Friday, March 06, 2009

My next dinghy...

Ever since I saw the first Hobie kayak with the Mirage drive I've been mulling over cunning and clever plans to install one in a tender for "So It Goes". Well, truth be told, I've been thinking about how it would be a very cool drive for "So It Goes" and how nice it would be to dispense with the prop entirely (but that's another subject for later).

For those not lucky enough to have seen the Mirage drive, it is a pedal drive system which uses "fins" instead of a propeller and while it is different, once you see them in action you realize that this is a seriously impressive bit of technology and makes the case of the advantage of designing outside the box of the same old, same old.

Mirage drives are available for just under the $500 mark and for the last few years I have been expecting dinghy designers to be all over this. But sadly, the designer sector has been surprisingly quiet on this front. Maybe they were all too busy doing the same old, same old or just so "In the box" that they could not see outside of it... Most likely most of them were just waiting for someone else to show them the way and do the grunt work for them!

Luckily for us there are still some brave souls about and someone actually has worked the Mirage into a dinghy plan... Wooden Widget, a small company who has been selling a lot of plans for their fabric-based Origami folding dinghies. The Origami has been gaining quite an impressive word of mouth as a folding dinghy which actually works. Wooden Widgets new dinghy the Deckster not only works the Hobie Mirage drive into the mix but has a very clever cutout in the front to allow it to stow on the deck without having to resort to the messiness and hassle of the nesting or two part dinghy.

Currently the one problem I do see is that the Mirage drive is slightly problematic with more than one person in the dinghy which hopefully will be addressed in the next version of the Deckster, as the deckster is a small ( just under six feet) dinghy and a larger one would be a great addition to the line.

Construction seems very straightforward and if you decide to forego the Mirage drive you can always go the same old, same old route and do the oar/outboard/sail thing.

Click on the above image to learn more about the Deckster