Old Town Loon Tandem

Hi All, Looking for a bit of advice. I have an Old Town Loon tandem 16ft (is that the 160T model?). I think its from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. We’ve used it in saltwater and I, personally, always found it very difficult to steer. Ours has no rudder either. Is it meant more for freshwater? We are considering selling but my kids are finally getting to an age (early teens) where they might be interested in using it. I guess I have two questions: 1) Is this kayak meant more for freshwater in a less windy environment than a ocean bay and 2) if we were to sell it what is a fair asking price? Thanks!

google is your friend put the info in and you will see the crafts

  1. You will match yours
  2. It will give you a guide price

Fresh or saltwater will not be relevant. It has a large open cockpit and no bulkheads. So it is not appropriate where conditions could arise where waves could swamp it.
Mine doesn’t have a rudder. It does fine in wind, and I’ve never had any directional control or steering issues. Overweighting the bow will generally cause directional control issues in a tandem, so it’s best to have the heavier paddle in back. And the back paddler can handle directional control fairly easily in that boat.
I think typical paddlers who don’t really get into it so far, but just want to have the occasional fun day on the water, usually get by with a few strokes. The forward stroke, the sweep stroke to turn, and low brace turns (while in motion, putting the back face of the paddle blade out into the water beside you to get the boat to turn that direction.
Sweep strokes work well when you are not in motion, and you are seated at the center of rotation. Sweep strokes are not very effective in a tandem. Sitting at the center of rotation is again important for low brace turns.
Just remember that any force created by the paddle is transfered to the boat at the point of its connection to the boat. So with a sweep stroke from the center of a boat, the first half you’re prying the bow away from the paddle, and the second half drawing the stern towards the paddle. Both have the boat spinning the same direction. Now imagine the bow paddler in a tandem. The first half pries the bow away from the paddle. The second half draws the bow back towards the paddle. The first half of a stern paddlers sweep will serve to pry the stern away from the paddle, the second half draw the stern back towards the paddle.
I bring this all up because I believe that boat steers without any particular difficulty. I’ve actually used it the past couple of years to teach junior high kids to steer a tandem before their cardboard boat races. Just an hour with each pair in that tandem Loon 160T and they have all been able to control course and steer around buoys quite well. So maybe give it another try? Keep in mind that the stern paddler can only move the stern towards the left and right, and the bow paddler can only move the bow towards the left and right. Full sweeps and low brace turns should be abandoned in favor of first half sweeps only from the bow, second half sweeps only from the stern, stern rudders, and bow rudders. When you do stern rudders, you should bring the entire paddle over alongside the boat before beginning. That means both blades of the paddle are along the same side of the boat, before dropping the back blade in at the stern.
I don’t know if any of this interests you or the kids. I do know when two people understand how to effectively paddle and maneuver a tandem, it is quite rewarding. And I don’t think there’s a lot of good instruction out there focusing on it.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

Paddling skills are what you need. You can add a rudder but it is unnecessary.
Learn to brace, learn to steer. Kayaks have become popular partly because people do not seem to want to take the time to learn how to paddle.

It’s a recreation boat and not intended for offshore ocean use. It gets great reviews on this site (see reviews section). One of them in excellent shape was recently listed on Craigslist in the Minneapolis area for $750 (if I remember correctly) and it sold quickly.

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Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. I think what I need is a little more time on the water with it and some time spent learning how to actually paddle efficiently and effectively. I think we’ll hold on for the summer and see how we do with it once we learn a little bit more.

100% - I need to educate myself a little more. Glad I found this site and these forums. I’m sure I’ll find a wealth of information (I already have in the few responses I’ve received from this post).

Thanks again for taking the time to reply and hopefully with a little practice we’ll be paddling away this summer:)

Thanks, Tom! We mostly use it in a protected harbor in a larger bay so not an open water situation at all. I did take a look at the reviews (almost all of which are very positive) which is what prompted me to ask the question. I need to learn how to actually paddle so am planning on hanging onto the boat for the summer and spending a lot of time out on the water with kids and the hubby learning as much as we can before we make a decision on selling or not. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it!

I’m glad that you want to learn to paddle. Alas, it’s likely to be difficult to find instruction this year & it’s easy to get sloppy habits. Here are a couple of basic things to do:
1: take a close look at your paddle. Likely there may be 4 ways of holding it. Only one is correct. That is, the blades have a top and bottom and a front and back. Figure out what is correct for your paddle and use it that way.
2: in the boat, sit up straight. Your mother may have nagged you to not slouch. If so, she was right. Ideally, the seat back will only lightly touch you just above the hips.
3: If the boat has foot pegs or some way to brace you feet against the boat, use them. You can push the boat forward with your foot when you take a stroke.
4: pretend that you have a beach ball (or maybe even have one) between you & the paddle shaft when you paddle. It encourages you to use your core (stomach & back muscles) rather than your arms.
5: pick an object on the shore and paddle towards it slowly. notice if the front of the boat moves left when you take a stroke of the right & vise versa. See what you can do to minimize that movement.
6: most importantly Have Fun

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