Help - Need to make a choice quickly

Hi there - I’m new to this board and hoping for some answers to a tricky dilemma.

The local store is having a sale this weekend - 15% off boats - I’ve been looking for a new kayak for several weeks, and would like to take advantage of the sale. The problem is I won’t have the opportunity to try the boat first (logistical issues - it’s a long story).

I’m considering the following boats: WS Tempest 165 or Tsunami 160, Necky Chatham 16 (possibly 17), or Current Designs Squall or Sirocco. I’m leaning toward the Necky or WS boats.

Note: only considering plastic boats for cost.

I’m 5’ 9", 160lb. Will be paddling on the Chesapeake bay, looking at doing 10 to 20 mile trips, probably not many overnighters - so loading is not my main priority.

I plan to be out in all conditions, smooth, rough, calm, windy, sunny or cold :slight_smile:

What I’ve heard: The Chatham 16 is great for rough water, but a barge in smooth (ie SLOW). Going to the Chatham 17 may improve the speed a bit, but it’s just not as nice to paddle generally (also heavier and more unwieldy when loading it solo - as I usually do). The Tempest is much more “tippy”, (ie. more work in the rough stuff) but will be quicker on the long trip.

I’m now completely confused and need to make a choice by Friday (30 May). Any input would be greatly appreciated. I realize this is not the best way to buy a boat, but I feel like they’re all good boats, and I really would like to save the cash if I can. It’s just a case of getting the right boat for my purpose, and that is what I’m struggling with.

Partial reply
Between the Tempest and Tsunami, choose the Tempest. It is a very good sea kayak and obviously much better than the Tsunami for what you are describing. “Tippiness” is not more work. As someone else on this board said, boats don’t capsize, people capsize boats. It only takes a small amount of seat time and the proper attitude to get used to tippiness. Lower initial stability and strong secondary stability make a boat easier to paddle. I don’t know the other boats well enough to comment. But getting the Tempest would not be a mistake.

second the “tippiness” response

I know there are some chatham owners out there, chime in! I would narrow it to the chatham and the tempest.

Tempest over Tsunami

– Last Updated: May-27-08 7:29 PM EST –

I have the Tsunami 145 and have paddled the Tempest 170. The 145 Tsunami is probably slower than the Tsunami 160 and I do not know how the Tempest 165 compares to the 170 either.... so I can't compare apples to apples.

But, comparing the Tsunami 145 to the Tempest 170, it is immediately clear to me that the Tempest is a boat to grow into, the Tsunami is just a very nice safe recreational boat. Not bad, but boring after a while and slower. The Tempest 170 did not feel that much tippier after having paddled the Tsunami for a few months now. But consider that the Tsunami felt tippy to me the first few times, but now it is so stable I do not even notice waves or currents - too stable for fun -;)

Between the Tsunami & the Tempest, if you plan to paddle longer distances and gain more advanced skills and volume is not that important, go with the Tempest. But paddle to make sure you fit well inside.

Sorry, no idea about the other boats...


And, last week, may be still there, there was a nicely equipped Tsunami 165 or 170 for sale on in the Washington DC area if I recall.

LLBean Outlet has a Brand New blue Tempest 165 for $999 on the shelf at their Prime Outlets location near BayBridge off Rt. 50. They also have a Chatham 17 I think there as well but it has a deformed hull so do not buy that particular one, plus it may be too big for you as I almost fit in it -;). I wonder if with some coupon you could get even a better deal on the Tempest there...

Tempest 165
The Tempest is an excellent boat…would be tough to grow out of that boat…and…a couple of times in the boat and you will be taking photos…



Tempest 165
it’s the only one there that really fits your size. The only reason to consider the Chatham16 or 17 is if you really need the greater stability or plan on taking out 50lbs all the time. I own a Chatham 16 and weigh around 195. You’ll put out less effort at regular paddling speeds in the 165 than the Chatham 16/17. I wouldn’t get hung up on “speed” as much as efficiency for average speeds.

The only criticism towards the Tempest is whether the aft hatch will stay on in a rescue. If it doesn’t it can be modified. The Scirocco is very efficient but it’ll probably be kinda big for learning to roll and it’s weathercocking is bothersome as the skeg doesn’t correct for it as well as I’d like.

The Squamish doesn’t impress me.

The Necky Eliza would be a very good choice if you didn’t mind the rudder.

Demo if you get a chance.
and, also, read the product reviews on this site. you should fit in all these boats fine because you are considered a small paddler and thats what these kayaks are for. Medium is above 170, Right??

