Submitted: 06-06-2008 by yacom
I was looking at buying an Impex Asseteague and a very good paddling friend told me to try the Tempest 180 because the store that had (still have) the Impex, never seriously invited me to test drive it. So I went to Paddle Fest in Ladysmith (BC) and demoed the Tempest 180…I WAS WOWED!
The seat is just incredibly comfortable with very good adjustments; I can sit in that boat for hours. I demoed the boat for a 4 day trip before thinking of buying it. I paddled in all conditions, surf, heavy wind, 4 ft chops, name it, I had it all and the boat has been rolled many times. The Tempest 180 handled very well in all these conditions, and barely windcocked... I never had to use the skeg in 25 kn wind. I found the boat a little piggish when loaded but hey, I'd rather compromise speed for stability…you can not have it all.
I examined the boat after the trip and found cracked thigh braces as described by "kbf" and leaky bulk heads which in that case can easily be fixed. I did not buy the boat after my "test drive" but advised the store of these problems. The store placed an order to Wilderness to build a new boat with descent thigh brace, at least strong enough to handle a heavier paddler and that can take the pressure without ripping off from the cockpit.
So far, I am rating it 5/10 or less because of the weakness of the thigh braces. Also, check the finish of the boat; it seems that the builders of the boat don’t care about quality control, especially inside the bulk heads. So before buying, put you head in there and check it out, you do not want them to rip your dry bag on a sharp piece of fiberglass sticking out. Also check the thickness of the thigh brace attachment to the cockpit, it will crack on you as it did to me.
If Wilderness can fix these construction flaws, the Tempest 180 pro will become one of the best boat out there and I will rate it 9 or 8/10. Also, make sure that your store will guaranteed the boat or at least, expect a great "after sale" bomb proof customer service, you may need it. My store takes care of all the warranty since I will not and do not want to deal with Wilderness. I am still waiting for my "new boat" but if I found any weakness in the construction, this boat won’t make it home.