Submitted: 03-19-2007 by Trilobite02
I purchased my well used and somewhat abused Tango a little over a year ago. This fiberglass model had seen its fair share of beach landings, and even some part time use as a rental boat for guided tours. No, matter, she's scuffed and abraded but perfectly serviceable, and despite owning several performance oriented boats, she may be my favorite of the quiver. From outings with my daughter and her friends on the local lake, to summer excursions out to the Norwalk Islands and secluded beaches on the Cape, to a circumnavigation of Manhattan in the Mayor's Cup Race, she does it all.
First and foremost, the Tango is supremely stable. My tandem partner and I were tossed like a cork in the East River through 5-6 foot refracting waves, and never felt in danger of capsize. On one rogue wave thrown by a DEP barge, witnesses on the CG cutter next to us noted that my tandem partner was clear out of the water with nothing but daylight showing beneath, and all the time we were whooping and hollering. She goes to conditions extremely well. The deep V of the hull slices through waves, and the high bow ('prow' is perhaps a better descriptor) makes for a dry ride. You get the impression this boat was designed for big water. On a calm lake it's sheer overkill, like piloting a war canoe on a duckpond. It will complacently plunk around, but it always feels a little bored, if personification is admissable. It wants to head to the open water.
The big Feathercraft K-2 rudder takes a solid bite, and will turn this behemoth quite quickly for its length. In narrow tidal marshes, it capably maneuvered through the tight switchbacks, despite 21'of length, and rarely ran aground in as little as 6" of water. Surprising. Without the rudder, it's a lot of boat to attempt to lean or correct its tangent using paddle strokes alone. The sliding footpeg system works adequately, although the hull is very wide and your legs are far apart; I'd like to see a brace/gas pedal system on this boat to provide a more solid platform to push against, along with offering a variety of foot positions. Using the aluminum Yakima slotted sliders instead of the cheesy plastic tracks contributes a far more solid feel. Normally, such a wide stance could contribute to pressure on the sciatic nerve, but surprisingly, the seating front and rear on this boat is supremely comfortable. I suffer from sciatica in all my boats, but the Tango is the only one that I can go 4-5 hours in without a worry. It's exceptionally roomy-you can practically sit cross-legged in the thing, wonderful for changing up seating positions and stretching while on board. You do sit deeply in the boat; the cockpit coaming comes up high around you. Some have likened it to sitting in a bathtub, but I have no complaints here-keeps you high and dry. Due to the width of the hull, and my acclimation to narrower hulled craft, I do paddle strike quite frequently, which can be annoying. I'd like a narrower catch, as with two partners both swinging wings, you can make this baby go. While we're at it, some recessed fittings for the decklines would be nice-maybe the newer versions have this to avoid the occasional knuckle strike when your hands dip lower as the day wears on.
The Tango is surprisingly fast for its width, as one reviewer noted. At even a conversational pace, it is quite easy to gain on and pass singles, who will be more than happy to sit on your considerable wake. Paddling with my daughter, who's prone to laying down her paddle, swinging her legs over the side and just taking in the sights, I'm amazed at how easy it is to paddle her solo-the boat is well balanced, and maintains a good clip with only the power of one. Last year on vacation, this was the scenario, along with a tow belt line to my wife's single. when you've momentum built in the Tango, she just glides along.
The hatches remain dry through all manner of spray. the neoprene covers do a good job of sealing out even minor weeping. The fiberglass covers are a bit awkward to shoehorn on and off wedged under the bungees the way they are, and will sink when released without a stock tether to prevent this happening. Bungee placement is a bit strange due to hatch location; I do miss having bungees right behind me for drinking bladder use. The storage capacity is immense. Like a huge SUV, you'll be tempted to bring everything along just because you can. Just keep this in mind when it comes time to pull it up on shore.
The weight. I wistfully imagine what a new kevlar version of this craft both looks and feels like. My fiberglass layup probably weighs in at close to a hundred lbs. Thankfully, by positioning myself by the center hatch in the middle of the boat, and grasping the front and rear cockpit coamings, I can fairly easily move it around. Its length and bulk make loading it on the roofrack a prop and slide affair; I use a roller to assist, but there are always a few moments of 'focus' when the deep 'V' bow wants to flop from one side to another when on the roller. It goes without saying that front and rear tiedowns are de rigeur.
In closing, if I could afford a new, all kevlar version, I'd go for it. Ultimately, I'd like to see it a little less beamy, with some of the aforementioned items from my wish list as noted above. That said, it's clear this boat is meant to move two people along at a more than respectable clip for long expeditions, yet it is not limited to this purpose. The folks at Seda are always more than helpful at sourcing parts or assisting with questions. While no boat in my eyes is perfect, I have to say I do love this one.