Monday 13 September 2010

A Home Built Boat with Mirage drive

The Home Built Boat Rally rallied to the Cotswold Water Park over the weekend and brought the sun out. It rained on Saturday morning before I got there and was turning a bit nasty on Sunday afternoon when I left. Just how I like it.
The star exhibit was Tim O'Connor's Wotnext, a Walt Simmons canoe which he has fitted with a Hobie Mirage drive.
The Mirage drive has a pair of pedals driving flippers under the boat, flapping round like demented turtles. It is an incredibly elegant mechanism, just a couple of chains/cables transferring the power from the pedals to the flappers. And it drives the boat along lickertispit, as the video shows. Apologies for the camera shake, but he was at the other side of the lake and it's a long zoom.
I had a go myself later, and after just a little practice you develop a nice easy action that could keep you going forever. Tim has also designed and built a stylish seat based on the shape of seats on recumbent bikes, which is amazingly comfortable.
It is great to be able to keep on going while you take photographs, wave to boats you are overtaking or lift a nice glass of something to your lips. Tim seemed to be very keen on the idea of making sandwiches on the move, but that may just be the diet talking.
The big drawback to the Mirage drive is that you have to order it specially from the US and you won't get change from £500. As Tim points out, nobody who is into home built boats is going to buy a rotomoulded Hobie so they wouldn't cannabalise their kayak market by making the drives available to buy more easily and cheaply.


Anonymous said...

There was a thread on the US Wooden Boat Forum about which hull would suit a Mirage Drive.

In the thread Hobie are quoted as not restricting sales of the drive and that they will supply them if asked.

Seems they are available on for £300, plus shipping plus import tax.


Anonymous said...

That's great that Hobie doesn't mind selling more of their product, but I wonder if they would be willing to provide a template and other installation instructions for the hole it mounts in. I'm sure they's sell a lot more to the self-build market, if they did. Kayaks, sailing canoes, and dinghies could all benefit from the system. But my buddies with Hobie kayaks all agree that you should get the turbo fins, over the stock ones.