The Tandem Adventure Island may have been built as a sailboat, but the Hobie designers didn't neglect its kayak heritage. This topic looks at both its tandem and solo performance as a stand alone kayak.
Hull characteristics have been discussed, but let me comment here about the amazing stability of this hull. It almost rivals the Pro Angler (with its 38" beam) for initial stability -- you can stand up and fish all day with this platform.
Hobie accomplishes this by flattening out the bottom of the hull and hardening up the chine to maximize stability. Personally I think it's a little excessive, but it seems to work great and most new buyers apparently want a boat they can't manage to tip over in. Somehow Hobie has a talent for combining speed and performance in one package.Tandem pedaling:
There is no doubt about it, the TA is now the fastest kayak in the Hobie fleet. In a "one hour fast cruise", we were able to cover 5.62 miles in calm conditions with Turbofins, slightly faster than the Adventure under similar conditions. The boat ran quietly, with only the subtle chortle of stern wake interrupting its stealthy glide. Rudder authority was excellent and the boat turned well considering its length.Solo pedaling front seat:
Unlike sailing, where the back seat is best, I prefer the front seat (without ballast) for pedaling. The TA runs as quietly as the Adventure and makes good speed. I pedaled 5.03 miles on a one hour cruise in light to moderate wind and light chop (two directions) with Turbofins. The unused drivewell was plugged. Obviously calm conditions would have been better for comparing speeds, but I would guess that the equivalent is about .5 MPH slower than the tandem mode under similar conditions or about as fast as a Revolution.
Rudder authority is again excellent and turning is quite good, with the stern swinging wide in turns. As I mentioned before, dropping the centerboard down while turning helps swing this boat around fast! Actually, it works so well, it's rather fun to flip up and down anyway.Solo pedaling from the rear seat:
Without 70 lbs. of amas, akas and mast attached to the forward half of the boat, the bow becomes a little light, easily lifting with any speed, and creating an annoying pounding in all but calm conditions. Of course, ballast can be added to correct this, but pedaling from the front seat is a better option IMO. I didn't have the energy to do another "one hour fast cruise" from the back, but would suspect comparable speeds in calm conditions.
I didn't try any paddle work, not because of my allergy to paddles, but because of the limited time available. My tandem partner briefly did some paddling while pedaling, giving us a nice boost in speed, and he didn't voice any difficulties or negative comments about paddling.
The boat performs and handles very well in the kayak mode, although Hobie apparently has no plans to sell it as a stand alone kayak at this time. I would think it to be ideal for larger kayakers (who can't fit properly into existing models), those who want to stay as dry as possible, those who want a super stable boat and those who want more storage room and deck space for expeditions, dogs, etc.
I was the tiniest bit disappointed that I couldn't get more pedaling speed out of the TA. But then, with 9 holes in the hull (not including drivewells) and at least 20 lbs of permanent sailing gear, I was probably just dreaming. Overall, the Tandem Adventure is an outstanding kayak cruiser!
Next, we'll look at transportation and handling.