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Been looking at the Hobie Compass since they first came out a couple of months ago and finally decided to pull the trigger.
12' long + 34" wide + MD-180 Drive (reverse) + 68 pounds makes it something that should be relatively light, stable, fast and quiet on the water. It appears to be a simplistic hybrid between the PA & the Revo. Won't be able to get her on the water until after Thanksgiving but thought I'd go ahead and post her up. Will let you know how she does.




Thanks folks. This has been a journey - one which I hope continues well into the future!

A little history - I was lucky enough to get invited on the PACK trip to Homosassa, Florida. A wonderful trip but the logistics of getting to Florida created a small dilemma. Do I drag my PA-14 across the country (Texas to Florida) or simply rent? Checked with our guide Carey (with Southern Slam Outfitters - a great guy by the way) and he said he'd make the arrangements to have an Outback waiting at the camp. Decision over.

When we arrived at the camp I saw my rental - an older Outback with a dated seat (no Vantage seating here :? ), no fish finder, rod holders, etc. - all of which is to be expected - but I am used to bringing everything on my PA (God forbid you get on the water and need anything). To my surprise I really enjoyed the older Outback. The seating was low but my butt stayed dry. The spartan layout was somehow rather comforting (nothing to mess with, nothing to prepare) and I really like the simplicity on the water. This forced restraint was refreshing and it got my gears going.

I really like my PA and I have no thoughts of getting rid of it (it is a beast and makes for easy fishing on those long days). But that simplicity was call, and gaining ground. Did a ton of research, visited a few outfitters and concluded that the new Compass would get me there.

Which brings us today. The plan is to keep the Compass rigging to a minimal. Will add a fish finder (with GPS) and a rod holder (all mounted on the H-Tracks that come pre-installed on the Compass). Will use a Buccee's bag behind the seat for food & drink and for storing extra clothing. Am sure that this will creep over time but am really going to try and keep it to a minimum. Can't wait for the next outing!

Tight lines everyone....
Took the Compass out for its maiden voyage yesterday and have to say that I was quite pleased overall. Spent 7 hours on the water putting her thru the paces in a variety of environments.
- Open Bay: She easily handled the open water taking on the chop created by a 12-15 MPH northerly wind. You could feel the wind but had no issues with being pushed around. And like a knife thru butter, she sliced thru the waves created by passing power boaters - headed straight into them, let them roll past the yak sideways and also tried them tailing from the rear - no issues at all. She was very stable on the water.
- Passing Currents: The tide was dropping so took the opportunity to run the currents in and around a narrowing train trestle. You could feel the current pushing you side to side but small adjustments to the steering quickly righted the yak's path. Note: When I first saw the size of the rudder I had concerns. Could such a small rudder effectively maneuver the yak? The steering (like on a PA) is located under the rear of the yak about a foot or so in and it's this location that makes the rudder work. To my surprise the steering was actually excellent giving the Compass a relatively short turning radius.
- Skinny Water: By the time we got into the marsh the tide was way down so I decided to pull the Mirage Drive and paddle the Compass back into the skinny water. Was wondering how a 34" wide yak would handle but she was surprisingly easy to paddle. Did take her into ankle deep water (for about 100 yards) and although you could feel the bottom scrubbing at times there was never any issue with pushing her along. I could be wrong but I don't think my PA or Outback would have made it so easily through that depth. In any case she did well in the marsh and while under paddle.
- Handling fish: (Yes she got slimed yesterday! :D Landed a dozen or more specs with a few rat reds tossed in for good measure.) The Compass, when compared to the PA, has no H-Rails or other clutter to get in your way while landing fish. It also has a lower seat which places you closer to the water. Had never really given much thought to seat positioning but can attest to the fact that it was simpler and easier to land fish from the Compass. I rarely used the net yesterday.
- The Verdict - I give The Compass an "A" overall. She was stable, fast and quiet on the water (very quiet yak). She accelerated quickly and turned on a dime. Cruising at 3.5 MPH was no problem. Can tell you that I was cautious about the lack of seat adjustments (no up and down) but was very comfortable once I got it dialed in. There aren't many downsides to this but had a few. Would have given her an "A+" but the location of the starboard side seat strap interferes with the paddle lash down bungee keeper. It was a pain trying to secure the paddle back onto the yak for safe keeping after paddling. Solution - I will move the keeper. I also wish Hobie would make the square hatch a standard on this kayak. The amount of storage coupled with increased access (for rigging) would make this so much easier. Solution - I will add the square hatch.

