Submitted: 07-09-2007 by kef207
I have owned a plastic Tempest 165 for about three months now. The very positive reviews of the Tempest are a testament to the thoughtful design and outfitting of this boat. Half of my paddling is on rocky rivers where glass boats are not a choice. I am a plastic boat guy and probably always will be.
The distinguishing performance feature of the Tempest is its high degree of rocker. Place the Tempest on the floor next to nearly any other boat in its class (plastic boats for sure) and the rocker on this boat will stand out.
The rocker is what makes this boat so maneuverable and so much fun to paddle. The sharp approach at the bow and V at the stern provide decent tracking on a boat this length. But, the Tempest really shines when you put her up on edge and carve a turn. It is a thing of beauty, and in this respect the Tempest performs better than any other boat I have paddled.
The 165 is a low volume boat. I am not saying you can’t take it for two week or month long expeditions, but it would not be my first choice. 95% of my paddling is day trekking with an occasional weekender, and for this the Tempest is an excellent choice.
The low volume of the boat also contributes to its performance. As others have pointed out, the low, flat rear deck and back-band make the Tempest an easy boat to roll. The low decks also reduce its profile to the wind.
The Tempest will weathercock, but in my opinion less so than many other boats. Weathercocking is easily corrected if you choose to use the skeg (some paddlers think skegs are for weenies, count me in the weenie group). Weathercocking results when the center of pressure of the wind against the profile of the hull and paddler is aft of the center of drag of the boat against the water (and so the wind pivots the boat around the center of drag and the bow “cocks” into the wind). The skeg shifts the center of drag toward the stern, thereby reducing the effect.
As others have reported, I have seen some leakage in the rear hatch especially after rolling or playing in waves. The seating system is comfortable and adjustable on the fly. The back band provides good support as long as you are paddling, but expect a pain in the back if you have to stop and sit for any length of time.
All in all I love this boat. I want to thank Ilya at Princeton Outdoor in Clifton, NJ for pointing me to the Tempest, it wasn’t on my consideration list. The boat maneuvers like a dream, is an adequate tracker, and performs well in all conditions. You can do much worse in a kayak at this price.