Tried & Tested: Full Steam Ahead

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Torqeedo Ultralight 403 Electrical Engine for your Kayak

Engine Specs

Range: 40 km
Power: 400 W 1 HP equivalent.
Intelligent: Onboard computer with GPS
Ultralight: 7 kg, battery included
Speed: 10 km/h Max
Rudder Control: Foot Rudder control
Safety feature: Magnetic Key breaker instantly switches the engine when removed

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Others:
Smartphone Connection (With cable options and app TORQ TRAC).

The engine can be raised and lowered by the angler while seated.

Control box – Screen of the onboard computer in the control handle with LCD display of the battery charge status, ground speed, the remaining range and power output.

Kayaks have become a solution to a lot of anglers who want the convenience of leaving the shorelines and access deeper water on demand. Places where they are not able to access with even the longest casts and places where you would normally go to with a boat. Kayaks are hands down the most cost effective way to get out to deeper water and catch some fish that were otherwise out of reach.

The evolution of the fishing kayak has been pretty interesting, especially when it comes to propulsion – rightfully so because all fishermen want more fishing time. So there has been some advancements in the design of the paddles, lighter state-of-the-art paddles keep fatigue down and grabs more water, making each paddle stroke more energy efficient. Sails were the next evolution; putting sails on kayaks gave the kayak angler faster speeds and longer range. The problem with that as I have found the hard way, is that if there’s no wind, you don’t really move as fast as you need it to, putting all these systems in place also means added weight and on a windless day, these upgrades become unnecessary weight, slowing you down and eventually fatigue sets in – there goes your fishing day.

The next evolution was to put engines on kayaks; electric engines were the best option because they were light and quiet, two very important factors when you are chasing fish, especially when the fishing was really tough.

There are engines that were made for certain brands, mostly engines you drop down into engine wells in the middle or back of the kayak – these connections are fixed and are a disadvantage when you explore shallow water. There are purpose built kayaks made to accommodate the engine – those are nice too, but most of the time, as they are centered on the engine when the need comes for you to paddle the kayak (like in shallow water) it becomes unwieldy.

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The Heart of the Machine
The Torqeedo engine is a great concept, not a new one – however it is the lightest as well as the most hydrodynamic of all the rudder type engines available today. The system comes with a controller box positioned in front of the seat reaching it was no problem. I did notice something that caught my attention – when I had the engine off and drifting with the current, it registered the speed of drift, that’s when I realized that it was an on board GPS. After the trip, I discovered that there really is a computer on board that gives you a lot of information – the remaining range for the charge of the battery, speed, battery power left, and the power output and it has an option to be connected with a smart phone.

Engineering in Motion
Although I have some kayak experience, I made it a point not to listen to the briefing of how to use the kayak – I wanted to know exactly how easy it was for me to learn how to use the engine. I am confident that anyone would be able to use this within 15 minutes if they are already existing kayak users.

Positioning the Kayak so I could drop my jig near a bridge piling while the current at its peak was something of a surprise, something that can be accomplished with two people on a small boat.

Cruising around at half and full throttle for half a day in Palm Jumeirah area, plus utilizing the slow speeds to compensate for drift; I was absolutely surprised to find the battery was still at full charge when we got back on shore. For peace of mind when traveling greater distances, I would suggest another battery pack – just put it at the back well – everything is waterproof, even the normally delicate socket connections! As I mentioned earlier, I used the engine almost all the time, except for two occasions where I stopped and drifted to tie on a new lure – the battery life on this is quite good.

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Conclusion
Convenient, fast, lightweight, easy to use and it can do a lot of things you can’t normally do on a kayak, it is a kayak engine that is very hard not to like.

The Kayak, Arbaco 360, was provided by SeaYou.


The Torqeedo Ultralight 403 drive system is provided by Exalto Emirates and is available in SeaYou and Adventure HQ stores.
For more info visit www.torqeedo.com or call +971 6 545 3366

Words by: Kit Belen

Photos by: Daniel Birkhofer

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