I was finally able to take the first test run with the Torqeedo 403 Ultralight motor on the NuCanoe Pursuit and all I can say is WOW! It took some time and a lot of thinking to find the best way to set it up but I think I have it just about right. Still a little bit of tweaking I think that could make it better but the overall setup worked well!
So the biggest two obstacles that stood in my way on this motor for the NuCanoe Pursuit was the lack of a flat mounting surface on the stern of the kayak as well as the lack of pedals or hand control for steering. NuCanoe kayaks were not made to have a rudder so a steering assembly did not exist. Luckily I had come up with a quick way of adding a set of DIY foot control pedals that could be mounted conveniently into the existing gear tracks of the Pursuit.
Here is the adjustable DIY rudder kit that I used…
I had a buddy then cut and machine a few holes into two aluminum angles…(size 4” x 2” x 0.25” thick)
The pedals were mounted on the 4” portion of the angle with two holes and the 2” section was mounted onto the gear tracks with 3 t-bolts and convertible knobs from YakAttack on each bracket.
The next part to the foot pedal steering was how to route the cables to the rear of the kayak. This actually worked out pretty well with the aid of 8 tie downs from YakAttack.
I went to a local bike shop and bought about 12 feet of 5 mm bike brake cable housing (accepts 1.6 mm wire cable). I cut it to the length I needed and zip tied the housing to the ID of the tie downs. As you can see in the pictures the steering cable came down from the end of the pedal assembly and ran into two tie downs before making its way over the feet of the NuCanoe 360 seat.
Then it went through a tie down at the end of the floor gear tracks and connected to another tie down at the front of the stern gear track.
Then it passed through the plastic pad eyes that are already attached on the gunnel wall of the NuCanoe. The length of each of the brake cable housing is important so I will talk about that in a bit.
Now that the steering assembly was in, the next part was trying to figure out how to mount the motor. At first I thought I could get away with building a flat mounting surface out of some star board (HDPE plastic sheet) and then attaching it or clamping it in some fashion to the flat transom on the stern of the kayak. This posed a few problems as the mount was not very stable and it raised the motor too high which would keep the prop of the motor partially out of the water. The second idea I found was from another canoe angler that mounted the ball mount to the gunnel wall (exterior) of the kayak. This could have worked fine but in my case I already had my SuperNova Fishing Lights already mounted in the spot where the ball mount should go…and I decided that adding drill holes to the exterior of the kayak was not ideal. So I was stumped at this point…
At one point I did try to slide the support tube through the hole that is in the transom of the NuCanoe and noticed right away that it was very close in size but it was pretty snug. I didn’t want to damage the hull so I left it alone. My Dad actually came over a couple of days later and we looked at it together. He also noticed the same thing that the support tube was almost the perfect size to fit the hole in the transom. So I decided to look at it a little further and the hole was just slightly out of round…so I took some sand paper and lightly sanded the hole until I could get the tube to fit through. It was snug but I wanted it that way to give it the support it needed. It actually worked perfect because the ball mount now had a flat surface to mate up with since the hull of the Pursuit has a 2” wide flat just behind the 6” hatch in the stern.
There was about a 7/8” gap between the base of the ball mount and the flat on the kayak so I bought a couple sheets of 1/4” and 1/8” HPDE plastic and built a bracket. I used two 1/4” bolts and bolted the ball mount through the kayak and added another small strip of 1/8” HDPE plastic sheet and washers to give the hull of the kayak more rigidity. The support tube install was solid!
After that was finished I was able to attach the motor to the support tube. I played with the brackets on the motor tube to adjust the height of the motor to attach the steering cables, but noticed right away that the steering bracket on the motor was too low to allow the cables to clear the rear of the kayak. So I bought some oversized washers (5 total) and shimmed the steering bracket to raise it up. I also inverted the steering bracket as well just to make it stand a little taller. The tube measures at about 1- 3/16” so I bought the washers below to fit it. I’m going to get a plastic sleeve or washers to put in place of it soon.
This put the motor steering bracket at the perfect height while still allowing the prop to be completely submerged. Now…going back to the length of my brake cable housings…as you can see the motor is not perfectly centered to the rear of the Pursuit. The left side steering cable was the most critical and I made the brake cable housing tag end long enough so that it sat on top of the gunnel. That prevented the cable from rubbing against the hull of the kayak. On the right hand side it wasn’t as critical so I left the tag end shorter at about 3 inches (also left about 3 inches of tag end beyond the first pad eye near the pedals). The cable cleared the top of the hull easily in that case with no worry of rubbing.
Next I had to attach the pull up and pull down cables to the aluminum bracket on the motor to raise the motor up out of the water and to hold the motor in place during operation. The pull up cable was pretty straight forward as I already had a pad eye and clip installed on the left hand side of the kayak from my rudder…I just had to make sure that it wasn’t interfering with the steering cables which it didn’t. After lifting the motor up I noticed that I had to scoot the motor farther away from the transom so the steering bracket didn’t hit the rear of the kayak as it rotated up. No big deal.
I added the pull down cable and ran it on the right hand side of the kayak. Since I needed a lot of tension on that cable I decided to use my rotogrip paddle holder from YakAttack that was already installed and basically moved it forward or backward on the gear track to add or release the tension. I just needed to find some sort of ring that was big enough to slide over the top of the rotogrip…luckily my wife had an old cheap metal bracelet that did the trick for now 🙂 I rotated the motor up and down several times to ensure that the cables were not getting tangled together…all looked good!
The very last thing I needed to do was mount the throttle control. Since I had a YakAttack gear track already installed on the left side gunnel I decided to use the same mounting scheme that a few other anglers had used. I took a 1” YakAttack screwball and mounted it to the gear track, then attached a RAM 1” diamond base with two M4x0.7×20 screws to the back of the throttle control. I then joined those two with a 3” long RAM double socket arm. This worked out perfect to keep the throttle control completely removable and adjustable.
So what were my results on the first test run?
Like with anything new it took some getting used to, but I was impressed right away with the throttle control and the response of the motor. I achieved a top speed of 5.5 mph with a full tournament payload (roughly 350 extra pounds including myself). I will be going out again soon to see what the max speed will be with just me in the kayak. Turning radius was pretty good and will be doing some experimentation on making it better as well.
Battery life was really impressive since I used the motor for over 6 hours in various throttle positions with pretty windy conditions and still had 15% battery life left over. I will be looking into the new and bigger 31 ah batter that is almost three times the capacity of the standard battery. Charging time was pretty quick as well which is also great!
The last thing that I noticed were the built in safety features. Having the magnetic kill switch built in was a great idea and the motor also did not function when rotated up fully out of the water. Both good things to have just in case!
I was very pleased with the whole setup and will be looking forward to taking it out more this season!
Contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!