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Topic: Native prop yak< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Santiago II Offline
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Posted: Dec. 14 2007,10:01

Are we talking about this yet?

http://www.nativewatercraft.com/pedal/pedalboat.html
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Capn Jimbo Offline
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Posted: Dec. 15 2007,05:23

I won't say I told ya so...

Santy, since you frequent both the Simian network and here, I'm sure you will recall the threads where I really got into it with Matt the Flack (the Hobie rep).

A couple guys had been talking about prop drives when Hobie jumped in with both flippers flapping and published their stock list of unsubstantiated anti-prop claims.

Long story short, I challenged him to provide the data, Mattie avoided the question but when finally cornered claimed there wasn't any.  Knowing that the Hobie Mirage drive was initially developed at MIT, and completed by the MIT engineer that Hobie hired away, I had no doubt whatever that there was TONS of data, and that Hobie was resisting publishing it.

I then shamed Mattie, noting that almost all perfomance manufacturers publish copious data, and countered with quality studies of the drive (and props) completed by the HPB (Human Powered Boat) guys.  These guys were a group of talented amateurs, engineers and propeller heads (pun intended) who had produced a series of home built and extremely intriguing watercraft.

These craft ranged from mild to wild, most were prop driven.  Their goal was to continually push the edges in terms of speed, efficiency and performance using human power.  Their studies and data revealed that the Hobie drive was terribly inefficient (around 20%) when compared to the prop drives (in the 70-80% range).  They also conducted a dandy comparison between the Std and Turbo fins which was quite revealing.  

Of course Mattie and the Hobieholics went nuts, painted me with their usual Simian broad brush as an unwelcome nut and how could I even mildly criticize the amazing Hobie drive and kayaks.

It was easy, really.

Bottom line:

I very much favored the HPB  prop boys and their convincing studies.  Matt the Flack never did publish any of Hobie's data.  And this led almost directly to my "Hobie - Unplugged" and "Kayaking for Simians" series in which I detailed both the Mirage drive's shortcomings and the unmoderated depths of the KFS Primate Pavillion.

What do I think?  Native Watercraft has already captured the imagination and respect of the kayakfishing world with a unique design that appears to be made well. Clearly they have taken note of the HPB work and are using a prop drive that comes straight out of those efforts.   If they maintain the same quality and the prop drive performs as expected it'd be my guess that Hobie is in deep penguin poop insofar as inshore sales.

Even the great Dennis Spike - an offshore Hobie afficianado - is extremely interested in the Native!

Told ya so...


:capn:

ps.  Some specs: blade is narrow, 12 inches, 15 pitch alleged to be "efficient".  The prototype shows a unit that can be attached either ahead of or behind the seat, will pivot for easy insertion and removal through a center board type box.  Andrew Zimmerman and Joe Walton own about 4 patents on the Native, seats, et al, state that objective was a "relaxed but reasonable pace" for an "easy cruise" (ratio is 9-to-1).


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Capn Jimbo

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Santiago II Offline
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Posted: Dec. 15 2007,15:00

Quote (Capn Jimbo @ Dec. 15 2007,05:23)
I won't say I told ya so...

Santy, since you frequent both the Simian network and here, I'm sure you will recall the threads where I really got into it with Matt the Flack (the Hobie rep).

A couple guys had been talking about prop drives when Hobie jumped in with both flippers flapping and published their stock list of unsubstantiated anti-prop claims.

Long story short, I challenged him to provide the data, Mattie avoided the question but when finally cornered claimed there wasn't any.  Knowing that the Hobie Mirage drive was initially developed at MIT, and completed by the MIT engineer that Hobie hired away, I had no doubt whatever that there was TONS of data, and that Hobie was resisting publishing it.

I then shamed Mattie, noting that almost all perfomance manufacturers publish copious data, and countered with quality studies of the drive (and props) completed by the HPB (Human Powered Boat) guys.  These guys were a group of talented amateurs, engineers and propeller heads (pun intended) who had produced a series of home built and extremely intriguing watercraft.

