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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:17 pm 
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This is part one of a two part review. Part two will be on the water.

There are three great reasons to look at the new Hobie Compass -- price, weight and design. The boat comes with the basics -- first rate hull, GT (roller bearing) Mirage Drive, seat and paddle. If you want more features you can either add them (for a price) or purchase a different model.

The Compass beats the Outback price by $600 and the Pro Angler 12 by $1450. Hobie is able to do this by eliminating the extras that come with the main line Mirage Drive kayaks. The Compass comes without the reversible MD 180, bow and cargo well hatches, side pockets, carrying handles, pre installed internal routing for transducer cable for those who use one, sailing capability and an extensive color palate to name the major items. If those items are important to you, you can add many of them back in -- for a price, or opt for one of the 12 other Hobie PE Mirage Drive models in a variety of color combinations.

At 68 pounds, the Compass is third lightest of the Hobie Mirage line (not counting inflatables), 13 lbs. lighter than the Outback and 37 lbs. lighter than the PA 12. It slides easily into my 6' PU bed with a bed extender with very little lifting.

Image
fig. 1

Elegant in its simplicity, the hull is unique and beautifully designed, bearing similarities with both the Pro Angler and Revolution series. Like the PAs, it has the prominent twin sponson aft section for stability and excellent cargo loading, and a similar under-hull rudder design. The finer bow entry appears to be influenced by the Revolutions. In function, it is often thought of as a cross between the Outback and PA 12, but I don't see any outback design heritage in it, with its tapered stern and a high volume bow.

Here is a composite shot including the basic specs of Compass, along with the Outback and PA 12 for comparison:

Image
fig. 2

Lets look more closely at some of the Compass features:

Starting at the bow, there is a shallow well to store gear under the (included) bungee cover. Remove the cover and there is an outline to add an 8" hatch.

Image Image
fig. 3 a and b

If the boat takes on water at the bow, it drops into the well and harmlessly drains through the notch and out the drivewell. For those wanting to add a forward hatch and are allergic to water in the hull, be advised this area can get wet. Additionally, the internal space available is limited there. It's a great option, but you just want to make sure you have a use for it.

Image
fig. 4

Moving aft in the cockpit, you see the rudder up- down handle, H-track and water bottle holder.

Image
fig. 5

In fig. 5, the retracted rudder handle shows the rudder in the down position. The rudder is spring loaded to the down position so you pull the cord to retract it to the stored position, like this (fig. 6):

Image
fig. 6

The cord uses a a cam cleat to lock it in position. It works well, but would ideally be placed a little closer to the seat area, along the the H-track.

The H track is very sturdy, versatile and easy to use.

The hatch is in the usual position and easily accessible. Because hull access is limited, flotation is packed along the gunwales near the hatch. This shouldn't interfere with normal access. The flotation bundles can be temporarily moved if necessary for additional access.

Image
fig. 7

The water bottle holder is not the greatest IMO -- your bottle rolls right out if the boat is tilted. On the other hand, once underway, it always stayed in place for me. I think it would be easy to fasten an insert to grip your bottle higher if anybody finds it problematic, like for instance, in surf launches.

Fig. 8 shows the seat pan area. The bungee behind the hatch in fig. 5 is used to secure the Mirage Drive fins against the hull; you see it in the stowed position. The longer bungee behind that secures the seat bottom. The hole in the rear doubles as a scupper drain and transducer access. Hobie really does have handles and indeed, you can see one here on the side. It's a finger grip for picking up the boat by its side. Better than nothing, but inadequate for picking the boat up over your head or having a grip to hang on to while underway. Fortunately, Hobie sells a variety of grips that you can add to suit. Here are some pics and prices: https://www.hobie.com/forums/viewtopic. ... 1446604feb . (Thanks for jcanracer for listing many of the options).

Image
fig. 8

The seat is a mesh over frame with adjustable back rest via straps that snap into padeyes (fig. 8 ). Both lumbar and upper back support can be adjusted by cinch straps across the back of the seat to suit. Seat height is not adjustable, but the installed position is close to rail height -- high, dry and stable in this boat. Although there are no extendable legs, the seat can be removed and used ashore very comfortably as a beach lounge. I apologize for not having any pics of the seat.

Finally, fig. 8 shows the eyelet that secures the paddle on the starboard side.

The hull is a piece of artwork IMO -- clean and functional with no wasted deck space. Fig. 9 shows the overall deck plan with a generous cargo well aft. This is a very well supported area and can carry a heavy load in the most stable part of the boat. Fig. 2 shows a better view of this area.

