So... that Perception Essence 17... I ended up getting it. The trade deal turned out to be too good to pass up, and so I figured I can now compare both kayaks and pick the one that works best. Then I'll sell the other one.
Tonight, I pulled them out and put them side by side and sat in both. I fiddled with the various adjustments on both. And then I took photos, which you can see here:
Note I'm calling it the Kayak Kockpit Komparo (or KKK), so don't go being offended. :)
Anyway... first I sat in the red one (the Perception) and got it all setup to how it was comfy. It's missing the thigh pads and the PO doesn't have them, so I'll have to get some. However, I only need about 1/2 to 3/4" at the bottom and maybe an inch on top, so we're pretty close.
The thigh pads... I still have no idea how the hell these things are supposed to be positioned, but I've moved them back in both cases. They're hitting me about midway between my hip and knee now (roughly).
Getting into the orange one (the Tempest) is still a huge pain in the butt... or more accurately, legs. When I get in, then get my legs in place, my legs almost immediately start to cramp up due to the position of my legs and my feet. Even changing the positions of the pedals, it doesn't help.
Whoever said to move the seat back has a good point. Look closely at the photos and you can see how much closer the seat is on the orange one, and both seats are in their stock positions. BUT.. I'm not convinced that moving the seat on the Tempest is going to be the fix. The taper of the front of the cockpit (kockpit?) is like the tip of an egg, whereas on the red one, it's more like the bottom of the egg. So there really isn't enough room to get in and out. I'm pretty convinced at this point that, had I capsized the orange one the other day, I would have had a heck of a time getting out.
These two boats are kind of at extreme opposites in size. So the answer just might be a Tempest 170. I'd have to see one in person and sit in it to know more, but the slight change in width and extra inch in deck height could be the answer.
Now I'm really eager to get to class this coming weekend and see what their boats are like, for an even better comparison.
Canoe/Kayak Storage Racks
EZ Launch™ Kayak & Canoe
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