Is the Tempest 17'...

-- Last Updated: Aug-05-07 1:56 PM EST --

generally regarded as a "straight, good tracking" kayak? I'd like to know what good paddlers think of it just as a point of reference.

I'm an intermediate paddler in kayaks and had a chance to use one of these last weekend. It was a RM version and in general went straight but took a bit more effort than a "transitional touring" type kayak (Zoar sport).
Also, for me, I really needed to paddle hard to see any speed benefit over the Zoar sport.

I guess it depends a lot on personal abilities but was wondering if there was a general consensus regarding tracking in this kayak.

Thaks a lot.

I’ll take a shot at this…
First, lets get the speed thing out of the way…

With touring kayaks the actual difference in drag numbers below 4 knots is very small. They are all pretty similar. Neither of these kayaks are fast, both are adequate for general touring. A strong paddler could push the Tempest faster, but an average paddler won’t find much difference.

The Zoar will likely track better, but the Tempest would be the better choice for rough sea, outer coastal conditions. It is also more playful than the Zoar. They really are two different classes of boats. The T is more of a Greenland inspired coastal touring craft, whereas the Z is more of a general touring kayak.

The T would be my choice of the two, but I prefer the T165 over the 175. It sorta depends on you, and what you wish to do, where you paddle, etc. I own neither of these boats, but have seat time in both.

Thanks for the insight.

Still relatively new to this kayak stuff so I really value the voices of experience.

Looking for a kayak for large lakes and day touring, not looking for a race boat but heard “longer kayaks are faster”. Would like it to track well.

The Zoar is sort of my reference because it (and a Pungo ) are really the only kayaks I’ve used for 3 - 4 yrs. Recently took a long lesson in a Tsunami 14 and it was similar to the Zoar.

Due to the rumors of a longer boat being more efficient/faster I had an oppportunity to try the Tempest adn thought it was highly manuverable but took some effort to keep straight.

I really like the idea of the thermoformed kayaks and really want to try an Eddyline or CD oracle

but unfortunately the nearest Eddyline dealer is about 5 -6 hrs away.

Maybe someday.

Thanks again.

what he said…
good advice.

in terms of speed longer is not always faster, as most people think. theroretic hull speed is faster but so is wetted surface so the longer boats will take more effort.

In rough, bouncy conditions (what the tempest was designed for) the turnability, rocker and narrower beam will make a pretty big difference in handling compared to the Zoar or the tsunami.

1/2 full or half empty?

the same boat could be described as EZ to turn and very maneuverable OR NOT very good tracker.


GREAT tracking but sorta hard to turn.

don’t ferget there’s always the skeg to ADD to the tracking.


I Also Prefer the 165
Try one on a windy day.

The Tempest really does well in swells and chop. It is not the fastest 17 footer but it has a good fitting cockpit particularly for larger psddlers (200 lb.). Smaller paddlers should go for the T165. One tip if you are going for tracking, particularly in wind, a little skeg will go a long way to lock the back end.

I’ve had my Tempest 165…
about three months and I love it! When I first got it I thought it tracked terribly (compared to the Eddyline Skylark that I was used to). If I’m willing to concentrate on my stroke, it tracks fine now. When I get lazy, I just put down the skeg. Compared to the Eddyline, it is definitely faster – I don’t think I’ve averaged over 4 mph with the Skylark, but frequently average 4.6 - 4.7 mph over 8-10 miles with the T165 (mind you, I’m 63). Most of my paddling has been on flat rivers – I’ve only been on the ocean 3 times.

The T-170 has a lot of rocker (the bow and stern hull are higher than the middle of the boat.) This makes the T-170 very easy to manuever, but it is not considered to be a particularly good tracker (like a racing boat.) Using the skeg will help a lot with tracking.

That being said, the T-170 is a well-mannered boat that will do well in most conditions.

Value of tracking
Tracking is and of itself is a feature that has to be balanced against other things, like handling windy or rough conditions. As long as you are staying in quiet lakes and flat water and not pushing your skills to do more stuff like sculling, rolling, more extensive variety of control strokes and handling larger waves and conditions, tracking by itself can seem more improtant than the rest.

