Submitted: 08-24-2012 by Chad
My review is specifically for the plastic model.
I briefly owned a used 2008 model last year and fell in love with the boat after paddling it for the first time. The problem with the 2008 boat was the stern hatch. The larger oval hatch cover wasn't rigid enough to stay sealed properly. I knew I couldn't trip out of this kayak with the hatch like that. I let my ex keep the kayak since I didn't want to deal with the hatch problem. I also had to seal up some leaks on the bulkheads (which are made of dense foam). Other than that I knew I would want to own a newer Tempest (with redesigned hatches).
Earlier this year I purchased 2 new 2012 Tempest 170 RM's for my girlfriend and myself.
We love them. This boat glides through the water and paddles like a dream. It tracks great. I use the skeg often to maintain a straight course. One must be careful not to kink the skeg cable when deploying it. The older models had a metal bar on the slider to prevent the cable kinking there. When I deploy the skeg I keep my thumb against the cable as I slide it back and it works fine. Looks like WS cut back on some costs. They should have left it the way it was.
The boat has good speed. It handles great in rough conditions, rolls effortlessly. It has great deck rigging and has very comfortable seating. The seating does seem to be more cheaply made than the older model.
My girlfriend's Tempest came with a few problems. The underside of the combing and plastic part of the thigh brace support were not sanded down and were very sharp. We both received good cuts while practicing wet exits. I sanded them down when we got home. My boat was nice and smooth from the factory.
Both boats needed to be sealed in spots on the bulkheads. I sealed the bulkheads where the skeg cables passed through them. As well, one boat had a big gaping hole on the bow bulkhead near the deck that had to be filled. I think the quality control might be down a little at WS.
I haven't tripped with the boat yet but it can easily be done. It doesn't have huge volume for cargo but there is still enough for a well planned week.
I gave the boat an 8 only because of the few problems and the quality control. The truth is, I still love this boat and love every minute I am on the water with it. If I had my way and could have my Tempest made with a few changes, this it would be them:
- add the metal bar back to the skeg cable slider
- make the bow hatch into a larger dome
- use Valley hatches (they may be a pain to put on and take off but they are watertight)
- uses plastic welded bulkheads
- somehow make the Poly boat more rigid like Valley has done with their poly boats
I only transport my boats on their sides. These are plastic boats with foam bulkheads and can easily suffer hull damage while strapping them securely. Strapping them on their side allows the boat to be snugly strapped without crunching the hull.
If you are thinking of buying a fun stable boat then take a Tempest out for a test paddle.