Homemade sailkit for the Hobie Mirage tandem kayak

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My friend Jody has a Hobie Mirage Tandem kayak, and he's a sailor too. His Mirage is the one WITHOUT the mast step, so although he's wanted a sail kit for it, there is no place to step the mast. We thought about this for months, and I finally hit on using the forward pedal cranks for a mast step. I must say, the Mirage is not designed for this, and will most likely void any warranty! The pedals are designed for a forward thrust, not sideways, so this is a very iffy conversion, I do not recommend it! Also, by applying pressure in a direction it is not designed for, this could damage the hull as well. The knobs that hold the pedals in place will probably rip out of the hull with any wind. Using the pedals to mount the mast, locks the fins in the down position, so we found it easier to run aground. It might be better to just have the crew hold the mast.

Jody and I like a bit of adventure, so we decided to try it.

Parts list:

  • 1/2 inch PVC pipe
  • 1 1/2" coupling
  • a bit of wood
  • bungee cord to hold the top of the pedal cranks in the mast step
  • two screws
  • fishing pole
  • small block from the used parts bin
  • line for tying the sail to the pole
  • line for the mainsheet
  • an old Sailfish sail that had many holes

    We drilled 3/4" holes towards one end of the pipe, and cut it to fit, so it would go almost down to the pedal adjustment peg clips.
    We cut slots from the holes down to the bottom, the slots would then fit along the pedal cranks.
    We carved the middle ridge out of the coupling with a dremel and glued it to the top of the mast step to make the step a little wider, so it wouldn't slip off the cranks.
    It would have been a lot easier to use a piece of dowel rod that fit the pipe, but since we didn't have any we sanded a piece of wood to fit with the belt sander, and screwed it to the bottom of our new mast step so it would stay centered in the pedal cranks.
    The mast is a fiberglass fishing pole, seemed like it would work fine, and having the tip flexible is fine, don't want all that power up top when the wind blows hard anyway. It fits in the step, right between the pedal cranks, and a bungee cord wrapped around the cranks holds everything together.
    I had an old Sailfish sail, on it's last legs, so I didn't mind cutting the top of it off for the sail. I cut it long on the bottom, so the power would mostly be low and not heel the kayak too much. This worked well, we didn't feel overpowered at all. A knot in the clew was enough to tie the mainsheet to, and a small block from my parts bin went on the rear cleat of the kayak.
    A small line tied through the grommets on the sail and the holes on the pole mounted the sail, and off to the lake we go for a test sail.
    In the video you'll see a crease in the sail, but after taking the video we went out together, and I raked the mast back by moving both pedal cranks back to the third hold from the back and we had much better sail shape. Also, we had a lot of lee helm, but when we raked the mast back it was much better.


  • It works! We couldn't point very high, but a close reach was ok. Point any higher and too much slippage to leeward, after all, we only had the fins for a centerboard. Beam reach and runs, it worked pretty well. It steered better with two people on board, the bow wasn't so high out of the water. When I was in the front seat, I could pull the mast, furl the sail around it and clip it to the side in the place for the paddle, take the mast step off and use the pedals. I put it back on when the wind came back, and we sailed back to the dock.

    Total cost, $25, but I had the old sail, bungee, and line. Most of the cost was the $20 fishing pole. Well worth it just for all the laughs!

    This video was taken with the Panasonic PV-GS35

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