11-26-2011Submitted by: clint hebard
Reviews for Mirage Adventure Island Kayak by Hobie Cat Company
Based On: 7 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 Passing through Key Largo last week I tried an AI one day, purchased it the next. I've been camping here for a week and having a ball in my new boat. Only issue is the akas are sometimes hard to remove. Also a lot of shallow spots where I'm boating and I've grounded it a few times. Despite all the warnings by Hobie I haven't damaged anything yet.
Out in my first high winds today and it handled great.
06-30-2011Submitted by: Kirby
- Rating: 10 of 10 We have both a 2008 Hobie AI and 2010 Warren 15.5 sail. Though similar in design, we found out they are totally different animals. We upgraded to the Warren tri because the Hobie seemed slow and heavy in light winds. The Warren was easier to car-top and transport when RV'ing.
For those looking for a strict sailing craft where performance is key, nothing can beat the Warren tri. In light winds, she is faster than just about anything out there, even the sailboarders and mega-catamarans. She is only 67 lbs including sails and amas, super light and very responsive. Acceleration is incredible.
In winds over 15 knots, we stick with the Hobie however, which rides drier. But for light air performance sailing and ease of car-topping (can launch anywhere quickly), I would splurge on the Warren tri if you can afford it. The cost is nearly double the Hobie tri however so watch out. That is probably due to the high cost of carbon fiber these days...
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have had two Adventure Islands; a 2008 and a 2010. I love the boat but I have one complaint and that's the rudder pin. Hobie uses a plastic rudder pin that snapped on both my boats. This happened in 15-18 knots of wind just when the boat was beginning to come alive. I replaced the plastic pin with a 3 1/2" stainless carriage bolt and nylock nut. If you do this make sure to get a carriage bolt with long threads because it will need to be trimmed slightly to clear the bottom of the rudder bracket.
06-23-2010Submitted by: BLD
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've owned my AI for 2.5 years now and have traversed several Texas lakes, a few still rivers and two, 1 week stays at the beach in the FL panhandle. I couldn't decide between a fishing/recreational kayak and a sailboat, so I was delighted to find the AI. It was a little pricey for me, but after some fun on the lake I've decided it was worth it.
Never having sailed before, I found the in-store lesson and an afternoon playing at the lake to be adequate to learn to sail. The square top sail is very versatile and even works very well when partially furled in heavier winds. The mirage drive makes it a snap to come about when tacking into the wind. Just a few quick leg pumps and you are back under sail in a second. There is no boom to knock you in the head but that also means it is a little difficult to head straight down wind under sail. I just lean on the rope a little to hold the sail out or zig zag a bit (worth it not to have a sail boom on a kayak).
My most memorable outing was in Florida. With a south wind filling the sail, I made a few half hour passes parallel to the beach. Each time a pod of dolphins followed me, only inches from the amas! Wow!
The amas (outriggers) make the kayak extremely stable in heavy chop at the lake or in 2+ foot surf at the beach. (Search for online AI videos). You can even stretch the optional trampoline across the akas and take your favorite pooch along. These fold in for beaching or docking. For the timid, non-kayaker they make outings possible.
For those beach trips, the entire rig will car top if done properly. The sail can be shock corded to the rack as well, if put in the storage sleeve bottom first and bottom pointed forward. Or the mast and sail can be broken down easily to be more manageable. Requires a bit of brawn and brains to load onto a truck or large SUV.
On the lazy river, this kayak is just as fun without the amas and sail. Lots of storage with a big hatch in front to stuff a bulky bedroll in. It is a bit hard to turn around in tight areas and some portages are difficult due to the weight. Could be quite fun for fishing or even bowfishing with one ama.
Hobie warranty is absolutely top notch. I am very grateful for the free rudder design improvements I've received for my older boat. I've not managed to break anything yet though.
10-13-2008Submitted by: petegray
- Rating: 10 of 10 There are plenty of days when the wind shuts down most recreational aquatic options... the Adventure Island is my silver bullet that gets me out on the water! Rather than rehash what's already been said in previous reviews, I'll attempt to add a few personal notes...
My sailing experience was "entry level" but the learning curve is very user friendly and I was able to get out and about and have BIG fun while getting the most out of my new "tool for life"...