These craft ranged from mild to wild, most were prop driven.  Their goal was to continually push the edges in terms of speed, efficiency and performance using human power.  Their studies and data revealed that the Hobie drive was terribly inefficient (around 20%) when compared to the prop drives (in the 70-80% range).  They also conducted a dandy comparison between the Std and Turbo fins which was quite revealing.  

Of course Mattie and the Hobieholics went nuts, painted me with their usual Simian broad brush as an unwelcome nut and how could I even mildly criticize the amazing Hobie drive and kayaks.

It was easy, really.

Bottom line:

I very much favored the HPB  prop boys and their convincing studies.  Matt the Flack never did publish any of Hobie's data.  And this led almost directly to my "Hobie - Unplugged" and "Kayaking for Simians" series in which I detailed both the Mirage drive's shortcomings and the unmoderated depths of the KFS Primate Pavillion.

What do I think?  Native Watercraft has already captured the imagination and respect of the kayakfishing world with a unique design that appears to be made well. Clearly they have taken note of the HPB work and are using a prop drive that comes straight out of those efforts.   If they maintain the same quality and the prop drive performs as expected it'd be my guess that Hobie is in deep penguin poop insofar as inshore sales.

Even the great Dennis Spike - an offshore Hobie afficianado - is extremely interested in the Native!

Told ya so...


:capn:

ps.  Some specs: blade is narrow, 12 inches, 15 pitch alleged to be "efficient".  The prototype shows a unit that can be attached either ahead of or behind the seat, will pivot for easy insertion and removal through a center board type box.  Andrew Zimmerman and Joe Walton own about 4 patents on the Native, seats, et al, state that objective was a "relaxed but reasonable pace" for an "easy cruise" (ratio is 9-to-1).

Capt. I have to confess, I knew nothing about the controversy until I saw your info here. I only look at the "other kayak section" and the kayak development section. I gave up on the Hobie folks along time ago. I like innovation, but I can't stand a lack of honest discussion and narrow minded opinion.

I think the prop drive should stir things up, and that's a good thing. I'm sure there's more to come.
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Capn Jimbo Offline
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Posted: Dec. 16 2007,06:43

Santy you are right on.   The Hobieholics over there were the first cult I named and identified.  It was only later I realized the problem was much more widespread, but that's another story or three.  But back to flappers vs props; here's why I think Hobie is in trouble.

1.  Hobie earned kudos for creative design and marketed their penguin power with great skill; unfortunately almost all of their creations have been beset with problems.

2.  The Mirage Drive broke down, wore excessively, needed constant adjustment.  In conjunction with the Turbo fins especially (but also the others) tended to put pressure on the through hull support which led to cracking and leaks.

3.  The Twist n Stow rudder has it's own host of problems, has been know to fail at the worst possible time in bad conditions.  This is actually quite dangerous.

4.  On KFS alone, Matt the Flack has posted over 700 replies addressing mostly problems and issues with the Mirage driven Hobies.  This is a massive public relations effort designed to keep the natives happy.

5.  Hobie's MO seems to be pump em out, let's sort out the problems later.  You'd think after 5 years their designs would be mature and reliable but they are not.  Hobie marketing would rather pump out new and defective products.  Prime example: the new Hobie Inflatable.  The first couple hundred had to be recalled due to, uh, deflating...

6. The Mirage drive is not particularly reliable; worse it is inefficient.  It is attached to relatively short, wide and speed limited hulls.  

Hobie has had a pretty good ride and sold their overpriced creations with no real competition.  I believe the Native Watercraft will change that.  It too is developing its own cult following and you can be sure its proponents will be equally outspoken.  But with a difference.

