I got to borrow the new Hobie tandem inflatable for the weekend and took full advantage of the opportunity. Since the tandem is very similar to the single that has already been reviewed, I'll try not to be too redundant.
We took it on the Salt River in Phoenix and will report on that later, but for now, here's some of the basics:
Out of the box, it looks like this:
2 1/2 minutes later it looked like this (yes, I was racing). Note some of the detail, such as 5 hand grips along the gunwales large sailing rudder and dual paddle holders:
The cart can be inserted at either of the drives:
It's very easy to handle off the bed extender on the truck:
It handles quite nicely as a solo -- requiring no ballast forward:
Solo, Cruising (with Turbofins) is about 3.9 MPH (GPS); tandem, 4.4 MPH. Sprint speed is approximately 5.2 solo and 6.0 tandem. With the passenger seat empty, there is tons of room forward; you could even pitch a tent and sleep there! Wind was light to moderate and control was excellent. If you're just sitting in the water, the wind can push you around though. The cockpit area stayed dry, although there wasn't much chop. Handling with the sailing rudder was reasonably good, but not quite as crisp as the regular Hobie kayaks. The larger (heavier) rudder was correspondingly more difficult to raise and lower, but manageable. As with the single, holding air overnight was excellent. Stability is superb!
There was no sail available so we didn't get to look at sailing characteristics. The set-up is similar to the single though.
Overall, the tandem is 2 feet longer but about as easy to handle as the single, is portable, fast and easy to set-up and break down, or can be left inflated. With two aboard, it doesn't have a lot of cargo area like the single, but gobs of weight capacity (600# if I remember correctly, giving it the highest load capacity of all the Hobies); a fun and versatile boat!