If not Tempest, which boat?

Yet another “which should I try” post…

I’m about to try different kayaks and buy one.

I had my eyes set on Tempest 165 (plastic), but I decided against dealing with the potential leaky hatches. I liked the fit and ride(?), but have to look for another. So here are the alternatives I’m considering, all plastic.

  • P&H Capella RM 160 (166 sounds too big?)
  • Wilderness Zephyr 155

    I’m 5’8" 160lb, mid 40’s, don’t mind narrow boats. Prefer greenland/British styles (as opposed N. American).

    Anything else you recommend?

    I have taken classes in the past, learning to roll is definitely in the near future. I don’t want to go wider than, say 22" (rules out Tsunamis). I’ll often go with my young son in his 12’ boat (Tsunami SP) to lakes and calm harbors, so want to stay shorter than 17’ for maneuverability, but long enough I can take it out to choppier water when I’m with friends.

    Thank you…

Valley RM’s
such as Avocet, Nordkapp and I think an Aquanaut too are 3 well made poly boats fitting your requirements. Each has different hull, size and feel. All have welded poly bulkheads and respected Valley hatches.

Chatham 16
In plastic…

Perception Avatar
I own many kayaks and this is definitely one of the better british style boats out there. You cannot have big feet to fit in one. If my feet were to big to fit in one I would seriously consider cutting off my toes so I could. Trust me the pain will be worth it.

Are you…
…looking for a day boat of something that you can go long in?

Valley RM’s, I agree with Andy.
They are superb for precisely the purpose you propose, and I am your same size.

A day boat
… for the most part. A couple of nights at most for the next few years.

leaky hatches in T’s are a fiberglass…
yak issue. haven’t seen a problem with plastic ones.

I’ve got a…
friend with a t-160 that rolls more than a…well, trying to find something PC here…well, he rolls it quite a lot.

If you’d like, I’ll ask him how his hatches are for dryness. I’ve never seen him mopping them out.


Consider your aspirations…
…and your budget.

There are lots of great choices in Brit style day boats. That’s easy unless you over think it. Lot’s ove good choices.

Consider your budget. Do you care if it’s new or used? That can be a limiter or can set you free.

Perception Avatar?

– Last Updated: May-10-08 7:37 AM EST –

Haven't seen or paddled one. According to Perception's specs is has a very large cockpit and is rather beamy compared to most Brit style day boats - and no day hatch.

How do you feel it compares to a Tempest 165, Chatham 16 or Avocet?


– Last Updated: May-10-08 10:31 AM EST –

In using poly Tempests 165 in pools sessions I have had the aft hatch half-fill with water and the bow take on about 2 quarts. This was after as few as 4 rolls and a couple of rescue drills. The compartments on the poly Tempests just never stayed dry.
Reviews here on p.net would indicate that leaking hatches have been a problem on the poly version of the Tempest (165/170/180), but the older composite boats are not without issues (manufacturing dates prior to August 2006 - see below).


I previously owned a glass Tempest with Wildy's original proprietary hatch system (same as on the current poly Tempests). I found that the day hatch would remain absolutely dry and I might get a teaspoon or two in the bow hatch after 20 or more rolls. The aft hatch, however, proved more problematic. Wildy's original aft hatch slightly over-hung the Tempest 165 Pro's 'gunnels'. This made it very easy to dislodge in cowboy reentries or rescue drills where you have a victim come across your rear deck. I could never get the aft hatch to seal properly, but it did seal better than on the equivalent poly Tempest.

In August of 2006 Wildy started putting Kajaksport hatches on all the composite Tempests. These have a much more positive/water-tight seal and there is no longer any hatch 'overhang' on the 165 Pro.
Regrettably Wildy does not use the Kajaksport hatches on their poly Tempests.


Tempest 165
As a poly Tempest owner, my vote would go towards a Valley Kayak, the Nord being my favorate! Superior triple poly,hatches,fast,rolling,manuverabilty,rough water stability, following seas a blast,good looks,skeg area and control and a heritage to beat! It does everything very well except track in reverse.

Maybe I am just lucky
but over the last three years I have owned three plastic tempests and i roll a lot! Ony time I have seen water in an aft hatch was on the 165 when I deployed the skeg repeatedly during a surf and rolling session that lasted a few hours. Maybe I am the exception but I honestly haven’t had the problem I read on these forums.


Just sold a poly 165
which I’ve been paddling for over a year. It was a nice all- round kayak for me and fun and friendly in the surf zone. The front hatch didn’t leak but day and rear did - cup to several cups. That was after rolling and being in surf/rough water. I have had the back hatch come off twice in surf and it would have been put on properly. Pretty extreme forces at work in that stuff. Ended up making a ply/glass/epoxy lid for the rear hatch with 2 straps over the top…then I went and sold it. The old line - I need the money. Got a fun home build to paddle anyway.

Necky Chatham 17
I like the poly Chatham 17 better then my two glass boats.It maneuvers well and is an easy roller. Definitely worth a look

I meant - overnight trips would be limited to a couple of nights at most, for the next few years

Avocet RM

– Last Updated: May-10-08 10:39 AM EST –

More maneuverable than the T165(which I also like), and happiest with waves under her keel. I've had one for many years and she still makes me smile every time we go out. The stock outfitting isn't as plush as the Tempest but it's easy to improve.

I haven't paddled the RM Aquanaut LV, but the composite one is very nice.

leaky hatches??

– Last Updated: May-10-08 11:33 AM EST –

are you sure the hatches are sealed properly?? When I first bought my T-170 I would notice a little(about 1/2--1 cup) of water in the rear hatch after rolling or going in rough water---I then was told to make sure the cover was on properly by hitting the circumference where it fits over the hatch coaming with the heel of my palm---I haven't had a problem with leaks since.

common issue
most who complain of leaky hatches haven’t learned to seal them tightly. Not to say that they’re all dry BUT the most common leaks are from NOT putting the lid on securely.

Not straight and not burped down tight are the most common.

If it’s a Tempest you want…