tempest or essence?

looking to buy my first seakayak and looking at the roto 16.5 versions of both these boats. I am 5’8" 160 lbs and a very experienced ww kayaker (18 years)recently moved from Colorado to Michigan and am psyched to get a seayak. I paddled the 17’ essence last week and loved it but think the 16.5 would be a better fit. I’m Going to use it for large lakes and the occasional overnighter, I want a fast boat, is one faster than the other?(large storage capacity isn’t a huge concern as I pack very light). Price is a concern (so no fiberglass or anything)but both boats are relatively inexpensive. I know they are very similar and the main spec difference seems to be deck height ( the essence being taller?) Thanks for any and all responses!

Coin Toss
The Tempest will most likely be just a little faster being that it’s 3/4 of and inch narrower. I believe that the Tempest also has a little more rocker to the hull than the Essence. That would just add to the handling though. What ever you choose, pick the boat that is the most comfortable to sit in for four hours. After that, you’ve made your choice. I’m partial to Tempest myself IMHO.

test paddle
I’d highly recommend test paddling any boat you want, there are lots of boats in that size range made in poly. Good dealers let you test them for free.

Bill H.