to flatpick---tempest 170 leecocking

-- Last Updated: Jun-04-07 2:05 PM EST --

Hi--I understand that you are out of touch for a couple of weeks so I don't expect an immediate answer to my problem but a friend of mine said you are the go to guy on issues with the tempest 170---I've had mine now for almost 4 years and its been a great boat---I do have one problem though and its happend to me twice, the last time on Saturday June 2nd, which prompts this e-mail. In seas over 2 feet and with a short period between wave crest---ie steep choppy water and wind over 20 knots, my tempest has a tendancy to leecock(as opposed to weather cock) what happens is the boat will go up on the crest of a wave, then the bow gets caught by the wind and pushed downwind turning the boat. The first time this happened was last year and for the life of me I couldn't turn the boat in the direction I wanted to go---into the wind. I finally decided to run downwind for a bit, get into the lee of a nearby island and by that time the wind had abated some and I was able to get back to my campsite. I later learned that the best way to turn into the wind when its high and the seas are steep is to forward sweep several times on the lee side of the boat then do a bow rudder followed by a straight forward stroke on the windward side---this is what I did last weekend and it worked but was really tiring---I was on a 2-3mile crossing and when one of the other members of my party leecocked and couldn't get back on course, I followed him to a nearby island---downwind---and was eventually able to get back to the launch point taking a dogleg---the other three members of the party, including a friend of mine paddling a shearwater kit boat--no rudder and no skeg---were not having any problems with lee cocking----my boat only does it in higher seas--over 2.5 feet and high winds---over twenty knots and only when I'm trying to hold a course 25-5 degrees off the relative wind---no problem going straight into the wind once I get there and no prolem going down wind--The tempest hardly ever weathercocks, especially with the skeg partially deployed----I've tried edging and corrective sweeps(with the bow rudder) these are really tiring after 45 minutes or so and I've learned to keep the skeg up when I am on that angle to the wind.---I've been told to either put some weight in the forehatch and/or to move the seat forward---never had a problem when the boat has been loaded with camping gear---in both instances the kayak was empty, just loaded with less than 10 lbs of equipment for day trips, most of which was either on the foredeck or the day hatch. Any advice from you or any body else? PS I should add that I'm approximatly 6' and 178 lbs

Similar problem with Arctic Hawk
I would suggest you try something like a 3qt soda bottle filled with water up in the front hatch. If it makes the kayak weathercock too much when going in other direcections you can try not filling it up quite so full.

You might also try just sliding forward on your seat in those conditions. Even 1/2 in. might be enough to make a difference and then you would not have to worry about permanently moving the seat.

Some paddling technique that would also help includes always paddling on the downwide side of the kayak just as it starts to crest the wave. You may have to do a double stroke on the downwind side or just slightly delay taking the downwind stroke in order to get the timing right. Also you can “overcorrect” you heading when you are between waves. By that I mean using edging to turn the kayak slightly upwind of your desired heading when going down the back side of the wave or while in the trough. Then if the kayak does slightly leecock as it crests a wave it will be returning you to your desired course. Although less efficient than getting the kayak to stop leecocking, it is less tiring that having to do all those sweep strokes.

Hope this helps.


Bow draw stroke on the crest, on the…
windward side. Time it so as soon as the bow is free you pop in a little draw, link it to a forward stroke and on the opposite side after you finish that fwd stroke, pop in a little stern draw. Tastes great, less filling.


I agree with the ballast and balance advice. Uhhh… if you borrow or rent a Tempest 165 and paddle it under those conditions you’ll likely be kicking yourself. I did. I traded my 170 for a 165 and have lived happily ever after. The 165 with the seat moved back a couple of inches is The Bomb.

problem twice in 4 years
I would leave everything alone. If you move the seat you will change how the kayak handles the other 99.9% of the time you use the kayak.

Rather than add ballast I would just work on turning into the wind. It is a pain, but there is no substitute for good technique.

bow stroke
Right Dog—if you read my post you will see that’s exactly what I did—point is I did it frequently and became quite tired after about 40 minutes or so—probably would help to relax more—something about those types of conditions tends to get my adrenaline pumpling.

Adrenaline is a good thing ; )
I know what you mean. In your original post you described sweeps and bow rudders. They are different than bow or stern draws. The bow draw has you planting the blade in a neutral angle forward and drawing it to the bow. That has the effect of moving the bow to the blade on the windside. When done from the stern do it from the opposite side. After your fwd stroke, leave it in the water a little longer, set the angle to neutral and draw to stern. That will move stern to blade and move bow into wind. For either, your edging will produce better results.

I’m not sure the advice to have skeg up is precise for your boat/situation. dropping it a quarter of the way may get a better bite in the water and keep the additional strokes down to a minimum. A pal of mine paddled the T170 for quite a while and he is similarly sized. Never reported the leecocking and I never observed him doing anything different across the wind. I know that skeg was dropped a few times, though! The scenario is a bugger because unlike the open ocean you have no trough to hide in while you get straightened out, thus weather/leecocking all the while in chop.