Image
fig. 9

Bow view:

Image
fig. 10

Stern view with rudder retracted (a) and rudder deployed (b). note skid pad -- great idea for the boat draggers. :wink: The rudder is thin and flexible -- looks like it can take some abuse, although I didn't actually try to break it. Fig. 1 shows that it tucks out of the way nicely.

Image Image
Fig. 11 a and b
8)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:45 pm 
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Roadrunner wrote:
The hatch is in the usual position and easily accessible. Because hull access is limited, flotation is packed along the gunwales near the hatch. This shouldn't interfere with normal access. The flotation bundles can be temporarily moved if necessary for additional access.

Image
fig. 7


Thanks for the report. :wink:

In addition, I would say in case of replace round hatch for rectangular, the best way look to be in length, as the flotation are near the center and there is much place on front and behind.

About this, on the Compass I've seen, hull looks very thin where we are supposed to stand on.
One told me there was a bug, and the hull will be thicker on next models. Right or fake?

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ex: Revo 13 2007 - PA 14 2008 - PA 12 2009 - Outback 2011/2013/2015 - Compass 2017


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:29 am 
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Very nice review. I really wanted to purchase a Compass but I want to use the kayak for camping and touring and since I have no experience kayaking I was not willing to take an expensive chance on it not being as well suited for my use. So I just went ahead and ordered a new Rev13 because I know it is well suited for what I want to do.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:36 am 
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Excellent close-ups as usual my friend. I think I will go with the square hatch in the middle, but skip the round hatch up front. This kayak, not having any hull access up front, will be more leak proof than my Revo or my old Outback when breaking through the surf during beach launches.

Looking forward to Part 2. In particular, I'd like your feedback on stability. With the seat being a fixed height, I am nervous about stability offshore. Many people I have talked to also have some fears about stability as the Hobie promotional video showed the anglers leaning a bit more than expected just bringing in small fish.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:48 am 
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Nice writeup. I was leaning to the PA12 but I think I'm going with the Compass. Worst case, my wife or son can use it if I buy a PA12 next year.

Hobie really should have made the 180 drive a $200-$300 upgrade option, since it comes in a separate box anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:12 pm 
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Very nice! and the color is spot on...a muted chartreuse: excellent.

Is there a spot for the steering control on the starboard side gunnel? Just wondering if a swap is physically possible, starting with the knob placement.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Location: Melbourne
Thanks for the review Roadrunner, it was very helpful. I have a PA 14 and due to a few things find it too hard to top on my car now. So I have just put a deposit down on the Compass, but seeing I am in Australia it will be around November before we get to see them and my local Hobie dealer is only getting 5 in. Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:09 am 
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daft wrote:
scfoster wrote:
Hobie really should have made the 180 drive a $200-$300 upgrade option, since it comes in a separate box anyway.

Even better, Hobie should offer the non-180 drive as an option for all the other kayaks with a price reduction. The complex, expensive 180 option seems one of the worst cost-benefit upgrades, and was probably goaded mainly from the propeller pedal drive advertisements that claimed superiority for this questionable feature. It was earlier quoted as far more than $300 difference; a few more upgrades like that and you might buy a cabin cruiser for the same price as a tarted up Hobie.

I'd like to second this notion :!:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:14 am 
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felvic wrote:
About this, on the Compass I've seen, hull looks very thin where we are supposed to stand on.
One told me there was a bug, and the hull will be thicker on next models. Right or fake?
The deck felt solid. I didn't notice any flex areas, and am not aware of any such problems.

Jcanracer wrote:
I'd like your feedback on stability. With the seat being a fixed height, I am nervous about stability offshore. Many people I have talked to also have some fears about stability as the Hobie promotional video showed the anglers leaning a bit more than expected just bringing in small fish.
I didn't get to take the boat offshore, but went after any boat wake I could find. I hit them head on, diagonally and abeam and was able to catch two simultaneously for a "confused sea" simulation. The Compass handled everything beautifully. I would have no hesitation taking this offshore.

Here is the video I think you are referring to. About 7 seconds the angler gets a strike and the boat tilts slightly : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkdWWJcm4ho . I think this has more to do with the size of the fish. Notice the secondary support kick in, notice how she has no counter balance reaction and notice that when the demonstrators move around in the boats they don't rock much. If you study it closely, you will see solid stability here. The secondary stability is very supportive in this boat.

reason162 wrote:
Is there a spot for the steering control on the starboard side gunnel? Just wondering if a swap is physically possible, starting with the knob placement.
The rudder control location is molded in the hull -- sorry, but it does not appear to be reversible. It may be possible to custom install a tiller on the starboard side by re-directing the internal lines and adapting a different rudder control handle, but this is not a factory option.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:04 pm 
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Roadrunner wrote:
The deck felt solid. I didn't notice any flex areas, and am not aware of any such problems.


