Chandlery

May 2009 Issue

Hobie Mirage i12s Inflatable Kayak

A pedal boat even sailors could learn to like.

Alright, we know what youíre thinking: A pedal boat in Practical Sailor? Thatís what we thought, too, when Hobie sent us the Mirage i12s in response to our search for an inflatable kayak that could serve as a secondary tender for a cruising sailboat. The 12-foot PVC hull has overlapping glued and welded seams and a slick, abrasion-resistant bottom. The chambers are inflated to a modest 3 to 5 psi (compared to the 6.5 psi for the Walker Bay Airex reviewed in July 2008), which limits stiffness. For the tropics, PS prefers Hypalon to PVC, but that would add weight and push the price up. The hull carries a two-year warranty, not enough for an $1,800 boat (MSRP), in our opinion. Five years would be our minimum. The stern of the boat has bungee cords and an area for lashing down a dry bag, tackle box, or snorkel gear, but potential for provisioning runs is limited. A compartment in the bow will hold small items. To our chagrin, the space was too small to easily stow the hand pump. What sets this boat apart is the drive system. This is not your Camp Hiawatha paddle boat.

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