Submitted: 02-20-2007 by Mitch
After several years of paddling, research, and saving money, I decided to move up and buy my dream boat, a glass Tempest Pro 170. I proudly picked it up, drove to a river near my home, and launched it for an hour-long shakedown cruise on flat water. For the first half hour, the boat was everything I expected -- fast,comfortable, and responsive. But after another half hour, I began to feel tired and the boat began to feel less responsive. I figured I was just having an off day, until I got back to shore and tried to lift the boat. I couldn't. That's when discovered several gallons of water in the rear compartment. I pumped that out, drove home, and found the problem: where the back of the skeg box is supposed to join the hull, there was a quarter-inch gap. Good thing my shakedown cruise wasn't a four-hour paddle offshore!
I took the boat back to the dealer (Alder Creek, in Portland, OR) the next day. They offered to repair the boat, but I didn't like that idea. So I wound up trading my new boat and $180 for a Kevlar demo Tempest 170.
Bottom line: Alder Creek treated me well, the Tempest Pro 170 is a great boat, and, after a bumpy ride, I'm now a happy camper. But why oh why doesn't Wildnerness Systems do a simple quality-control check on every boat that leaves the factory? Stick a garden hose in the aft compartment, run a few gallons of water in there, and check for leaks. That extra five minutes of effort might save some customers from inconvenience, disappointment -- and perhaps even danger.