Submitted: 08-04-2011 by Dave
I have been paddling my Tempest 170 for a little over 2 years so a review is now appropriate. First, I'm giving this boat a 9 because all of the ratings seem like high numbers and I want to match that scheme. The very best boats out there should really rate 8 to leave room for something way better in the future, but that's not how people seem to rate boats.
My boat was a very worn rental kayak when I bought it. I had to fix some of the seat straps and replace the skeg cable. The boat is scratched up quite a bit. I also replaced the small plastic thingies that hold the carry handle in place. All of the work I did was easy and nothing in the design of the boat caused me problems.
I really like this boat. I've paddled a Necky Zoar Sport (14') with a rudder and a Necky Manitou (13') and the performance I get from the Tempest is great. It is faster of those boats and handles rough conditions very well cases. I can roll the boat easily. The rigging handles everything I want to stick on the deck including a spare paddle. The only things that are not quite right are the kayak steering itself to the left and the skeg being too small to handle surfing short wavelength waves. Neither of these are really important since the steering is probably due to the hull being bent from abuse before I got it and the fact that no skeg or rudder is big enough to handle the waves I encountered a few days ago. The left steering problem is not my stroke. I can be out on a calm day and give a strong stroke on the left side and the boat will still turn left. In more typical conditions, the skeg is great and can be adjusted to account for wind and waves from any direction. It performs almost like a rudder when dealing with a consistent wind.
I have paddled up to 16 miles in the boat in one sitting and have been comfortable enough to not hate being in a kayak that long (4 hours). I'm 6'1" and about 200# and there is room to move around in the boat to stretch out a little while resting. When paddling, the cockpit, seat, pads, etc., all fit well.
I can roll the boat easily even with gear on the deck. I need to make a small adjustment to the thigh braces to tighten things up but the adjustments are there to make when I get around to it. The boat has a good balance of initial and secondary stability and is not easily knocked over by any waves so far.
Overall, it is a good, appropriately stable, reasonable fast boat. It is just "light" enough for me to get this on the top of a Nissan XTerra myself but maybe heavy for someone smaller. I don't camp but there seems to be lots of room for at least a few nights worth of gear and probably a weeks worth for a hard-core camper.
I like it and I'm going to keep it.