A little salt spray is good medicine! I just made the experience even better by adding the optional "DODGER"... The new cocoon gives me a minimalist shelter from the wind driven spray and makes sailing on chilly mornings something to look forward to...SWEET! I now eagerly welcome windy daze and enjoy the ever changing sailing challenge...
Outriggers and sail mast can be quickly/easily removed to reveal a big water sea kayak...BRILLIANT! NO GOING BACK!
08-19-2008Submitted by: Laptantidel Latuda
- Rating: 10 of 10 I rented the Hobie AI for a one-week solo touring trip in the Deer Isle Archipelago off Maine's coast.
The boat is very rugged and makes a very solid impression for the most part. The construction is very simplistic and everything is very easy to operate. The outriggers make the AI very stable platform that inspires confidence on choppy crossings. For landing on a dock or narrow passages, the outriggers can be brought right next to the hull. Carrying capacity is over 300 pounds. The whole rig can be disassembled by one person and can be cartopped on a midsize car. There are three modes of propulsion: paddle, pedal the Mirage drive, and sail. Paddling is not that simple because the amas get in the way. I could maintain a speed of 1.5-2mph while paddling the AI loaded to capacity. Pedaling is much easier, because you use your legs instead of your arms. I could pedal 2.5mph without straining and over 3mph with effort. The rig really shines when the wind picks up.
Sailing is very easy and speeds of over 5mph are easily possible with a fully loaded AI when the wind is right. The sail is very simple to operate and has no boom to watch out for when tacking or jibing. It's very efficient in light winds and can be furled around the mast within seconds when the wind gets too strong. This gives the AI a wide range of wind conditions it can be sailed in. Modes of propulsion can be combined, e.g. sailing and pedaling make a good mix in light winds. The hull is completely hollow and packs a lot of gear. You can leave amas, akas and sail ashore and just use the hull for your evening fishing trip around the island or something like that.
The rudder lever is pretty small and feels a bit flimsy. It works well though, but I like something I can use my whole hand on rather than just thumb and forefinger. The ride is wet, especially when pointing upwind. A wetsuit is a must when the water is cold. The AI weighs 115 pounds completely rigged. That means you have to disassemble the whole thing to lug it up a beach by yourself or bring some kind of cart. I was able to carry the hull by myself, but the assemble/disassemble adds to the time you need to set up camp and break it the next day. There are no bulkheads in the hull. While this makes for great spots to load everything you could need it might give you problems once you develop a leak out on the water. Now with the two outriggers you still have three buoyant compartments, but I would not take the hull out alone on long crossings. I put some flotation bags into the hull, just for peace of mind.
All things considered, you get a lot of boat for the price of a composite kayak. There's no boat out there that is more versatile and more confidence-inspiring on those long, choppy crossings. A fantastic, well engineered touring machine. I'd buy one if I had the space to store it.
06-12-2008Submitted by: redmond
- Rating: 9 of 10 Now that I've had them out, they are awesome! 15-20mph winds are great, lots of spray, you're gonna get wet. Very stable, easy to use, incredibly versatile. Sail, pedal, or paddle. Does need something (whisker pole, etc.) for down wind running. I made a pole but haven't had a chance to try it yet. Somebody on the Hobie forum showed how you can sheet them out on the ama's. Looked pretty cool, gonna have to try it.
The kayak alone (no outriggers) and using paddles reminded me of my Tarpon 160. Lots of glide, tracks like a freight train. Not real maneuverable, but this isn't really a fast water boat. Put the big ol' honkin rudder down and you ain't gonna turn with the paddle alone. Needs thigh straps for controlled edging. They have become my favorite boats (at least until the heat drives the wind away!).
While sailing, the acceleration is amazing. Get hit by a puff and it takes off. Comfortable, easy. Heavy. Would prefer adjustable foot braces instead of the molded in ones. They usually have more surface to plant your feet.
I've got more upper body strength, so I only use the Mirage Drive to bring it into the marina.
Some folks have said that it's hard to paddle with the outriggers because you hit your paddle on the rear aka (outrigger arm). The thing is, if you have a vertical paddle stroke, Brent Reitz's video says that you should lift the paddle clear of the water at your hip. The rear aka is behind the seat, so if you happen to hit it (and I did), your paddle stroke is going too far aft. It actually encouraged me to paddle better and improve my stroke.
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