So it’s between Tempest & Chathams?
Thanks for the replies so far - this all seems to back up what I’ve found so far. It seems my best choices are either the WS Tempest, or either the Chatham 16 or 17.

I have pretty much stopped considering Current Designs, as there are only a couple of boats which are in the same price range, and they don’t seem to match up (Squall & sirocco) for one reason or another.

Please keep the replies coming

Thanks again

Don’t rush your decision, there will be
another sale or another opportunity. If you want a lower cost roto boat you should look at Valley. I think Valley make the nicest rotomolded boats on the market today and their sea kayak designs are highly regarded. I bought a Valley Aquanaut lv for $1250, last years model brand new. You owe it to yourself to paddle the potential boats first. Not paddling the boat first is in my opinion the biggest mistake you can make. Either way, good luck and safe paddling.

very similar
When my girlfriend was buying, it came down to a Tempest 165 and Chatham 16. Basically she couldn’t tell the difference between the two, even putting them side by side and paddling one after the other. I am sure Flatpick and others may disagree, but they appear to be very similar boats.

Partial to Chathams
Currently have 3. IMO, you are in the ideal weight range for a CH16, and OK for the CH17, especially if loading her up a wee bit. Don’t think you could go wrong with either. CH16 is not slow, just not fast. IMO, it’s performance makes up for that. CH17 is an excellent all around platform. Finally, Necky outfitting is excellent. I thought the Tempest was an OK boat, but just OK. IMO, Necky outfitting, seat, hatches, skeg system are all superior.

The Sirocco is kinda a big boat for you, and while I loved my Squall it is an older boat that won’t do some things as adroitly as the newer designs.

I have no experience in the Chatham 17 but know it’s a reliable bigger water boat, have been in a Tempest 165 and know it rolls like a dream.

I’d suggest that you sit in these two and go for the fit. Unfortunately the web sites of each manufacturer each leave out a rather crucial measurement or two to guess it that way. WS doesn’t have cockpit dimensions and Necky doesn’t have deck height, so no good way to judge fit.

they’re different
the Tempest is more distinct on a lean for turning, the Chatham will slide around a bit more.

My honest opinion.
The retailer wants your business. Test paddle boats this weekend, be respectable, and then take your time. An ill-fitting boat will cost you much more than 15% in trading it again in a year. And the retailer–they’ll give you 15% off likely anytime you want, as long as you are respectful and show your face at the weekend test.

You find the perfect boat, buy it on sale. Still with questions: no hasty purchases just becuase of the “one weekend sale”. There will be plenty of ther weekends, and plenty of other sales, trust me.


PS I agree with Celia, the Sirroco is an old skool water pig.

I second that
about the Sirocco. Ugh.

My vote goes to the Tempest.

you know…

– Last Updated: May-27-08 11:01 PM EST – bet is that you can talk the manager into honoring the discount while giving you a little extra time to make a good decision.

He's clearly motivated to sell a few boats and you're clearly in the market. I'll bet you can work something out with the shop.

By way of explanation…
Thanks again for the replies. To shed a little more light on the “rush factor” -

Kayaks are in high demand in the Chesapeake area this time of year, and it is almost impossible to get a “deal” on a new boat. (second hand boats are going for close to 80 % of new price).

This is a once a year sale that the store is offering, and unfortunately I will be out of town at the time. They will honor the sale price if I purchase over the phone - provided I call on that day.

Tomorrow I’ll speak to another dealer - but I have not had much luck with them either, all I get is the same story about being “in season” and no discounts. It’s very much a sellers market here at the moment.

I will test a Chatham 16 before I leave, but there isn’t a Tempest or Chatham 17 available to test in time, so I won’t get a comparison.

Thanks again to all for your input.

on an ending note
a couple of well placed pounds of gear in the yak will increase yer water line an performance . As well as the afore mentioned seat time . Feel the boat be the boat , you are the ONLY ONE that will really know . And ya can’t make a wrong decision .

Have fun be safe .

I’m Your Size
I really like my Tempest 165. You might consider moving the seat back a little like I did if you’re leggy. You might also consider using a Greenland paddle instead of a Euro.

Say no to Tsunami.


– Last Updated: May-28-08 12:34 PM EST –

I've demoed all of them except the Tsunami, but not enough to be a true test. Based on that experience I'd go for the T165 for what you want to do. I'm almost exactly your size and paddle an Avocet RM.