Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Brief Encounter -

The Ho­bie Mi­rage Tan­dem Is­land is truly push­ing the def­i­ni­tions en­joy­ment out on the wa­ter on small craft, be­ing nei­ther pure sail­boat nor pad­dle pow­ered.

Not only does it have enough sail area to com­fort­ably break seven knots, Ho­bie’s patented Mi­rage 180 drive sys­tem uses your most pow­er­ful mus­cles to pad­dle – your legs, mean­ing you can pad­dle faster and for longer in these typ­i­cally beamy types of ‘sit-on-top’ kayaks. This tan­dem also, un­usu­ally, per­forms just as well in solo mode with all con­trols be­ing ac­ces­si­ble from both seat­ing po­si­tions.

It doesn’t take much imag­i­na­tion to think of the nu­mer­ous sce­nar­ios the Tan­dem Is­land would ex­cel in, but one of the more en­joy­able dis­cov­er­ies I found was the abil­ity to pad­dle through the tack, some­thing that cata­ma­ran sailors will ap­pre­ci­ate in par­tic­u­lar.

The set-up time from go to whoa is also im­pres­sive, as Ho­bie has paid close at­ten­tion to the assem­bly de­tail mean­ing you can be in the wa­ter in less than 20 min­utes from ar­riv­ing at the carpark. The weight (84kg) and length (2.9m) of this kayak will re­ally test your roof rack, so make sure it’s rated for the load and don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the ef­fort to get it on and off your roof. You may be well ad­vised to in­vest in ei­ther a trailer or roof-mount­ing sys­tem.

There are more mov­ing parts and po­ten­tial points of fail­ure which for some will mean they will be cau­tious about giv­ing up their cata­ma­ran or sea kayak, but this is a small con­sid­er­a­tion, espe­cially given the in­her­ent re­dun­dancy of­fered in this hy­brid de­sign.

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