As old as Kirton Kayaks itself, and an institution in its own right, the Mirage K2 truly has stood the test of time. It’s as popular now as it was when it was first conceived. Synonymous with the DW race, and a much-loved club boat, the Mirage has a fantastic turn of speed, easy handling and a forgiving mid-level stability.
It’s a hard act to follow, but as part of out our 50th anniversary celebrations, we couldn’t resist the challenge.
So how do you reimagine a classic? Our team went right back to the start, to try and imagine how Tony Snell, the creator of the original Mirage, would have designed it today, with current racing rules and modern styling in mind. Keeping true to the original brief, we focused on creating a true racing K2 suitable for the intermediate paddler. By first doing away with the old 56cm beam and fairing the hull down to a streamlined 50cm, we were able to create clean, more efficient waterlines and improve overall performance, while maintaining the great handling characteristics associated with the Mirage family. The new M.50 boasts near identical primary stability to its predecessor with only a marginal reduction to the secondary stability. Above the water, a sleek and narrowed deck with paddle-friendly cutaways, gives the Mirage 50 a fresh and modern image that is inherently stronger and lighter that any of the previous models. A new chiselled bow maximises waterline length while minimising weed pick-up – a must for summer paddling in still water.
We are really excited about the M.50 – it’s sensitively true to the original but with a fresh new look and a host of improvements all-round including a complete hull overhaul.
Both understern and overstern systems are with the Mirage and the choice boils down to having more responsive steering or greater rudder durability. The overstern rudder has a kick-up system so vertical impacts will cause the rudder to rise up and avoid any terminal damage mid-race. However, inexperienced crews may find steering harder as a little foreword planning is required when navigating bends. The understern option is much more responsive, so is easier to steer, but is very exposed and so more prone to damaged. It’s not hard to replace an understern on the bank side (providing you have a spare), but a large impact could damage the boat and put you out of the race. Schools in particular might want to consider having your boat set-up to take both options, so developing crews can be moved between systems as they progress.
… or the Mirage Classic
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! We know a lot of you have a soft spot for the original hull so we’re proud to be keeping the Mirage 4 in our line up too, now called the Mirage Classic. It’s the better choice for crews wanting a touch more stability and buoyancy, and all the magic and charm of the original Tony Snell design. Join the hundreds (probably thousands) that have done the DW in style, by paddling the Mirage in this famous Easter race.
Here are the seat heights for the different seating options, for comparison only. Typically, the higher the seat the better the paddling position, but this comes at the cost of decreased stability. Seats measured vertically from the hull to the centre-front of the seat and are approximate.
- 2-pin seat: 4″
- Low 2-pin seats: 2.25″ (NB Fit may require padding)
- Platform seat: 4.25″ (On the lowest setting)
- Low platform seat: 3.5-3.75″