Friday, January 9, 2015

PowerPole Micro Install (2015 Hobie Outback)

Let me take a moment and apologize for the long hiatus - I've been battling a case of no vacation left at work combined with the holidays with kids out of school/day care, family visiting and Mother Nature not cooperating.  My last trip was actually one late in the fall and was on a boat with some good friends chasing citation Sea Bass and monster Bluefish, but I digress.   With 2015 already in full swing, what better way to get my year started right than to start rigging my latest addition to the fleet - the 2015 Hobie Outback.  I decided to switch things up by trying a new hull and a new color, so I opted for the Ivory Dune this time in place of the yellow.

First order of business - installing my new Power-Pole Micro Anchor courtesy of JL Marine.  I first reached out to the good folks at YakAttack to send me their custom mounting plate that not only serves as the base mount, but also still allows full operation of the twist and stow rudder on the Hobie Outback.  To get things started, it is recommended but not required to have some form of stable/elevated work station - it will save you from having to kneel and bend over too much risking strain on your neck and back.  With the freezing temps in my neck of the woods, I brought the hull inside the house in our kitchen and made do by using four of our dining room chairs - shhhh don't tell my wife!

Once positioned and balanced, you first remove the port side rear rudder tie down cleat.  Simply done by using some form of pliers.  I used a crescent wrench but anything will work, since the fitting is not locked in place with Loctite.
Once removed, as you are standing at the stern of the hull by the rudder, you orient the YakAttack mounting plate with the side that has the countersunk screw holes up and with the non-countersunk screws (hint: they have lock nuts installed on the underside) that form a triangle facing to the right.  You'll want to place the mounting plate in a manner just forward of the rear stainless steel cleat and parallel with the rear twist and stow hatch hinges.  Once it is positioned, you'll notice that the large countersunk holes are on the outside of the elevated gunnel ridge.  Now is the perfect time to take a moment to secure the mount by using some duct tape to hold the plate in place while you mark and drill.  Like this.....
Using a narrow marker or gel-style pen, mark your first hole and use a 1/4" drill bit to drill your first hole.  In the same packet that contained the mounting plate, you'll notice a mounting kit on one end.  Open it and remove one of the three large countersunk screw head bolts.  The fourth large bolt is a round head Allen bolt and is installed last, so leave it aside for now.  Using a Phillips head screw driver, hand tighten/install the screw through the mounting plate and into the hull until it is reasonably secure but not fully installed.  It is recommended that you go ahead and setup your first bolt with the rubber bushing installed along with the other rubber bushings in each recess to that help minimize the plate moving while you finish your pilot marks, and drill one hole at a time to secure the remaining holes using the hardware provided.
Next, it is time to secure the mounting plate using the remainder of the mounting hardware.  This step requires the four o-rings, washers and lock nuts for this part of the install.  If you find that your rubber bushings are moving and shifting about, try this out.  Remove the partially installed screws and the mounting plate, then flip the mount upside down.  Using a small dollop of silicone sealant, you can secure the rubber bushings to the underside of the mount into the recessed bushing mounting points.  Like this.....
Once all four are installed, I add a small dollop of silicone sealant over the four mounting plate screw holes and reposition the mounting plate with the bushing side down over the holes you previously drilled.  You can re-install the countersunk screws so the bolt threads come through the inside of the hull enough to install a nut.  Remember to leave the starboard side front screw uninstalled, this mounting hole is reserved for the round head Allen bolt once the Power-Pole mount is installed.  Once the three screws are partially installed through the hull, you will complete the install by placing in order the following - the o-ring, washer then the lock nut.  You will most likely need the following: the same Phillips screwdriver, a ratchet with a 3/8" socket or box wrench.  When installed in the correct order, it will look like this (with the gap between the bushing and the o-ring filled by the hull of course).....
When installing any locking nuts and washers on the my kayaks, I prefer to go one step further and use silicone sealant whenever possible.  In this case, I filled each o-ring with a small dollop of sealant, then a little on the washer as well.  Once I have installed all of the lock nuts, I have a silicone barrier above (remember that dollop I placed in the screw hole before installing the screw) and below the hull and have minimized the chance for water to creep in.  After you have installed the lock nuts, the rubber bushings will start to seat and compress slightly.  It is recommended to not over tighten the lock nuts any further at this point.
You're almost there.  Only one more part, well two more if you include the optional release handle, but we shall get to that in due time.  Hang in there.  Now for the installation of the Power-Pole mount itself.  While standing at the rear of the hull, position the mount with the vertical flat sides to the rear and the sloped/curved part of the bracket facing forward.  Using the three remaining countersunk short bolts, install them in the top left and lower left and right mounting holes.  You will feel them seat and snug firmly into the integrated lock nuts already installed in the YakAttack mounting plate.  Remember that Allen bolt you held onto?  Now is the time to install it in the front right (starboard for you maritime people) using the same process as before: bolt through bushing, o-ring, washer and lock nut.   Once properly installed, it will look like this....
Now you can install the Power-Pole Micro motor using the instructions included with your Power-Pole.  It takes a little finesse, but basically, you will thread the locking pin through a slotted polygon grooved lock nut and through the motor into another polygon grooved lock nut then into a screw fitting.  Like this.....
And lastly, the locking pin you just installed rotates and conveniently serves as a way to release the lock on your Power-Pole and rotate it up and out of the water whenever you are ready to move to another spot or you are ready to remove your kayak from the water.  This part is optional, so don't feel you have to do it.  Basically, there is a retaining clip that holds the release cord that is attached to the locking pin handle you just installed.  I installed mine so that the release cord runs under my tank well bungee and reduces the likelihood of it falling into the water and getting snagged or caught on something or by a hook.  Like this....
For power, some of you may choose to use the included power cable.  If so, you will need to find the proper battery and mount it.  For those that have Hobie hulls with the twist and stow hatch, you can use the Hobie Power-Pole Power kit (Hobie Item #72020076) which includes all the necessary items to install the power source you will need to place it in the rear hatch, or just the battery bracket (Hobie item #72025007) if you have the rest of the items.  I installed mine to ensure it works, but I prefer a cleaner look and ability to remove the motor without leaving wires hanging about or another battery to charge and carry,  so I am opting for the rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack once it is released.  Until then, I will use an external battery in a sealed dry bag for easy removal when loading and unloading.

Hope you found this install helpful.


  1. Really nice write up! Just received my mount, came with no instructions. Given that it involves drilling want to make sure I'm following best practices. What did you do with the rudder tie down bungie? What did you do with the rudder tie down cleat you removed? Wondering if the rudder tie down is still usable after mount is installed.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response, but I've been on vacation from work and dealing with the home life and family. The very first part of this installation removes that port side cleat, and since it's not an open hole pass through, there is no risk of leaking. The bungee itself is still there, it's just laid over to the right side now, so that it can still be utilized. One tip I should've done and can still do is to install a small YakAttack or RAM ball mount on the forward port side of the mount plate that the bungee can hook to across the rudder and holding it in place. When installed and the rudder is stowed, the ball will be approximately at the 11 o'clock position. Hope that helps!!