We tend to think of tandems as two person machines, but, in fact, they also make an excellent solo kayak, with good performance and tons of room for just about anything.
Saturday I used the Oasis on an annual trash pick-up excursion at a local wildlife estuary on one of the coastal lagoons. The tandem worked out perfectly as a trash barge. Here, assigned as a rear guide, the Oasis is hauling some of our "loot" while also towing a straggling paddler.
For this, I was using 15 lb. of ballast in the bow and (borrowing Stringy
's idea) a well plug filled with 12 lb. of lead and sand. Keeping the ballast low and forward as much as possible requires a lot less, so I used the front hatch to slide it all the way forward.
I've had the tandem out many times solo, but today for a change of pace, I took the Oasis out just to see how it performs solo compared with some of the other single Hobie kayaks. I added another 28 lb. of ballast that sits in the front drivewell (no trash this time). The three weights, totaling 55 lb, look like this:
This gives the boat a reasonable compromise between pushing a lot of dead weight and having the bow sky high. There seems to be a point of diminishing returns.
So, what kind of performance does the Oasis provide solo? Primary stability is about the same, but with the ballast low, secondary stability is outstanding. Turning (using the sailing rudder with winglet) is crisp and tight, especially with the fins down. Acceleration is somewhat slower with the extra weight, but cruising speed is quite good. This has to be the driest ride in the Hobie fleet!
Using turbofins (naturally), in exactly one hour, the ballasted Oasis went 5.01 (GPS) miles. For me, this is almost as fast (within .1 mph) as the Revo and about .2 mph faster than the new Outback (in comparable one hour cruises), and is actually faster than when my wife and I go out together. Not bad at all! This goes to show that while weight may be a big deal on land, it doesn't really mean much on the water in actual use (within reason). Having the boat sitting well on the water is much more important.
Sprinting, the Oasis got to 6.6 mph solo. Paddling with the rudder down, tracking was very good and speed maxed out at 5.0 mph. With the extra weight, acceleration for boat wakes was a little slower, but once aboard the wakes, the rides were excellent. In two rides today I got up to 7.5 and 8.6 mph (GPS).
The Oasis is just as much fun to operate solo as the singles. It's reasonably fast and agile, yet it has gobs of space forward for kids, dogs, trash, gear, or even a large custom fish storage well for Aloha Dan's
Tandem or solo, if you're looking for just one boat that can do everything well, the Oasis is as versatile a kayak as you'll find!
PS: Regarding ballast, Stringy
reports using about a 70 lb. bag of water (doesn't have to be carried, just dumped out) and an additional 20 lb. in his well plug, so there's lots of other great ideas. There's also some variation in thought as to what constitutes adequate ballast. In any event, the use of ballast brings out the excellent solo performance in the Oasis.