Submitted: 08-17-2012 by Chris S
I've owned my Incept Tasman K40 for over a year now, paddling mostly on northwest Scottish lochs and coasts, a little in England plus off northwest Australia. My previous main IK was a Gumotex/Innova Sunny (great) and briefly a Feathercraft Java (not so great for me).
Over the years I can truly say I wrung my money's worth out of the old Sunny and still miss it's simple, solid, durable design. But spending more time by the sea it felt a bit slow and vulnerable, would bend with the swell and so take on water (me: 95kg/6'1"). Plus I felt it lacked room for longer tours. For once I was lucky (and smart) enough to try a boat first and that sold me on the K40. The way I see it, Incept have thought it through pretty well:
Even at 27" beam it's reassuringly stable – I've never tipped out. Plus there's even a zip-around deck and cockpit that will take a spray skirt. Tried that once or twice but I much prefer it rolled back, with a drysuit if necessary; so much easier to hop out and go exploring. The inflatable seat looks basic, but no complaints or numbness there. Missing were lashing points in the hull; added, along with thigh braces and a Pacific Action sail, both of which I use occasionally.
- pressure release valves on all three chambers (important on an IK, IMO) – and all accessible from the cockpit too
- twin-tube side chambers for more interior space, added draught plus longitudinal rigidity
- stiff "polyuretane-alloy" (aka: quality PVC?) fabric that aids on-water rigidity although hampers tight packing and feels less abrasion-resistant than Hypalon
- a pillow-pedalled rudder (somewhat mushy; like on any IK I suspect)
- a probably underrated payload of 160 kilos (350 lbs). I've had that weight in passenger/s and there was plenty of draught
- all at just 17kg (37.5 lbs), a kilo more than the Mk 1 Sunny.
They call it a "sea kayak", but that's a bit of a streach in the Hebrides. I see the Tasman as a light, manoeuvrable and versatile do-it-all touring IK that's competent on lochs, rivers up to WW3 (a bit long for that, really), and coastal jaunts up to Force 4. It was only off Australia's Northwest Cape that I found the limits of the light and high-sided K40 in very windy conditions. I chose to give up which was frustrating; the other two in a 55-kilo sail-rigged Perception hardshell managed fine to complete a full run along the Ningaloo Reef.
Even from new you could tell the heat-welded, lino-like PU fabric might not be as durable as softer, more pliant Nitrilon/Hypalon, but rubber-based IKs flex beyond a certain length so aren't as nippy. And being hand-glued, they cost more to make well. The Tasman is stiff without resorting to metal frames, making it one of the fastest IKs around; offshore that can be reassuring. Recently on a calm sea I was cruising at 4-4.5 mph, and when the wind came up, hacked back at 3 mph. With the V-sail I can get up to 6mph but it's inconsistent and I sometimes wonder if it's worth the bother. Providing it's not too windy the K40 will track well enough with the rudder up (or should it break), but of course you expend some finesse correcting so can't go as fast.
I've had one pinprick puncture (from a thorn while unrolling?) and this year it won't keep full pressure over several days when lying outside; I suspect a light general seepage, like my Alpacka. It's no drama although I don't recall the Sunny doing the same, and it never punctured in years either. You'd always take the pump on long- or multi-day paddles and anyway will lose some pressure when the PRVs purge in the heat. Better 10 seconds top up per chamber before a paddle than burst seams.
I do miss the knock-about durability of the Sunny, but in the Incept really appreciate the extra speed/reduced effort, the higher, swamp-free sides with added 4" internal beam and space overall,the quick drying bladder-free design, the rudder and I suppose the optional deck (zipped up and skirt on, the K40 can be eskimo rolled). The price is up there in Grabner Holiday territory (also a non-bladder IK), but when you add up the air-portable weight and out-of-the box features, for my sort of kayaking it's one of the best IKs going.
Plenty more on my apaddleinmypack IK blog.