WS Cape Horn 170 VS WS Tempest 170

Does anyone have any thoughts I currently have the Cape Horn but am thinking about getting the tempest.

I have never paddled the Cape Horn but I have to say that the Tempest is one sweet boat. I have rented the 170 several times now and managed to roll it on the 3rd outing.

Every boat is different to every person…boy did I find that out the hard way.

I will be picking up a Tempest 170 within the next two weeks. Can hardly wait.


Check the archives.

I believe I asked the same question when the tempest first showed up.

The question is I cant find it.

Good luck.


cape horn and the tempest
I owned the tempest 17. I sold it. I must say before I go on that I am a rudder person. I thought the Tempest had too much rocker and in adverse conditions it wanted to round up, even with the skeg down. It was also not a great camping boat. I felt the boat tried to be too many things…kind of like the Pontiac Aztec (which I’m sure is a great car). It was very stable and had average speed. I’ve paddled the cape horn a lot. My main paddling buddy has one. For what it is it’s pretty fast. Saying that it’s stable is an understatement. It has almost no rocker and is not very good at riding waves but it tracks like it’s on rails. You won’t need the rudder. It’s very good at long distance paddling and is a great camping boat. I think it is too big and robust for most except the biggest people. With so much volumn you can put your spray skirt on but you won’t need it, I doubt you’ll ever get wet. The fit and finish on both boats was great. Forgive me for changing the subject but, go look at the QCC 600 or 700. The are the best (in my opinion) all around boats made right now. Franklin

Franklin illustrates well…
the difference between these 2 boat styles. I have a Tempest 170. I love it. With its pronounced rocker it is really great in rough water. It rolls like dream and the hatches don’t leak. However, with such a big rocker you lose some waterline length, and therefore some speed on straight lines. My other boat is a QCC 500, and I love this one for different reasons. It will hold enough gear for a small army, and can really move quickly on big water. However, the long waterline is also like a sail in crosswind, especially if not fully loaded with gear. It doesn’t surf well, either. So I would get both boats! One can never have too many kayaks, don’t ya know? Enjoy whichever boat you choose.


Some Experience

– Last Updated: Jul-26-05 6:01 AM EST –

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to paddle these two boats back to back. The Cape Horn had a 'dead' feel to it compared to the Tempest. Maybe unresponsive is the word I'm looking for. Rent or borrow a Tempest and compare 'em. That's the best way to really know which one suits your needs.

Try to compare the boats on a windy day. How you and the boat do in the wind matters a lot.

cape horn will not go straight
the cape horn will not track in a straight line without the rudder. at first i thought it was something I was doing but I have had three other people paddle and they have experienced the same thing. without the rudder deployed the boat wants to track to the left. once you deploy the rudder the boat will track like it is on rails.

this is not a problem as i don’t mind using the rudder. I am going to try to demo a tempest this weekend.

Tempest vs Cape Horn
The Tempest will offer you to learn far more paddling technique. Although the skeg can be helfpul at times it is usually not necessary. They are two very different boats. The Cape Horn has much more cockpit to it, and is a fine boat if that is what you are lookin for.

I found there to big a signficant difference in fit between the Tempest 170 RM and fiberglass models…fitting more comfortably into the fiberglass boat.

Like others have suggested…paddle both (in glass and plastic)…let us know what you have discovered.


sounds like a problem with the boat.

Unless there is wind or current the boat should not track off (YAW) to one side only. Most any boat will turn when initiated but always one way is telling me sumthin’s up with THAT boat.

Look down the keeline and see if it’s straight.


bought the tempest
I bought the tempest. I will be taking the cape horn back to the shop so they can send it back to wilderness systems. there is a slight bow in the keel roght in the cockpit area.

The Tempest is a high performance boat intended for intermediate to more advanced boaters. The Cape Horn is targeted at beginners to low intermediates.

I had a Cape Horn and really liked it, but my skills outgrew it. I now have a Dagger Meridian which is much like the Tempest and like it much better.

Yes, there is teh difference in that one is a skegged boat and the other has a rudder—I won’t touch that issue----but there is much more difference between the two boats than just that.

If you are a beginner you will feel better in the Cape Horn I would think, although I would not recommend this boat if you are a smaller paddler. It has a cavernous cockpit, high deck, and is fairly wide to the front of the paddler (I would bust my knuckles a lot on the boat with my high angle stroke).


I bought a T165 last month and can’t praise it highly enough. It manages to both track well and turn easily (with a bit of edging). At my light weight, every kayak I’ve tried weathercocks fairly easily, but the T165 is one of the better ones I’ve used.

My first sea kayak was ruddered. Though I did most of my day paddles without using the rudder, it definitely needed the rudder in the sense that I had to fight the kayak to keep it going straight in any wind over 10 mph–in other words, for going straight instead of turning. And fully loaded with camping gear, I used that dang rudder a lot–for turning. Seeing comments that the Tempests don’t track well or that they weathercock a lot make me shake my head. The skeg is useful, and I am glad I have it because my T165 does weathercock, but the difference between skeg up and skeg down is not nearly as dramatic as the difference in my old kayak between rudder up and rudder down. I especially love the adjustability, because usually only partial deployment works well.

I just returned from a camping trip with the T165 and can’t believe your comment about not enough stowage in the 170. I hauled a week’s worth of gear and food, and the kayak handled beautifully in both calm and rough conditions. This trip was a shakedown trip for a 2-week trip I’ll do later, and now I am confident it will carry and handle that amount of supplies. Maybe you need to use bow and stern (tapered) bags for more efficient packing.