Don't agree. Pull out the foam and try, you will see it flex more than on Outback... :wink:

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François - French Hobie fishing team - Outback 2019 papaya
ex: Revo 13 2007 - PA 14 2008 - PA 12 2009 - Outback 2011/2013/2015 - Compass 2017


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:48 am 
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felvic wrote:
Roadrunner wrote:
The deck felt solid. I didn't notice any flex areas, and am not aware of any such problems.
Pull out the foam and try, you will see it flex more than on Outback... :wink:
Bonjour felvic.

Why would anybody want to remove the foam? In addition to flotation it doubles as a great lightweight stiffener. If the cockpit is wider, it makes perfect sense to add this support. They have been using this concept for years -- look inside the Pro Anglers.

I am impressed that you've been able to examine the Compass so closely as to remove the flotation. Have they already shipped some over to France? 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:15 am 
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Roadrunner wrote:
I am impressed that you've been able to examine the Compass so closely as to remove the flotation. Have they already shipped some over to France? 8)


I went to a Hobie kayak tournament in Holland ten days ago, and Hobie kayak Europe have just received a compass.

So I get time to examine it... :wink:

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ex: Revo 13 2007 - PA 14 2008 - PA 12 2009 - Outback 2011/2013/2015 - Compass 2017


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:31 am 
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Compass seat and system concerns - In a recently posted YouTube video of the Compass, a person shows that the seat is only fastened to the hull by two bungee cords. The bungee cords hook into a plastic plug on either side that is just pressed into the hull. In the demo video one plug pulled out of the hull allowing the seat to lift and move around. This plug and bungee fastener system appears to be weak and the seat system in general appears to be a major downgrade as compared to the Outback, etc. Can anyone comment on the seat system and specifically how it fastens to the hull?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:59 pm 
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obxus wrote:
Compass seat and system concerns - In a recently posted YouTube video of the Compass, a person shows that the seat is only fastened to the hull by two bungee cords. The bungee cords hook into a plastic plug on either side that is just pressed into the hull. In the demo video one plug pulled out of the hull allowing the seat to lift and move around. This plug and bungee fastener system appears to be weak and the seat system in general appears to be a major downgrade as compared to the Outback, etc. Can anyone comment on the seat system and specifically how it fastens to the hull?


Go back to that video, look at the comments and note Matt Millers contribution. It answers your questions right there

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:21 pm 
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obxus wrote:
This plug and bungee fastener system appears to be weak and the seat system in general appears to be a major downgrade as compared to the Outback, etc. Can anyone comment on the seat system and specifically how it fastens to the hull?

When the seat is to be used off the boat, the seat back straps connect to built in loops on the seat pan. When the seat is in the boat, the seat pan rests on four protrusions molded in the boat (see fig. 8 above) and the seat back connects to the cockpit padeye, also seen in figure 8. The seat pan is held in position by a bungee. In this configuration the seat is rock solid. The seat material looks and feels similar to the Vantage seat. The frame is very tough. The seat back is flexible enough to accommodate uneven straps without cracking. The seat lacks some of the features of the Vantage seat, but feels about the same (comfort wise) to me. Major differences -- no height adjustment, no seat angle adjustment, strap adjustment for the lumbar instead of a knob, and no retractable legs.

Quote:
In a recently posted YouTube video of the Compass, a person shows that the seat is only fastened to the hull by two bungee cords. The bungee cords hook into a plastic plug on either side that is just pressed into the hull. In the demo video one plug pulled out of the hull allowing the seat to lift and move around.

I saw this video and it appears there were two problems. The first -- the seat back was initially incorrectly connected to the seat pan instead of the boat, so the back was unsupported -- when he rocked back the seat back tried to pull the seat bottom up. The second -- when they finally hooked the seat back into the hull padeyes, one of the padeyes popped out. The dealer said this was a pre-production boat from a boat show. Matt Miller posted that the padeye was not properly installed and that the problem has been rectified. Bad coincidence that this boat got reviewed. Bad time to discover a problem.

IMO, this seat has no problem in design or quality. My seat worked great and I have no criticism of it. Hobie has been connecting seatbacks to hulls this way since 1997, and it's never been an issue.

As with all boats, you should demo a boat before you buy it. I am confident you will not find a problem with the seat. That's my opinion. 8)


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