My local Hobie dealer, Wilderness Way in Tallahassee, sponsored an awesome kayak demo day today at Lake Hall in Maclay Gardens State Park. Hobie turned out in full force by way of their SE rep Rob Abbott who did a great job in keeping his Hobies on the water for a full 5 hours. In attendance were the new Adventure, the Quest Fisherman, the new Outback, a Lanai, a Kona paddle-only tandem, a Sport and the brand new Outfitter Mirage tandem. I was excited not only to see up close and personal the new Adventure, but also to field-test it. Let me tell ya right up front that all your suspicions about the Adventure being fast were right on the money. Unfortunately, I did not have a GPS or pitot speedometer, so I could not verify just how fast it was, but it would have put my Outback to shame. Rob indicated that it was around 7 mph on water without surfing-type swells that can boost the speed significantly.
Rob's demo model that I tested turned out to be the first one made from the new mold, and he indicated that Hobie has continued to fine tune some of its features, including the rudder. So at the risk if boring the heck out of everyone, and with the old maxim that a pic is worth a 1000 words, here is a run-down of some of the Adventure's features.
1. First pic shows my (wife's) rigged Sport next to the Adventure (i.e., BigA) that is nearly 6 1/2 feet longer.
2. Second pic shows the full length of the BigA. Note the size and shape of the rudder. This is an early version of the new rudder that is expected to be somewhat different when the boat is finally released to dealers in a few weeks.
3. Amidships, each side of the boat has a handy mesh-covered storage pocket. Note also the hull opening just in front of the mesh pocket where the dagger board is inserted when sailing.
4. This dagger board opening is plugged with a foam rubber insert when not sailing.
5. And here is the dagger board itself, complete with its own scabbard or sheath, lying on the after deck of the new Outback for scale. Note the rounded upper end. Although there is no hull recess for the dagger board to rotate up into, it can rotate up against the underside of the hull if you unexpectedly hit an underwater obstacle of some sort. This leaves about three inches of width below the hull as opposed to about 30 inches, when fully extended.
6. Here is the view of the open front hatch and cockpit of the BigA. Note the mast step opening just aft of the hatch. Note that the front hatch can be easily removed when touring/camping to serve as a supper plate, writing board, or computer stand.
7. Finally, just to prove I actually got to pedal/paddle this baby, here is a view from the cockpit forward. I made certain that I kept my legs out of the pic for fear of offending the reader's sensibilities. It is kind of interesting to note that the amount of water in the well around the Mirage drive seems to be considerably less than in my Outback. This is an indication to me of the excellent stability of the BigA. In fact, its stability seemed to me to be considerably better than in my OB: i.e., less tippy and less prone to leaning sharply to one side when digging in for a strong reverse paddle stroke, for example.