Here's a pic that was taken just before launch. That's Ken's ugly mug in the background.

Maiden Voyage Rigged & Ready.jpg

Tight Lines Everyone!
Congrats on getting the Compass out for her first taste of salt. Conditions and location were good for evaluating – windy and calm, strong current and slack, Deep channels and shallow marsh. I see that the A+ at the end of the trip got downgraded to ‘only’ an A! You looked quite comfortable in it by trips end!

On that last comment - all I can say - from the words of a friend of mine – ‘Hey, I resemble that remark!’
I think you're on to the Everything boat. Mirage Drive gives it so much power to answer the coast wind, almost independent of hull shape.

Though I would pick the most visible color. At Arroyo last month, had a crowded power boat coming toward the sun barely see us in time, and sat from plane between us and the bank. I think he was totally embarrassed, and he asked "you guys doing ok?", like he meant to do that.
Yeah – I took a picture of him on the water and nothing shows up!! A cloaking device – Ha, Ha

Actually I forgot to get a picture of his maiden voyage – my bad!!
BTW – he can be seen when on the water.

Some of the invisibility claim comes from our encouragement for the following outfitting from Simms – He may actually be invisible with this combo and the kayak!!
Of course, this is invisibility from the fish's perspective looking at the sky - There is no blue water around here to blend into!
T.M.I. Ken! :lol:

Charlie - Give me a shout sometime if ya want to cover more specifics on the Compass....Especially how it compares to the PA.....Both have advantages and ya can't go wrong with either one.

I also forgot to mention the 180 Mirage Drive and my new paddle.

The 180 drive is awesome. The blades are short - which helps when in shallow water. They also provide plenty of torque - which helps acceleration. Overall they moved the Compass with ease. Great upgrade!

I also purchased an Advanced Technology Oracle Angler paddle. Been doing some research and settled on this one because it is adjustable (240 to 250 cm) and has unlimited feathering. It also has a reinforced tip (helps with abrasion/impact resistance) and a large blade (figured it would help dig into the water to move the PA-14 or the Compass a little easier). Besides that the graphics are pretty cool looking. See link below.

Looks like you've become the proud owner of a great yak. Use it safely and in the best of health.

For another fantastic PACK adventure join them on the Shoalwater trip. It was always one of my favorites (along with the Cedar Bayou camp out).
comalcountyken wrote:I have really been considering this kayak, but I am new to hobies/peddle drives. How shallow can you use the mirage drive and what happens if you unknowingly plow full speed into shallow bottom while peddling?

Let's say you can go comfortably into 5 to 6 inches of water with any mirage drive (give or take a few inches depending on which Hobie kayak you're in and how much you and your gear weigh). And at that depth you would have to flutter kick to move (not a full stroke but small strokes which offer plenty to move you along). So you can go fairly shallow and a flutter kick will move you along in all but the shallowest of waters. And you can always you lock the mirage drive in the up position and then paddle if needed.

As for "unknowingly plowing into" anything - it is possible to bang your mirage drive and even come to a complete stop (you are basically running aground with the mirage drive after all). It does happen from time to time - but it's not the end of the world - and like any piece of equipment you will get used to how the mirage works in a variety of settings.

All in all I can say that I really like the mirage drive. A simple system that covers most applications. You can tear up the drive but in general it is a time tested and durable system.

Hope this helps!
Kayak Kid wrote:Looks like you've become the proud owner of a great yak. Use it safely and in the best of health.

For another fantastic PACK adventure join them on the Shoalwater trip. It was always one of my favorites (along with the Cedar Bayou camp out).

Thanks for the kind words and for sure will try and take a "safety first" approach to using the Compass.

As for the PACK outings - one of the reasons for purchasing the Compass is to get into a lighter kayak so that I can join in on the PACK fun (my PA-14 is just too big for some of the PACK outings). So hopefully the Compass will open up a whole new PACK world for me. :D

Take care and tight lines!

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