Early returns are that the Natives have been developed with quality and reliability in mind.  Equipping them with a good prop drive falls in line with that philosophy.   The video reveals that it will be light, strong, easily moveable and stored.  In my mind props have a number of advantages over the faux flappers:

1.  They are simple and strong.  The linkage can be made quite efficient with minimal losses to friction.

2.  They use a standard bicycle motion which is efficient, powerful and less wearing.  Note that the flappers come to a brief but definite stop at the end of each stroke.  The flappers have to change direction leading to a significant loss of efficiency, and creates turbulence.  This is a more choppy, wearing motion. OTOH the prop never stops, remains efficient.

3.  Prop drives commonly achieve efficiencies in the 70 - 80 % range.  Compare to flappers at 20% or so.  This is especially true at cruising speeds.  And unlike the flappers can go in reverse.

4.  The Native's patented seat allows the paddler, er pedaler, to paddle, er pedal from a semi-recumbant position.  There is some evidence supporting the comfort and power possible from this position.  

5.  Last, the Native is more boat-like, particularly when equipped with a prop drive.

This last point is particularly important.  It is no secret that I believe the better the kayak performance and experience, the better the fishing performance and experience.  To the contrary, American manufacturers in particular have tended to wide, slow barges with high primary stability, mostly to capture newbies.  These barges are equipped with super-sized wells, multi-hatches, even reel destroying flushmount rodholders designed for boats.  All in an effort to look like - hold yer hats...

Small boats!  Floating platforms to accessorize and fill with tackle.  Lots of tackle.  Hobie went one step further.  "Paddle?  Ooooo, why bother, that's simply too hard to learn, and it's too much work.  Pedaling is the way!".  Enter the Native, the logical conclusion of the barge trend.

The Native really is a small boat.  More like a canoe than a kayak.  LOTS of space.  Comfy with a seat that's more like a lawnchair.  But with a cat style hull that makes sense, makes it standable, increases speed and beats Hobie at their own game.  And now adds the coup de gras:

Prop power.  Kudos!

Now to be sure I'm not a fan of barges, but the Native is not a kayak.  And oughtn't be reviewed as such.  Due to it's open design going offshore is a problem.  And I'm not too happy with the drive's storage position with the pointy business end of the drive unit and prop pointing up.  Fall on that and you'll need more than a hook remover - try major surgery.

Bottom line:

Hobie has met their inshore match.  Bout time.



:capn:

ps... be sure to visit Santiago's link (thank you) in the top post to see a video of the Native prop drive in action


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krash Offline
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Posted: Dec. 16 2007,17:03

I'm not pro/con any particlar kayak brand, but as a flats fisher-person, if it can't go in 6 inches of water its not on my list.

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Capn Jimbo Offline
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Posted: Dec. 16 2007,19:07

Hey Krash, I'm with you on that.  

If you watch the video (link above on the first post) you'll note how easy it is to remove and store the drive - quick and easy.  And unlike the Hobie, standing is a no brainer in the Native.  If the French Guy were around, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he were interested in this watercraft for standup poling and flyfishing for bones.

I'd really like to test the Native as I'm intrigued by its tunnel hull that gives much greater stability but possibly with less wetted surface.  Thus it may be faster than the barges.  I am attempting to obtain some reliable hydrodynamic specs.





:capn:


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Capn Jimbo

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Thing One Offline
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Posted: Dec. 25 2007,22:08

Haven't had time to post in awhile - but I'd like to throw in my two cents on this one.
I've had two Hobie Mirages for a little over two years now ( a single and a double).  Looking at the Native, I see where the ability to stop quickly and then reverse is a real plus  ( I can reverse the Hobie by flipping the drive around but that takes about 7 - 10 seconds so I  usually just pull out the paddle)
I know the Native is just a prototype but I see a couple of problems.  The depth of that drive is a killer.  Looks like about 12"+.  I can, using short strokes on the Mirage drive, move fairly well in about 8" and by locking the flippers up and and going to the paddle, work well in 6".  You would have to stop and completely remove the Native drive.  I would also think the high free board would cause some problems with the wind.  Another problem with this prop drive will be fish wrapping a line around  and into those blades. (So far, not a problem with the Mirage).  

