Hobie Tandem Island review

Hobie Mirage Tandem Island
Hobie Mirage Tandem Island

Manufacturers Goals:

The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is the double version of the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island.  Plenty of room for the skipper and crew, with total control of the roller furling sail and the large Twist & Stow rudder from either high back padded seat.  Inspired by Polynesian multihulls this 18' 6" trimaran "sail-yak" includes state of the art features and comfort, plus two patented MirageDrives with Turbo Fins. - Hobie Australasia


Overall Length: 5.64m                                     

Hull Width: 0.76m

Width w/Amas Out: 3.05m                                     

Width w/Amas In: 1.22m

Mast Height: 5.49m                                     

Sail Area: 8.4 sq m

Hull Only Weight: 40.4kg                                    

Fully Rigged Weight: 87.1kg

Capacity: 272kg


First Glance


From those who had the pleasure of viewing, or even trying, a single Hobie Adventure Island when they arrived on the scene a few years ago we heard the constant calling "So when are Hobie going to come out with a tandem one of these?" We'll it's taken a few years.......but a few months ago the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island arrived on our shores. 


It's difficult to know where to start with this craft, there are so many innovative features.  Let's talk first about the hull......in its simplest form you have a long streamlined double kayak that you could take out paddling.  If the arms start to tier you can then engage the Mirage Drive and pedal for propulsion.  For those who haven't seen the Mirage Drive pedalling system is a fantastic piece of equipment!  It is easily fitted, and removed from the kayak and works by peddling, alternatively left and right, to drive two underwater flippers. They work much like a penguin's fins to propel the Hobie Mirage with surprising speed and ease. The Hobie Mirage steering controls are positioned at arm's length, giving precise control of the kick-up rudder.  This is the first double kayak that I have seen where both paddlers can operate the steering with its dual controls.  There are 2 recessed rod holders behind the rear paddler, 4 hatches accessing the massive storage inside the hull, 4 storage pockets and 4 handles.


If you then needed a little more stability, or storage space for either the kids or the crab pots, you can clip in one of your outriggers (Aka & Ama) and an optional tramp kit.  The kayak pedals well set up with one outrigger and lends itself to all sorts of fishing opportunities with either 1 adult at the helm or loaded up with the family and fishing gear.  The tramp kits will hold up to 80kg.


If you're ready to clip the second outrigger on then you should definitely drop the 5.5m high sail in position and let the real fun begin!  The hull is also equipped with a fully retractable, recessed kick-up centreboard that allow sailing across and into the wind possible.  Where other kayaks can be fitted with small sails and get along nicely, this thing really sails!  During trials I have sailed the Tandem Island with both 1 and 2 passengers and also with up to 3 children on the tramp kits.  For those who have not sailed or kayaked before there is no other craft out there that allows you to experience both worlds in absolute comfort & safety.




The seating on the current Hobie kayaks is first class.  Not only do you get an extremely padded seat pad but the backrest has a self-inflating lumbar support.  The shape of the seat pan on the hull also ensures a comfortable ride and drain plugs under the seat pad allows water to disappear.  I've found that even someone who would be quite nervous about being on the water in a kayak gets on a Tandem Island and straight away is not only at ease but loving it!  With the outriggers attached this kayak cannot tip over.  If you feel like stretching your legs you can stand up or just lay down on the tramp kit.


With the dual controls not only for the steering but also for the roller furling main sail and rudder uphaul/downhaul this is a great craft to use while teaching someone the skills of sailing.  It takes a little co-ordinating of the length of sheets (ropes) between paddlers but it can be sailed well from either seat.


Sailing, Manoeuvrability & Speed

Under sail the Tandem Island is quicker than its single predecessor, especially when using it 1 up.  Under pedal power it is still quicker than most double kayaks on the market.  For those learning to sail it has the advantage that you can pedal a little while tacking (turning up into the wind) that makes this an easy skill to perform.  With 3 forms of propulsion at your disposal this craft is not stuck if the wind stops blowing and doesn't rely on fuel or electric motors.


If you want to turn one of these in a confined area you are best to remove the rudder from the water and use your paddles to turn the kayak (ie. the front paddler performs a forward sweep while the rear paddler does a reverse sweep).  Even with just the hull on the water this kayak is very stable and has a huge load carrying capacity at 272kg.


The Wash-Up


There is not much to not like about the Tandem Island on the water, my whole family loves it!  The one issue owners need to overcome is handling the size & weight of it with regards to transporting and storing one.  This is an issue for me as my family tend to disappear when a kayak has to be loaded on or off the car so I am continually left to do this on my own.  There are a number of options for loading one on a vehicle.  If you're going to do it on your own then you should consider  investing in an accessory such as a Rack & Roll, Strong Arm Kayak Loader, Thule Goal Post or the Malone Sea Wing & Stinger Combo.  If you have a ute with a bar at the back of the tray then loading a Tandem Island from the back and sliding it up is pretty easy.  Some customers have gone to transporting this craft on a small box trailer fully rigged with the outriggers folded in.  The Hobie Cart is an accessory that takes the weight of the Tandem Island while you wheel it to the water.


The versatility of the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is unsurpassed.  Nothing else that I have seen gives you the option to paddle, peddle, sail, fish, either by yourself, or with the whole family!


Want One!!


The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island retails for $5800 including 2 deluxe seats, 2 fibreglass paddles, 2 Mirage Drives with Turbo Fins, instructional DVD, and more!


For more information go to the Hobie Australasia website   www.hobiecat.com.au



This review was conducted by Craig McSween, Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing.  For feedback on this review you can contact me at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07)55712929 orinfo@adventureoutlet.com.au.  To view more kayak info go towww.adventureoutlet.com.au


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