Plastic Tempest Hatches-a problem or not

I am about to demo and possibly purchase a plastic Tempest 170, and am concerned about two recent reviews. I just read two ‘Product Reviews’ on this site regarding a plastic T170 and T165. Both reported problems with leaky hatches.

Reading postings on this site before, I was under the impression that the Tempest Pro’s had this problem though it had been corrected. So…the question I have for those who own and/or have paddled plastic Tempests, what have your experiences been with the hatches?

Many thanks…


My T165 leaks-but I believe it is the
bulk heads that are leaking. Will attempt to caulk them. The water seems to come in through the cockpit/bulkhead-not the hatch covers. When I washed my boat-I dried the hatches and then ran water over the hatch covers, tipped it side to side and checked them-still dry. Then I put water into the cockpit and sloshed it around, then checked the hatches and yep-water in them.


if you like how it paddles
leaking hatches should be fixable… I bought a rm Chatham16 even though the seat frame was unacceptable,moved the seat frame back all the way, replaced the back band and ratchet and carved my own minicell seat. It’s perfect now.

So if you like the Tempest I’d get it and make it work. You could try various combinations of closed cell neoprene gasket tape.

I think for plastic boats putting in a breather hole in the bulkheads is a good idea as any puddled water around the hatches will be available to be pumped in/out as the hull flexes on waves.

Hey Lee
aside from the seat being too narrow for me, I found that I was too heavy for the Chatham 16 RM. It was a REALLY playful boat which is why I wanted it but at 220lbs I was pushing water like a coal barge. What do you think the max weight is for a paddler in this boat?

I’ve heard rumors that they are going to come out with a Chatham 17. If they don’t narrow it down to 20" like the 18, I might have a shot. Right now the Tempest 170 is looking like my next boat. I like it quite a bit but it is not as playful as the Chatham.—Rich

don’t know
when you say pushing water like a coal barge are you speaking of the curling bow wave? I’m only 20lbs less than you and found that for the average 3mph paddling pace it felt fine. There’s a 17’ coming out? wow,I wonder what the displacement will be.

Yes, I am talking about the bow wave.
The day I paddled one was very windy and even though I was only on a small pond, water was spraying up over the deck. The boat didn’t seem that slow but something didn’t seem right. It did seem like I was pushing an awful lot of water.—Rich

the seal between the rubber and the plastic will let a bit of water thru. I have seen this happen on many (most) RM boats with RM rims. If a Tempest has much of a problem at all, the composite rims can be retro fit. The first thing, tho, is a very light coating of 303 on the rim/ hatch. this seems to lubricate and make the seal work best.

hope this helps.


there’s no free lunch
good in rough water,or fast/efficient. My Express starts pushing water a little sooner than the Chatham. Yep,that curl is noticable.

I’ll just have to wait until…
the new wider seat comes out and give it another try. It was a bit uncomfortable which was distracting but this boat is definitely worth another try.—Rich

No leaks
in my front or main rear hatch but I did have a problem with the day hatch compartment getting water after rolling and rescue practice. I found the culprit, it was coming in through the hole in the bulkhead made for the skeg cable to go through. The hole was not small enough for the housing to make a water-tight press fit and there had been no sealer applied either. I got some shoo goo and fixed that right up.


You’ll love it if you get it.

Thanks to all!

The rear hatch on my T-165
leaks like a sieve on occasion. I’vesanded the combing smooth with wet/dry paper, 303’d the cover and the rim, all to no avail.

I can spray water on the hatch all day long with a nozzled hose and no water enters. A mild water paddle often results in little or no water violation.

Take it out on stormy waters or rough rivers and the rear hatch will take take on a couple of quarts during a 20 mile excursion. The bulkheads are tight. The water is taken in from the pumping action resulting from the hull flex. Since the T-165 has a day hatch with an additional bulkhead, a breather there has no effect.

I’ve had a couple of Daggers that did this to me and I alleviated it by drilling a 1/16" hole in the rear deck just aft of the rear bulkhead. This is generally enough to break the dramatic suction seen with large rubber-lidded hatches in RM boats. And, the warmer the weather the greater the suction effect.

I’ve just drilled my boat as described and will test it on the river Thursday. I’ll post the results upon my return.



breather hole in both bulkheads?

One Yes, Two No
I take on a little water in the rear hatch. None in the front or day hatch. Since I’m not a camping type, it hasn’t been an issue. I put my good stuff up front (digital camera) and put stuff in back that water won’t damage,(rope) or store stuff in a dry bag / freezer bag.

What is ‘acceptable leakage’?
3-4 years ago I purchased a Cape Horn, though returned it immediately because it leaked like a sieve. What is ‘acceptable’ or ‘expected within reason’ leakage? I suspect the answer lies in the paddler’s own operational definition.

I also paddled a Capella for awhile…it never leaked! So…is the technology possible? Yes. Is it a safety issue to paddle a boat that leaks like a sieve? I think so. When is considered too much leakage? Again…depends upon the paddler.

I am all for custom fitting a kayak (per LeeG)…but how do you know if your customizing is going to fix a problem if it is not ‘fixable’? What can we expect from manufacturers in terms of quality control?

I know…many questions with many different answers. Just curious about your thoughts.

If I can figure out how to gain more hours in the day…I will start my S&G Cirrus. Vaclav has seemed to solve the hatch leakage issue.

Having said all…still cannot wait to demo the Tempest 170.