Of course, as many have pointed out, a strictly paddle - driven kayak takes care of all those problems (But my knee locks up after 30 min. in one.. so...)

As Capt. Jimbo mentioned, the Native would not be a rough-water boat.  I have been through enough crazy inter-coastal  boat chop and a couple of really nasty rain storms to say that the Hobie is.

That said, I am greatly heartened to see that HPB race is on. (As the Capt. said - Hobie needs competition - price wise and tech wise and this Native is definitely a big step in that direction) I do think the success of the Mirage has helped get that race jump-started and anything that gets people out of the gas guzzlers should be supported. ( I would probably still be running my 18" flats boat if not for the Mirage).


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Capn Jimbo Offline
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Posted: Dec. 26 2007,05:16

Thing, thanks for your reasoned post, your observations are very well taken.

As you so well pointed out, paddling solves almost all of these issues, from shallow water to reliability.  Neither the Hobie nor the Native are intended to be used in ultra shallow water, to wit:

From what I can see the Native will need about 13 inches below the hull.  Haven't measured the Standard Mirage fins but their working arc will come close to that; the Turbos will require even more space.  Please note Thing's observation regarding "short strokes".  

Neither is meant for surf or rocky landings.  In very shallow water, or shore landing, both require removing (Hobie) or retracting (Native) the drive. Truth is you really don't want to run either drive in skinny water, as you will pick up weed, hit rocks, etc.

In very shallow water (eg the flats) is really a great place for the Native, which has a much more stable standing design.  You may pole and sightfish very effectively from this craft.  At the same time in deeper water the Native's prop drive will be faster, easier and considerably more dependable.   In the unlikely case of damage to the prop, it's easy to replace on the water.  Most Hobie owners don't carry spare drives or fins.  The Native's prop design is very robust, needs no adjustment and may be considered trouble free.  It is protected from damage by the typical prop guard and fin.

As far as snagging lines, both may be expected to have this issue.  Hobie owners have reported both snagging and flipper damage (the line "saws" the fin).  But look at it this way...

Neither the Hobie nor the Native are true kayaks.  

The Hobie was marketed to newbies who were (a) fearful of "tippy" kayaks and (b) put off by the notion of learning how to paddle.  A messy, wet affair.  Ergo the "Mirage" drive in a wide "stable" barge: promoted as easy and fun - just jump in and pedal away.

At great cost of course.

Hobie's marketing was effective.  Their reliability is another matter.  Enter Native:  now the trend toward kayak as small boat is complete, even sporting a prop drive.  Although this is still a prototype, Native understands the limitations and shortcomings of the Hobie and has well addressed these with their intended prop drive.

The real origin of both was the HPB (Human Powered Boat) group, a subset of the HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) group.  These talented folks have been around for many years, preceeding both Hobie and Native.

Indeed Greg Ketterman or Hobie bought the idea - and the graduate student engineer who developed it - from MIT.  Not Hobie's idea at all.  During it's commercial rebirthing Ketterman was an active member of HPB, frequently posting on their list and seeking answers to issues and concerns regarding his "sail" (penguin) drive.  Later to be named the "Mirage".

Accordingly credit where credit is due:  HPB and MIT.  I'm interested in seeing what happens at Native: will a faster, more stable, roomier and more reliable design by a highly respected and successful company succeed?

I think so.  Look out for the penguin poop...



:capn:
ps. Windage (of either) is untested by me.  When I test kayaks I am mostly concerned whether it demonstrates "neutral" windage.  I test kayaks both at rest (turn it sideways to the wind, see what happens), and underway (all angles). Two examples:

Scupper Pro:  due to bow height and rocker, the Pro's bow can be blown around a bit, especially at rest.  This does change at speed though, where it exhibits some weather helm.  Does not need a rudder but does require a bit of effort.

RTM Disco: neutral both at rest and mostly underway.  In high winds just a bit of weather helm, but easily corrected or compensated.


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