Tandem Kayaks

We are considering purchasing either a Necky Nootka + in carbon or a Seaward Passat G3 in kevlar. If anyone has paddled either of these kayaks I’d like to hear your opinions about either/both of these. We will be taking day trips in open ocean so want to have good stability & maneuverability. Also expecting to have this kayak for many years so we are looking for quality construction. Thanks for your input!

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “years to come,” but I would suggest that a fiberglass layup will probably hold up better than a carbon or kevlar layup if longevity and durability are main concerns.

That said, Seaward has an excellent reputation for build quality, among the best.

Where do you paddle?
and what do you mean 'xactly by manuverability? With devices like rudders, or can be made to carve turns (as much as a tandem can) by leaning? It’d help.

Also - if you plan on paddling where there are quite high tides or a lot of rocks, you’ll likely have to be awfully careful to keep a kevlar boat for years without some notable repairs.

VCP Aleut Sea II
Check out Valley Canoe Products Aleut Sea II before you buy. They are not cheap but, in my opinion, are the most ruggedley built expedition worthy tandem on the market. I’ve had one for over four years and enjoy it. I’ve got a review on this site for what it’s worth. I’m not biased at all! :slight_smile:

http://www.grokayaks.com/Kayaks.html then click on the Aleut Sea II picture.

Good luck.

What I mean by maneuverability is that we don’t want a boat that’s sooo stable that it’s hard to turn quickly when necessary, yet we do want good secondary stability as we do encounter rough seas in the open water.

We are very careful with landings & don’t land where it’s rocky. We always exit the boat in the water & carry it up to the beach/land, so we aren’t scraping over rocks or dragging the kayak.

We’re interested in kevlar/carbon (depending on the model) to save weight when carrying the kayak & putting it on top of the vehicle.

I second the Aluet
We’ve had our Aluet for about 7 years now. My wife wrote a review on it here in 2000. I think the Aluet and the Passat are both very nice tandems.

The only thing I would change in her review is that we are happy that we didn’t get it in a lighter kevlar layup. These are big boats. You’ve got a heavy load plus two paddlers spaced a decent distance apart cresting and straddling waves. We’ve never had a quality problem with our boat. A few years ago the people we were paddling with rented a kevlar Passat. A bulkhead actually separated at the joint with the hull and leaked during an 8 day trip. When they paddled alongside us in 4-5 foot waves the kevlar boat sometimes made noises you don’t want to hear your boat making on an extended outing. Also, keep in mind that there will also be times when you are landing in surf. I hate to admit how much the heavily loaded kevlar rental boat flexed when I watched it being pulled up over a log up a rocky beach so that the hull wouldn’t get overly scratched.

I have paddled a Passat in calm water and was impressed. I hope to try again soon since a friend just bought one. It is narrow and fast for a double. So I don’t know how it fits into your stability criteria. I would be interested in hearing how the G3 paddles compared to the standard model. Seems like you are really sitting near the ends and that has to make some difference.

Which boat would be faster? The Necky Nootka+, the Valley Aleut Sea II or the Seaward Passat G3?

We’re also looking at the hatch sizes and have some concern over the hatches on the Nootka+, they seem to be quite small. We want to be able to carry a cooler, plus a grill for cooking food.

don’t know
I bet the Aleut and the Passat are pretty close. I think the Nootka boat is a little wider. If you’re going by dimensions alone–probably the Aleut or Passat would be faster. Hard to say and probably so little difference it wouldn’t matter.

Now that I think about it some more…
The Passat has a fair amount of rocker, as I recall, whereas the Aleut pretty much does not have rocker. This combined with the Aleut’s round hull may make it the faster boat…theoretically. The Aleut may not be as manueverable, however. The Aleut can be leaned and turned quite nicely with it’s great “secondary stablility”, but it is no single. I bet they are all close, however.

what is your skill level?
Your questions/comments are conflicted. You expect open ocean paddling but careful landings. That would imply sheltered launchings but going into non-sheltered conditions where non-sheltered skills are required. You desire light weight for lifting but intend on carrying gear. The desire for maneuverability has no relation to stability.

If you want light weight get a smaller kayak. Desiring lighter weight in a double for carrying gear in ocean use will sacrifice significant durability. Not crashing into rocks durability but resting the kayak on one roof rack bar durability. Sitting in the kayak at shore in 6" of water where the kayak bumps gently on a rock durability. Even a kevlar Nootka won’t be light.

Part of the structural issues with wide doubles is that large thin hull sections can flex a lot compared to skinnier doubles or singles. If you go for light you’re going to be coming up against the limit of the materials fairly quickly,for a lot of money. There’s a canoe/kayak manufacturer in Maine you should check out,Lincoln?

Here’s the math,two 180lb paddlers plus 80lbs of gear is 440lbs. A 85lb carbon/kevlar kayak brings the total weight up to 525lbs. If you get a glass kayak that weighs 105lbs your total load goes up to 545lbs. Sure you’ll notice that the 20lb lighter kayak is easier to lift on the roof of the car. But it won’t matter on the water. A smaller kayak is also easier to lift on the car.

