Tempest 170 vs. Sirocco+YourSuggestions

To everyone that gave me input on my last post covering the plastic vs. glass issue, and to those who shed some light on the used boat market, thank you. You can bet I’ll be surfing Craigslist for my first used plastic boat. Maybe now you all can give me some advice concerning some specific boats. I didn’t bring it up in my last post because I didn’t want to address too many variables at once.

A little background first:

Im 6’2”, 200 pounds. I live on Puget Sound and am pretty set on a touring kayak. I see myself on the Sound or some of the larger lakes in the area evenings after work and getting into 3-5 day camping trips. I’m leaning towards British style boats and am currently focusing on the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 or the Current Designs Sirocco. I like the idea of the efficiency of the longer boats, especially here in the sound where longer distances are traveled and right now I’m more concerned with tracking than maneuverability. You all need to let me know if this is a mistake, :slight_smile: I’ve been in the Tempest, found it to be what I felt was a good fit, but have yet to get in the Sirocco.

Can anybody tell me some of the pro/cons of these two boats?

I’ll be the first to admit I need to get into more boats and spend more time on the water. I would really like to develop a hit list of boats to try out, does anyone have any suggestions given the above information?

Thanks Again,


neither boat describes your criteria
given your preference for tracking but the Tempest would be a good choice for loaded touring as long as the skeg was functional. The Scirroco would be good for average speed efficiency.

I really enjoyed my Sirocco until it got too wide, comfy boat that did everything pretty well and rarely needed the skeg.

After a few years of using it though it felt like I could sleep in it, no challenge, so went to narrower boats.

Bill H.

Have both
The cockpits of the two boats are different. If you like the fit of the Tempest (medium skirt) than you will probably find the Scirocco to have a much larger feel (large skirt and oval). IF the thigh braces fit in the Tempest, you will have to reach on the Scirocco. Older Sciroccos had plastic bulkheads which were problematic and older Tempests (new plastic as well) have the Wildy hatches which are not as good as the Kayaksport on the Scirocco.

Tempest has more volume up front so you get a slightly drier ride (less water over the bow).

Skeg assembly on the Tempest has been very reliable except for the trademark leak on the housing that needs to be gooped, I have had to replace the Scirocco assembly twice and it gets jammed up probably 3X more that the Tempest becasue of the fit of the skeg slot.

I would recommend which ever boat fits you best. Both hulls will be playful and will let yuo advance in skills, but you got to have a good fit in the boat.

Almost every skeg I’ve read about is said to leak. How can this be normal in boats that are supposed to be sea worthy? What kind of leak rates are you talking about? How easy is this to fix?

Really? I thought length played a large roll in the tracking characteristics of a boat; i.e. the longer the boat, the harder to turn. As one of the longer boats out there (17’), I thought that the 170 would have strong tracking characteristics. What suggestions do you have for boats that track well?

sometimes kayaks leak…
often the first thing to get blamed is the skeg box/assembly. Sometimes it is a matter of a loose clamp, or a gap that needs a bit of sealant. Just as often it isn’t the skeg box at all. But so many people have heard ‘skegs leak’ that blame it on that.

skeg leaks and…
skeg leaks in the roto tempest are almost unheard of. the fittings are different in the roto vs ‘older’ composite and are pretty bomber. new China composite boats have a new skeg fitting that is similar to roto (bomber)

the T is much slimmer than the S, except at the stems, so you get a drier ride and more gear capacity. on a wave the bow pearls less and is easier to control, less deadwood.

longer boats do NOT necessarily track better. It’s a function of ‘rocker’ and deadwood and ‘fixed’ skeg that makes 'em track (and pearl/ broach)or turn.

retractable skegs make tracking vs maneuverability a moot point. skegs add tracking to the stern.

try an S and buy whatcha like!


like flatpick said
the skeg renders issues of tracking moot, personally I’d rather have a maneuverable kayak with skeg or rudder than a stiff tracking kayak with skeg or rudder.

