Submitted: 05-05-2003 by PHILIPJEDLICKA
I rented a Tempest 17 (poly) this weekend for 2 days to "try before I buy". I currently own a Cape Horn 15.5' w/surf rudder. Over 2 days I traveled about 40 km in it in various conditions.
Quite frankly all the hype about this kayak is true: it's super fast, quite light, great hatches that don't leak and although narrow, it's quite stable. I also like the fact that it comes in Blaze Orange, which can be an important safety factor when traveling in congested waters. The Phaze3 seat is really good too, save for the lack of a cup holder. Basically you can go and go and go and never get tired!
I really wanted to like this kayak but the one thing that put me off over time was not having my surf rudder to control trim. I must admit that the skeg works fine. I guess I'm just not big on turning by bracing & paddle strokes. Yes, I can do it but it's annoying in cross winds and choppy water, I much prefer to drop the rudder and concentrate on other things. For much the same reasons I moved to a Cape Horn from a Manteo. A good analogy for this kayak is "it's like a great TV with no remote". You'll leave other kayaks in your wake but you won't do circles around them either.
For me this makes it one point away from 'absolutely perfect' so I give it a 9 out of 10. So, no sale either! I think I'll try out the Cape Horn 17' (longer and slimmer than mine too but with a surf rudder to boot).