At the end of any kind of paddling where you’re going into the ocean or carrying gear requiring a double you’ll be tired with a light double or a heavy double. If you are thinking of being the primary lifter anytime during transport/lifting on car then developing strategies would be more effective than compromising the kayaks function in it’s intended use. That’s the problem with going for the exotic/pricey options is that they are really utilized for only 1% of the time. If the option compromises the other 90-99% of the time it might not be the best choice.

Big doubles are stable because the consequences of wet-exit/rescue entail a LOT more work than single/tippier kayaks. Once you start looking at “fast” then you just upped your skill requirements substantially,and why you won’t find boats like the Aleut being light.

Big doubles have a lot of wetted area so if both paddlers aren’t paddling,the remaining paddler will be working overtime. A good reason for a small double.

Check out Northwest .5 for a 18’ stable kayak that’s pretty big for the average user. If you’re both around 150lbs then finding a used Wilderness Systems Echo would be an excellent choice for light,even in glass.

Picking a $5000 carbon/kevlar double according to the $25 cooler it could fit might be penny wise pound foolish. For that much money you could find quite a number of builders willing to make you exactly what you’d like in wood,composite or skin. … and it could fit the cooler.

a big little double

– Last Updated: Apr-12-05 1:26 PM EST –

18'x30",85lbs in glass. I bet you could get it in carbon/kevlar but I'd stick with glass and spend the money on lessons/gear.


Two Lite
small double,but light.


search around for a Perception Carreta(?
Doubles take a long time to sell so you might find one of these sitting around. Cockpits are kind of far apart though.

confusion abounds
it appears you are catalog hunting,just be careful about putting too much significance in numbers,in a 95lb kevlar kayak you could have varions of a few pounds. Without knowing how accurate various manufacturers are,and knowing how misleading some have been it’s easy to let assumed but inaccurate differences skew a decision. Any reason you aren’t considering a Wilderness Systems composite double?

NDK Triton II
You may want to consider the Nigel Dennis Kayak Triton II, another high-perf Brit tandem. Click on: http://www.nigeldenniskayaks.com/sea_kayaks/our_range.shtml and then scroll down to the Triton II. It comes standard with skeg, but rudder can be ordered for it. At 22.5’ long and 22.75" wide, it should be fast. The cockpit spacing forces you to paddle in sync (pros and cons to this cockpit spacing) which puts it into the “divorce boat” (my wife and I need to be able to operate independently…ahem…) category for me and one of the reasons I didn’t get it. The others reasons being that it doesn’t have a center hatch (nice additional safety that might keep the boat from doing a cleopatra’s needle, etc.) and it’s storage is enough smaller compared to the Aleut Sea II that it tends to be limited to short multiday trips.

Some more pictures of the Triton being rolled, etc. at: http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~walpole/Demo.html

I think doing self rescue from a double is easier than a single, exepting re-entry and roll of a single, of course. Your partner steadies the boat from the water by holding on to the coaming of their cockpit and you do a cowboy entry and then scull to adjust as your partner does a cowboy entry. No extra rescue gear required and fast if all goes well. I always have other gear for alternatives, however.

Good luck choosing. I went through this a few years ago.

removal of water
I’ll defer to your experience but my observation seeing a plastic Northwestern double kayak just outside the surf zone was that although getting back in was a piece of cake what happened after that wasn’t. The weight of the free water in a double is significantly greater than a single and the amount of water in relation to the flotation in the compartments is also greater. So when it comes to waves,that free water will roll the kayak fairly easily. The amount of available horsepower to brace in a flooded kayak requires coordinated paddlers or a single paddler will be attempting to counter the movement of 100’s if not a 1000lbs of water.

Have you done rescues with your double in waves? Looks like a very good situation for electric pumps.

Hi LeeG,

I’ve got alot to learn and you bring up a good point about the water weight and subsequent unstability of a double. My experience dumping a couple of times in the ocean hasn’t been that bad…so far. After flipping the boat, which i can do myself fairly easily, there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of water in the cockpits. In breaking seas, the cockpits could fill up quickly, but the cockpit of a single would to. At least in a double you’ve got someone to help you. Your partner can even stay outside the boat providing stability until your cockpit is pumped dry if necessary–each situation is somewhat unique. The hand operated deck-mounted pumps on my boat let you keep at least your control hand on the paddle and are fairly good at pumping out at a decent rate. Electric could be nice, but I’ve never wanted to rely on something electric. One person pumps/braces when needed and one person braces and/or paddles away from hazard.

Aleut II
I double checked your boat,oh heck,it’s got a lot of extra flotation in the middle. All the doubles I’ve seen are pretty much open from the aft bulkhead to the forward one. With 30" beams they’re huge in the middle. I could see how that design would have a good amount of flotation/free water.