The linear dimension of the kayak doesn’t define tracking compared to the shape of what’s in the water.

You could have a 15’ kayak with no rocker and a 14’8" waterline that tracks very hard compared to a rockered 17’ kayak with a 15’ waterline that turns more easily. You aren’t paddling a linear dimension but a shape.

A stiffer tracking hull can be a worthwhile personal preference for straight line paddling but if your desire for stiff tracking is to compensate for paddling skill in wind/waves you might start appreciating a more maneuverable boat during launching/landing and rescues.

Skeg leaks
Yup, I agree with Steve. Older composite T’s (2004’ish)had a suspect fitting on the skeg box that we had to clamp and goop. IMO, alot of the rear compartment water complaints were not due to hatches, rather were from the skeg cable fitting.

I haven’t seen the newest composite setup but paddle a roto T several times a week and never have a leaking fitting on those.

All skegs leak - absolutely not, should not leak. Water in boat is a bad thing!

my marginal experience in both
I liked the fit of the tempest, which to me translates to response. I found the scirocco to be a bit large.

Depends what you’re used to
I think the Tempest tracks just fine – it’s certainly stiffer than my Avocet, or the new WS Zephyr.

Tracking vs Turning
I bought my first boat a few years ago and, like you, opted for tracking over nimble handling.

I am now looking to add a Porsche to the Vanagon that I bought. If you are an athletic, performance oriented person, consider a more lively boat that you can grow into.

Lively Boat
Any suggestions on what that “more lively boat that I can grow into” may be?

Love my Sirocco
By far my favorite boat. You need to paddle both. What one loves another may hate.

The skeg is excellent for long distance tracking. And mine has never leaked. This boat does well in the rough stuff and isn’t shy in the surf.

As stated, if it has a fault, that would be it’s width. For me it works, big guy, stable platform.

loaded sirocco
at 6’3" 190 when I had the sirocco loaded for 4 days it lost all of its playfulness and was not an enjoyable boat to paddle.

Unladen, The sirocco is my go to boat for rock gardening, surfing and rolling. Oodles of secondary and a low(ish) back deck make for easy rolling and bracing. Fun rough water boat if it fits you. As far as I am concerned this boat grows with your skill set and allows for “advanced” skills. I’ve heard great things about the tempest, but have not paddled one.

a suggestion
don’t narrow it down too fast betw. 2 boats.

Not meant as sarcasm. I know the burning desire to bring home that first boat.

But given that you might have sat in just one boat, the Tempest, your butt & soul don’t have much in the way of comparision.

Besides the used boats you are seeking out - good call there - head on over to demo days at nearby

paddleshops and try some of theirs. Not w. the idea of buying a new boat, but getting a better idea of the style and specifics you like. Then, if you see a used version of that boat, you can pounce. Preferably you pounce by taking it on the water, but in any case you can zero in as an self-informed buyer rather than someone just trying to get a decision over with.

(When you get your first seakayak, hustle over there and give that paddleshop some biz when you buy your gear. They need you now more than ever. Support independent paddleshops.::end of commercial:: )

It’s OK to take notes. Makes your impressions easier to remember and keeps the names straight.Some people buy their PFD and a good (not premium) quality paddle first, and use them when trying out boats, as it removes two variables.

Too many times somebody comes on here and says “it’s this one or that one.” Sometimes they’ve done their homework, or have been thru the boat buying process before, and really know why it’s between two boats. Sometimes they are not well informed, going off marketing,internet opinions, and make a hasty decision just to make a decision, or they “can’t pass up a deal” and it shows up in the classifieds a few months later.

Don’t be that latter guy. There are plenty of used kayaks for sale in your part of the country and in a tough economy people will deal.

Be patient, try a bunch. Your gut will tell you what feels right. If you feel a little challenged and think the boat handles fine but is a little bit much for you, that could a great boat for you to grow into, one which stays lively.

