business end of the lake:
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and now for a little downwind action as she scoots along toward home:
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Summary:

I had no expectation to like this boat at the beginning. But by the end of the trial, I not only like it A LOT, but have decided that I would love to own one! It's easy to forget that this is an inflatable. For the first time, I can think about bringing a kayak along on trips without any special vehicle accommodations! For frequent use, you can just leave it inflated and treat it like a regular kayak. For those with small kids, there is tons of room behind the seat. For diving or extended trips there is room and buoyancy to carry loads of gear. As a tender, it is quick, versatile and compact. The bottom line is, it's impossible to walk away from an outing without a big grin on your face.

Favorite aspects: Technically, the new Drive cassette and 2nd generation T & S controls are great and I see a possible future application of these on the Hobie main line kayaks eventually.

Criticisms: The seat didn't work for me. In all fairness, it may have been simply an adjustment problem -- there just wasn't enough time to sort it out. For sailing, I'd like to see the rigging improved as noted. This isn't a criticism, but I would get the sailing rudder (and Turbofins), especially for sailing.

This boat exceeded my every expectation. It has nothing in common with all those other bags of air I've watched people struggle with except the word "inflatable". It's easy to pack, has simple, fast inflation, good manners and decent speed on the water, versatile and most of all, FUN! You have to try this to believe it.

End of a great day! 8)
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:34 pm 
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Location: Florida
Wow.

Your 3 part review is amazing. I want one and I'm not even in the market for another Kayak :lol:

Did you find the new Drop and Click type of mirage drive well to reduce much of the "washing machine" affect caused in some of the other mirage kayaks?

I wonder if things like cracked cam hull towers, striped cam bolts, broken/cracked cam locks, and drive well cracks would be reduced to zero with this new "drop & click" on all hulls?

One can easily see that Hobie has a great deal of engineering and innovation in a great new product.

I'm just jealous that you get to play with all the new toys. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:37 pm 
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Location: Escondido
Yakaholic wrote:
Did you find the new Drop and Click type of mirage drive well to reduce much of the "washing machine" affect caused in some of the other mirage kayaks?

Hi Yak,

I use a "slusherator" on all my drives to virtually eliinate the Drive surge in the drive well, and I think Hobie may be including their new "Drive Well Seal" (P. 20 in the new parts catalog) on these inflatables to accomplish the same thing. It's a fairly deep well though so I doubt that much if any would come in otherwise. Also, it is shaped a little differently than our standard drivewell.

Quote:
I wonder if things like cracked cam hull towers, striped cam bolts, broken/cracked cam locks, and drive well cracks would be reduced to zero with this new "drop & click" on all hulls?

I was thinking the same thing. This is a robust moulding and is beautiful in its simplicity of design. There would be some hurdles to overcome introducing it to the entire Mirage line, but those Hobie engineers are pretty darned clever!


Quote:
I'm just jealous that you get to play with all the new toys. :lol:

I've been really fortunate to be able to try out this new boat so soon -- am hoping to demo a Tandem in the next month or two and see how the wife likes it!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:50 pm
Posts: 461
Location: sacramento california
Hey Roadie.
Thanks for the 411 lo-down-ho-down on this new floatie yak.
Looks like the i12 could also be tied up to the back of an Adventure or Revo or whatever and then loaded with camping gear and provisions for an extended voyage or expedition.
Then again it looks like a blast just all by itself as well with some new cool features and being inflatable it could open up some whitewater river possibilities that may be tenative to attempt in our other Hobie Yaks.
So how much is that floatie going to cost fully loaded ?
Do you know if the standard mirage drive and standard sail kits from our rotomolded yaks will interchange with the i12's etc
Thanks again for the infomercial.. :wink:
.............Kepnutz


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:52 pm 
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Hi Kep,

I don't know the prices, but may have heard about $1800 for the single. I didn't see any information on the Hobie web site, but saw a couple of brief write-ups on the Internet.

The sail for the new boat looks similar in size to the old one, but it has 3 shrouds attached to hold up the mast (which just sits in a shallow pocket). The mast on this is a 3 piece (all connected by a bungee) that folds up into a smaller package for travel. Otherwise, I suspect the old 2 piece mast would work just fine. With your ingenuity, you could probably sew some detachable shrouds on the sail too! 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:15 am 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Hi RR,
Enjoyed reading your review. Well written as always.
What is a slusherator? Any pics?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:20 pm 
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Location: Escondido
stringy wrote:
What is a slusherator? Any pics?


This is one of my first mods several years ago. This first pic shows the rear portion of the drivewell where water surges in from the fin action.
Image

The Slusherator is simply a piece of foam attached to the drive to choke off this surge. For want of a better word, I just call it that.
Image

It's taped on the drive like this:
Image

Not only does it keep water from sloshing in (and dripping through the hatch in my Adventure), but it gives a small speed boost by redirecting that surge behind the boat rather than up and into it.


Hobie's version (pn: 81037001), should do a great job (and looks a lot nicer). 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 6:23 am 
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Hey RR,
Another great review--thanks! When I first checked the specs, I was a little put off by the weight, but I can see lots of possibilities. Wonder what the airlines would say if you wanted to bring one of these babies along, say to Alaska or B.C. for a little river-running, camping, and/or fishing?
Dick

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:17 am 
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Thanks RR,
I'm guessing the black hull is pretty tough material. I wonder if you are taking this boat down a river trip where there are rock ledges and/ or rapids at intervals, if you could pull the drive easily and quickly and take some bumps and scrapes and then easily pop the drive back in when you get back in deeper water. Or if you were on a whitewater river would this boat be a good one to paddle through lots of rapids? In other words, is it a pretty good rock boat?


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 Post subject: Excellent review
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:20 am
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Location: Southern Maryland
Thanks for all the info, Roadrunner. It looks like a lot of fun. Are the springs that hold the drive in stainless steel? How do you think they'd hold up in saltwater? Would they be easy to replace yourself?

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:40 am 
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Denizen, the black bottom is actually a second skin so if it were breached, the air chambers wouldn't necessarily be affected. The drain hole by the forward hatch actually drains off this area in case any water enters this outer skin.

The Drive cartridge has "V" shaped channels on each side, with a throat at the bottom, much like a hopper. When the Drive drumshaft drops into this throat, it trips the retaining locks. To remove, you flip the lock levers forward and lift the drive straight out. It takes 2 hands, but is a quick process. The Drive doesn't actually need the retainers to operate; without them, it just rocks a little bit in the throat. So the retainers just keep it from wiggling around -- not a high pressure retention like the cam locks.

Ictalurus, I'm pretty sure the Drive retention springs are stainless. As I remember, each mechanism has three pieces (including the spring) and is easily installed or removed with a stubby Phillips head screwdriver. The spring itself may be replaceable by simply unhooking it (not sure though -- maybe I can get some pics this weekend at the local dealer). 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:39 am 
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Location: oregon
Does any one know how rod holders will be mounted on the infllatable?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:48 am 
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Hey vagabond,
Welcome to the Hobie site, and a good question--mebbe duct tape?? Naaah--don't think so, but I'm sure some enterprising soul will figure this out in short order.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:06 pm 
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there is a super duper glue, rumor has it it's once installed the rod holder will be one of the strongest parts of the kayak!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:01 pm 
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vagabond wrote:
Does any one know how rod holders will be mounted on the infllatable?


There is an accessory rod holder mount kit. This glues to the hull rail and gives you a 4 bolt pattern mount that can accept Scotty and Ram / Scotty holder / adapters.

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