– Last Updated: Jun-05-07 3:53 PM EST –

Thanks Dog--I'll give the bowdraw, as opposed to the rudder a try may be a little easier in that the boat wouldn't slow down as much---as regards deploying the skeg it works like a charm going downwind to prevent weathercocking but it tends to hold the stern inplace and in leecocking type of seas the bow will move to leeward while the sterns stays in place---once the skeg is up it is easer to push(or pull) the bow into the wind---In lesser conditions then what I was in the other day its no problem leaving the skeg down or if you are in severe conditions but not trying to stay within 20--5 degrees of the relative wind---my experience anyway. Generally only put the skeg half way down---might try it a quater way--- but my tendancy now is to keep it up---both times when I was in this situation before I left it about halfway down at first and was pretty much unable to move upwind---when I retracted it I was able to move into the wind using the sweep/bowrudder combo

maneuverable high volume kayak
lightly loaded in high winds get’s blown down wind.

Solution is obvious. Get a kayak that has more boat in the water and less in the air. Or put in a LOT more weight and put on some muscle to move it around.

You could improve your technique but it won’t change something you saw with the friends Merganser/Shearwater. If it’s a Shearwater 17 that boat has about the same volume in the hull as a Tempest 165 and tracks harder. Your weight in a Merganser/Shearwater 17 would be like a 240lb guy in a Tempest 170.

The Tempest is an interesting design in that it tries to do a lot of things at once, lots of room, volume, maneuverability and speed. For my taste that requires more attention and skill than my lazy ass wants to put out when wind/wave picks up.

I was paddling a Tempest out into wind/waves with a broken/non-deployable skeg,on the return trip with wind off the beam and waves off the stern I gave up trying to return on the same course.

This is an opportunity to realllly refine your stroke technique. So that you have extra calories to move the kayak and not just point it in the right direction.

You are the captain of that boat…
and you’ll figure a way to point and go. One other thought, sometimes I’ve aimed a bit further upwind intending to wash down on the target to good effect. Sometimes the wind can be a little strong for that (and I’ll question the plan to begin with) however an angle up can alleviate this stuff sometimes, then the remainder of the trip is to blow or wash down. 2 cents worth of cheap suggestions ; ) .


they’re really, really good for cleaning up all your strokes. It just takes a dab of a draw to stop a slide.

On flat water practice doing draw strokes to go 20’ in any direction then do draw strokes with forward motion.

THEN when you get into waves you’ll feel more comfortable dabbing a draw as needed as you move to the top of the wave, sometimes just a half buried blade is all that’s needed before you quickly apply a “normal” high effort forward/sweeping stroke.

I’ll Say It Again
The 165 is right for your weight. Especially for day trips. Go rent one on a windy day. You’ll say what I did. “Dayumn! I bought the wrong boat!”

I’ve seen it happen several times.
and it is not a fun situation. Especially in SoFla where squalls can roll over you with little warning.

The boats most affected were empty expedition boats, as Lee said too much windage for paddler skill/power.

This is something that was in my mind when I went shopping for a maneuverable, lower volume dayboat.

do you do any expeditions/ovnight camping style trips?–how does the 165 behave when fully loaded and can you put enough stuff in for 5/6 days? I really need a boat to be able to carry a lot of stuff—

Not trying to step on Kudzu’s toes here but in the meantime…

I’ve used my T165 for camping trips. Longest one I loaded with 14 days of supplies but actually finished in 9 days. This was on fresh water, though–I didn’t need to carry 14 days of water; I just filtered every couple of days or so.

The loaded boat handles remarkably close to the way it does when unloaded. Heavier and a little slower to respond, but does not feel greatly different as far as stability goes.

Keep in mind I am thinking you pack like a backpacker, not like a kitchen-sinker.

I’m a Day Tripper

– Last Updated: Jun-09-07 5:35 AM EST –

I might do an overnighter next week. Pikabike is much more qualified to talk about multi day outings.

I owned a 170 and my (larger) buddy rented a 165 several years ago. He didn't like the fit so he paddled my 170 and I paddled the 165. It took just a couple of minutes to figure out I had bought the wrong boat. I went to the dealer and traded right away. For some reason the 165 seat is placed further forward than the 170. I moved the seat back one bolt-hole and it's perfect.

I'd suggest renting one and loading it up with what you need. A windy day would be ideal. You will NOT be working hard to control the boat in quartering wind and waves. I know exactly what you're talking about because the same thing happened to me. Getting in and out will be tougher than in your 170 until you move the seat back.

sounds like you got one of the
bum tempests. They built a few that leecock in 20+ knot winds and steep seas. Take it back and see if you can get a refund.

if you want straight up wind
you can always paddle backwards for a spell. That will kill the lee cocking dead.

Yep … look at the serial number …
… you got one if it has “L20” at the end.

Sorry, just kidding. I know it can be frustrating. Having the right boat for your size and weight (plus gear), as other have pointed out, can make all the difference. I moved from a T170 to a 165 … made a difference for me. Struggeled with a directional control issue last summer … discovered it was my stroke … more specifically torso rotation (or lack of).

Bohemia’s post reminds me of Callway’s Fusion FT drivers out a few years back … in addition to shaft flex and loft, there were versions for fade and draw, depending on your swing. Interesting marketing idea … but for the most average golfers, the reason we’re average is because our swing is inconsistent. Always thought its better to work on the swing … ultimately that would allow a good golfer to fade and draw when they want to … with any club.

never thought of it
Great idea—just have to get some rearview mirros—either on my sunglasses or my paddle