Do your damnednest to make an intelligent choice that will serve you for awhile and let you develop skills. It often takes a season or more to really know a boat. Don’t rush to pick one and you will be rewarded in more ways than one.

I’ll gladly take your suggestions…
I developed a short list from surfing the web. That worked its way to these two boats because the dealers in my area sell Wilderness Systems and Current Design. Right now I’m just attempting to wade my way through all these choices. I figured that these were decent representations of what I think I want in a boat at this point and am trying to get a fix on the differences. I plan on spending the season renting and maybe purchasing at the Symposium in Port Townsend this Fall. Do you have any recommendations for other boats for me to try? I really want to build a list for renting/testing. I might have to travel to Seattle gain access to more dealers prior to the symposium, but Im alright with that. I really do appretiate the feedback!

Thanks, David


– Last Updated: May-27-09 3:43 PM EST –

Some of the usual suspects would include the Valley Aquanaut(maybe the plastic HV?), the P&H Capella(several sizes) or Cetus/Scorpio, and the NDK Explorer. All are reasonably beginner-friendly, and should be available used. The Impex Force 4 or 5 is another one.

The QCC 700 might work for you -- it's not a brit-style boat, but it's very good at covering distances.

And there are lots of other boats that might work -Seaward, Seda, Eddyline, Kayaksport, Boreal, etc. Just take every opportunity to sit in boats and test-paddle boats, and you'll start to figure out what works for you.

Heck, an old CD Storm would get you on the water inexpensively and safely haul a ton of gear.

And if you still end up with a Tempest, that's OK too.

the more you post the more confident I am that you’ll make a great choice. It’s logical to look at CD and WS, they both have a wide array of boats, a widespread dealer network for parts and such, they have been around a long time (CD for over 20 years for example), they have some proven designs which are widely available used in your area.

Renting and going to a symposium is dead on. As you pick up more skills and try different boats you will really tune in to what feels right.

Angstrom’s list below is a very good jumping point. I would add Nemo and Epic kayaks for nonBritish style cruisers. Some Valley (VCP) boats around from older designs - the Skerray, the Selkie, which are very reasonable in fglass. There always seem to be some used Aquanauts and Explorers around, various vintages, and they each come in a HV (high volume) version for more leg room or carrying more gear. And CD makes the composite version of the Scirocco, the Gulfstream, which can again be found used and pretty readily, too.

There are some nice older Dagger seakayaks (back before Wildy acquired them) that are heavy rotomould, with a lot of features and often priced to sell - like the Atlantis or Cortez. Dagger Halifax is a 17 footer in plastic worth looking at. Plastic Capellas are good, rugged designs and again easy to find. They come in a range of sizes.

If you want to carry a lot and think a rudder is ticket to better tracking, Current Designs has the whole Solstice series which was their founding line, as well as the Nomad/Extreme for speed and carrying gear. Eddyline Nighthawk 17 is worth a look.The Impex Force Cat series is relatively new and the P&H Scorpio/Cetus models very new, so finding these used could be a bit harder. But you might score if someone has one that didn’t work out for them.

for sure I’m not listing everything, which is no diss to ones unmentioned so far.

Check craigslist and paddling.net frequently to get a feel for what’s is out there, how readily available it is and the going rates. Like shopping for a car.

Now, I am a small female paddler 5’3" 117 lbs soaking wet, with a size 6 foot and 32" inseam. Not really the best specimen in the world to give a strapping man like yourself specific suggestions. People similiar in size to you will have more direct perspective. Remember too that everyone’s weight is distributed differently, torso, leg and arm lengths vary, everyone has different degrees of flexibility

and balance. That’s why choosing a kayak is such a personal fit.

So yeah, go forth and try boats. Rent boats to get a good feel in different conditions, when you’re strong, when you’re tired. Tip them over, mess around. Definitely get to a symposium - there can be amazing deals there esp. if the boat is unsold as the event winds down. You will find the right boat! Or maybe it will find you :wink: