Sit Inside Mirage Drive Conversion E-mail
Written by Charles Beck   
Saturday, 06 December 2014 18:25

I've had an interest in converting a SIK to a Mirage pedal drive for several years. A few months ago I acquired two glass kayaks off Craigslist for a very good price. One was an 18-foot Eddyline and the other a Current Design product called Pisces, built in the mid 1980's. The Pisces is 17 foot by 24 inches and when paddle tested proved to be quite stable as well as fairly quick in the water.

project 1 2 project 2 2 project 3 2

Cutting into a perfectly good yak to fulfill an idea is sort of like a “Do it yourself” appendectomy because you think you might want to be a doctor. This was my first foray into a major retrofit of a kayak and I knew a lot of time was going to be spent in trial and error efforts. I begin by taking measuring my Adventure then cut out the combing and drivewell slot in the Pisces to match the Hobie measurements. I purchased a Hobie drivewell designed for their inflatable series but alas, inflatables are flat bottomed and the Pisces is “V” shaped, so out of ¾” marine plywood I built a box with cleats for drive guides. I glassed it into the hull as well as rebuilt the front combing. Very solid, and the drive goes in easier and fits tighter than in the Adventure. Wood wedges with a hold down lever keeps all in place.

project 4 3 IMG 2197

Steering uses a push/pull fiberglass rod system. Simple and very effective. Foam backrest, and for the first water tests I used a Hobie seat but plan on a light foam seat and backrest for the final version. So...the water tests. I built prototype outriggers out of foam but found the kayak really doesn't need them in flat water so removed them for the tests but will refine the concept for ocean fishing. The SIK is three and a half inches narrower than the Adventure but that difference in width is compensated for by having a lower center of gravity in the SIK by four or five inches.

As expected, the kayak moves faster than the Adventure under pedal and under paddle. I am closer to an ocean test but still have a fair amount of tweaking to do and will probably use pool noodles to insure the cockpit cannot over flood should a big one wash over the side on the maiden voyage. Here are a few close up pics.

Keep in mind that the surface finish will be a lot nicer but function adjustments comes first. The outriggers are prototypes made of hard foam and wrapped with tape with a wood backbone for support and even at this stage they are functional. One-inch aluminum pipe runs through the guide/holders. This is fashioned out of ¼-inch barrel plastic. Cut with jigsaw, heat with small torch, bend to shape, drill inch holes and bolt thru back combing. Fast to attach and detach even on the water. I may go with glass rod and ram mounts further aft later on. The outriggers at this point turn in the wood hole and just touch the water on their back ends. Kinda of a tap, tap with no drag while underway, but when I shift weight to the yak edge their flotation power stabilizes the boat immediately. Pretty sure I could jig fish without them but given our proclivity to yank extended rods upward at times, I will use them.

IMG 2198 IMG 2192 IMG 2193

The SIK aluminum rudder was bolted up to with a short length of flat bar that in turn was bolted to 5/8ths glass rod from Tap Plastic. The rod runs through three guides formed in the same manner as the outrigger holders. With three guides and a deliberate bend the rudder has enough friction to hold whatever position I choose so circling while fishing without having to adjust the rudder is quite doable. Plus, unlike my Hobie, there are no internal string attachments. Push for right. Pull for left. Did I get that right? Takes awhile to become automatic mentally.

IMG 2195 IMG 2200

The up close pic of the drive well/box shows the cleats and hold-downs for the drive. Hold-downs work well but maybe could be better. The back hatch can be opened one handed and fish flipped in. The back bungie cord acts as a hinge and spring and the front bungie stretches to an eyehook to secure the hatch. Next step is to buy some urethane hard insulation foam, 4x8 sheet of 1 and a 1/2 and make another version of outriggers and glass them. Urethane will accept glass resin but Styrofoam melts on contact with the stuff. More to come especially after first ocean test.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi5sS4zMIuM&feature=player_detailpage&list=UUnUX9H95HpPvrCJEJJi9Q-g

 

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