GEAR

Torqeedo’s Ul­tra­light Out­board Mo­tor gives kayaks op­tional oomph for go­ing far­ther, faster than pad­dles al­low.

Yachting - - CONTENTS | DEPARTMENTS - By Kim Kavin

The Ul­tra­light Out­board Mo­tor from Torqeedo flips down to help kayak­ers pad­dle a lit­tle bit far­ther, a lit­tle bit faster.

We’ve all been there: alone on a kayak at the end of an af­ter­noon pad­dle, near the edge of the har­bor, where the land is about to give way to what looks like an end­less ocean. What felt like a short dis­tance dur­ing the ex­hil­a­rat­ing pad­dle out now seems aw­fully far, look­ing back to­ward the yacht with tired bi­ceps and shoul­ders. And with the wind and current pick­ing up. In the wrong di­rec­tion. ¶ It’s the mo­ment for which the Torqeedo Ul­tra­light Out­board Mo­tor was cre­ated — the mo­ment when you still have a lit­tle bit of gas left in your tank, but when a 1 hp kick from a bat­tery-charged en­gine would sure help. ¶ Torqeedo makes two Ul­tra­light elec­tric mo­tors with mount­ing brack­ets that fit most kayak brands. The 403 model ($1,799) weighs about 20 pounds and can go al­most 25 miles on a bat­tery

charge, while the 403 C ($2,299) weighs a lit­tle more than 23 pounds and can go nearly 75 miles, ac­cord­ing to Torqeedo. Both mod­els come with GPS-based range cal­cu­la­tors, so kayak­ers will know how much time they have left be­fore need­ing to recharge, and both have steer and tilt fea­tures that are de­signed to work with a kayak’s ex­ist­ing steer­ing sys­tem. (Flats fish­er­men, take note.) ¶ Spare bat­ter­ies range from $599 to $899, for any­one who wants to pad­dle back to the yacht, swap out the power plant and keep the fun go­ing. For those with­out a spare bat­tery, recharge time is re­port­edly about 12 hours from a stan­dard elec­tri­cal out­let or USB port — and it’s pos­si­ble to recharge un­der­way us­ing a fold­able so­lar panel ($749) with an IP65-rated wa­ter­tight con­nec­tor. ¶ For safety, Ul­tra­light mo­tors are hooked into mag­netic kill switches that can at­tach to the pad­dler's wrist or per­sonal flota­tion de­vice, much like emer­gency shut off keys work aboard per­sonal wa­ter­craft. The sys­tem dis­en­gages the en­gine if the pad­dler goes over­board into the drink.

1. want to pad­dle, and into the wa­ter when they need a power as­sist. 2. The mag­netic kill switch loops onto a PFD or around a wrist, stop­ping the mo­tor if the kayaker goes over­board. 3. A so­lar recharge is pos­si­ble un­der­way with the op­tional, fold­out panel ar­ray.

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