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Submitted: 06-07-2013 by schoborg
A few years ago, my wife and I decided to buy a hard-shell, composite tandem kayak. Before buying the boat, we did a lot of research and considered the Valley Aluet II and Seaward Passat tandems as the best choices – but we had a hard time finding a place where we could do a demo paddle. I then saw an ad on paddling.net for a used Seaward Passat tandem. We decided to drive to Georgia and give it a test paddle. After a few hours of paddling, we were the proud owners of a new (to us) tandem kayak.
Since then, we have had her (to my wife, all kayaks are females) out on lakes and rivers across the Southeast US, as well as Mobile Bay and Perdido Bay on the Gulf coast. The finish is still essentially flawless and the deck rigging, rudder, rudder cables, handles and hatches are still tight and in good shape – just like on a new boat. This is unusual on a 5 year old, previously owned boat and a testimony to both the care of the previous owner and the build quality of the Passat. Since it was used, we did not get a color choice but the yellow/orange fade looks really sharp and is highly visible on the water – an important safety factor! In fact, the good looks of the boat can be a bit of a pain, as every power boater and jet skier on the water feels compelled to come check us out when we would rather they leave us alone!
We live on the busiest lake in the TVA system and have had the boat out in confused swells/wakes up to 2-3 feet, as well as in some high winds. We have found the Passat to be extremely stable and to track well in wind from any direction without significant weathercocking. Thus, little or no rudder input is required to stay on course. The initial stability is high, but the boat has a decent turn of speed as well. There is also plenty of room for camping (and other) gear. The rudder system is robust and functions well, but a major highpoint of the boat is the hatch system – probably the driest, most secure AND easiest to open/close of any of the kayaks we own. Finally, the Passat is a GREAT photography platform – it is rock steady and there is enough room in the rear cockpit that I can store a Pelican dry box (containing my SLR and 400 mm telephoto lens) on the floor under my knees without interfering with my paddling, comfort or exit from the cockpit in an emergency. That way, when an interesting bird comes along, I can just pop the latch on the dry box and I am in business!
To couples who might be considering a tandem – do it – but only if you like working together. Don't let anyone convince you that tandem kayaks are "divorce boats". Buying a tandem was a perfect solution for us – both of us get the workout we want and it solves the eternal "paddlers with different fitness levels" issue. The challenge of working together adds to the fun - one of my goals is to learn to work together well enough that we can roll our Passat!
My wife likes to name our boats. Her Eddyline Fathom LV single is "Baby" and my Epic 18X is "that d**n thing that breaks all the time so that you have to borrow my Eddyline…" My new Folbot Cooper does not have a name yet but I'm thinking "Slinky" – for the cool way it flexes over swells. Our Passat tandem is named "Serenity" – because it allows us to enjoy an outdoor activity TOGETHER (and - yes - after the ship on a short lived but excellent Science Fiction TV series “Firefly” – did I say we are nerds?). I would recommend that anyone looking for a tandem buy a Seaward.
Finally, to all the folks at the Seaward company who pour their hard work into these boats, kudos for making such a fine product! Thank you so much for the many miles (kilometers?) of happy paddling and irreplaceable memories.
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