But if you decide to start pushing your skill, the Tempests become a much better boat than something like the Zoar Sport because they will support all of that stuff much better.

Depends on your point of reference

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 11:06 AM EST –

Compared to an Avocet, it tracks very well. Compared to a whitewater boat, it's on rails.

I demoed a T165 along with several other similar-sized sea kayaks recently, and it seemed pretty average in flatwater tracking. What I like about it is that it also responds nicely to an edge when you do want to turn.

Tracking is a bit like stability: most paddlers find that it magically improves with more butt-in-boat time. I've seen rec-boat paddlers in beginning whitewater class go from not being able to paddle 30' in a straight line to having reasonable boat control in just a few hours.

Folks moving to a narrower boat often find that a shorter paddle helps tracking and efficiency.

Tempest 170 speed–flatpick?
You menitoned in a posting somewhere the boat isn’t built for speed. I have a plastic version…

My question is what about this boat makes it not built for speed?

I got mine in april–and have put in a lot of seat time. It tracks well, and manouvers well, and I have never felt insecure in waves and chop and yacht wakes. Well, at first—but I have been practicing.

I do notice though I have to pour it on a bit more than others to keep up with glass boats going at a fast clip. I’m not the least strong paddler in a group by any means, though technique on forward stroke might have something to do with it. I work on technique a lot.

so, i am wondering–what are the draw backs of this boat when it comes to going fast?

My only serious problem was a hole in the front bulkhead under the hull, which I have sealed up with Lexel. We’ll see how that holds.

most beginners
seek strong tracking kayaks because it eliminates the effort keeping a maneuverable kayak on course. Your experience that the Tempest is maneuverable is correct. Now how do you integrate that experience with the description you heard that it’s a “straight, good tracking” kayak?

well now…
bouyant ends, flatish bottom, short waterline, good stability.

these traits all contribute to rough handling/ friendliness and would/could be removed for more speed.


much speed difference glass v plastic?
would you notice a difference, fp? I’ll put a glass boat through the paces at Pt. Townsend.

after time the roto will be slower due to scratches but pretty small potatos.

see ya at WCSKS!


I’ve owned and paddled my tempest 170 since Nov 2003----I have the RM version which now has quite a few scratches on the hull(I use it for guiding professionally) and it is a little slower now then when I first bought it. That said the Tempest is not designed to be a speed demon–it has too much rocker to compete with someother, straighter boats. It is however a fairly good boat for rough water----does very good going down wind in a breeze and a chop with just half the skeg down no weather cocking at all. My 170 does, however, have a tendancy to lee cock when going to windward in conditons over 20 knots and waves over 3 feet when empty—when full of gear this is not a problem—I finally figured out this is caused by the high profile bow of the 170 catching the breeze and being pushed down wind(to leeward) It can be corrected by using a bow ruddering stroke followed by a forward stroke on the same side which can be tiring over a long passage or by putting weight in the bow hatch. I’ve been told that the T-165 doesn’t have this tendancy due to its smaller volume but don’t know for certain as I’ve never paddled one—all in all a good boat but if you are looking for real speed my advice is to go elsewhere

skeg jammed=Tempest all over the water

– Last Updated: Aug-13-07 2:20 PM EST –

with the skeg, its an arrow. Without, it is all over the water, meaning a lot of concentration needed to make sure your strokes are even on both sides. Found this out yesterday with a temporarily jammed skeg in rolling seas. Take a butter knife with you to unjam your skeg.

drill a small hole in the corner of the skeg and tie a short, strong 1/16" line line to it. I find that trying to unstick something in bouncy cold water with a knife is dicey. I would not want to be paddling a long distance or in high winds with a stuck skeg on the Tempest.

does that affect performance, lee?
was wondering about this option yesterday…what’s your experience?

wonder if
this was the problem in the rental I tried. It is used in a sandy/gravel area and I put the control at the halfway point with absolutely no effect then 3/4 and finally all the way down and the improvement in tracking may have been subtle at best. Will give it another shot with a functioning skeg. I recall trying a dagger boat with a skeg and it tracked extremely well with the skeg.