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Reviews for Passat Kayak by Seaward Kayaks

Rated: 9.5/10 Based On: 6 Reviews

Passat Kayak by Seaward Kayaks

Length: 22' 0" - Width: 26.00" - Starting at: $4850.00
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Rating: 9 of 10

     A few years ago, my wife and I decided to buy a hard-shell, composite tandem kayak. Before buying the boat, we did a lot of research and considered the Valley Aluet II and Seaward Passat tandems as the best choices – but we had a hard time finding a place where we could do a demo paddle. I then saw an ad on for a used Seaward Passat tandem. We decided to drive to Georgia and give it a test paddle. After a few hours of paddling, we were the proud owners of a new (to us) tandem kayak.

Since then, we have had her (to my wife, all kayaks are females) out on lakes and rivers across the Southeast US, as well as Mobile Bay and Perdido Bay on the Gulf coast. The finish is still essentially flawless and the deck rigging, rudder, rudder cables, handles and hatches are still tight and in good shape – just like on a new boat. This is unusual on a 5 year old, previously owned boat and a testimony to both the care of the previous owner and the build quality of the Passat. Since it was used, we did not get a color choice but the yellow/orange fade looks really sharp and is highly visible on the water – an important safety factor! In fact, the good looks of the boat can be a bit of a pain, as every power boater and jet skier on the water feels compelled to come check us out when we would rather they leave us alone!

We live on the busiest lake in the TVA system and have had the boat out in confused swells/wakes up to 2-3 feet, as well as in some high winds. We have found the Passat to be extremely stable and to track well in wind from any direction without significant weathercocking. Thus, little or no rudder input is required to stay on course. The initial stability is high, but the boat has a decent turn of speed as well. There is also plenty of room for camping (and other) gear. The rudder system is robust and functions well, but a major highpoint of the boat is the hatch system – probably the driest, most secure AND easiest to open/close of any of the kayaks we own. Finally, the Passat is a GREAT photography platform – it is rock steady and there is enough room in the rear cockpit that I can store a Pelican dry box (containing my SLR and 400 mm telephoto lens) on the floor under my knees without interfering with my paddling, comfort or exit from the cockpit in an emergency. That way, when an interesting bird comes along, I can just pop the latch on the dry box and I am in business!

To couples who might be considering a tandem – do it – but only if you like working together. Don't let anyone convince you that tandem kayaks are "divorce boats". Buying a tandem was a perfect solution for us – both of us get the workout we want and it solves the eternal "paddlers with different fitness levels" issue. The challenge of working together adds to the fun - one of my goals is to learn to work together well enough that we can roll our Passat!

My wife likes to name our boats. Her Eddyline Fathom LV single is "Baby" and my Epic 18X is "that d**n thing that breaks all the time so that you have to borrow my Eddyline…" My new Folbot Cooper does not have a name yet but I'm thinking "Slinky" – for the cool way it flexes over swells. Our Passat tandem is named "Serenity" – because it allows us to enjoy an outdoor activity TOGETHER (and - yes - after the ship on a short lived but excellent Science Fiction TV series “Firefly” – did I say we are nerds?). I would recommend that anyone looking for a tandem buy a Seaward.

Finally, to all the folks at the Seaward company who pour their hard work into these boats, kudos for making such a fine product! Thank you so much for the many miles (kilometers?) of happy paddling and irreplaceable memories.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I would say this is the nicest double I've paddled. Over the years I've rented various models. Most of them were rather "barge-like". The Passat feels very stable but yet more lively than most doubles.

We ordered ours at the end of Jan/09 and received in 2nd week of March. Our boat has some new features. Most notable the slider rudder control - very nice. I like this much better than the traditional rope pull setup. The seats are also bolt-in foam cushion on plastic seats as opposed to previous foam flotation seat.

We've only had the boat out 3 times but one of the times was in 20knot wind. It has a pronounced tendency to turn up wind but I was able to keep us on course with a little pressure on the rudder. Most boats have this same tendency. Tracking and turning have been primarily by rudder input at this point. My partner is somewhat inexperienced. Two experienced paddlers could probably paddle and maneuver without rudder in calm waters.

IMO few boats could live up to a 10 rating. I've been paddling now for about 6 years. Here's some of my thoughts about the boat:

Hatch system seems really good. Haven't rolled the boat over yet but front hatch was bone dry after taking a number of waves over the bow. I'm currently adding additional deck lines along my cockpit in the rear. I'm currently modifying the seats to add a tad more contour to make them more comfy. I love the pivoting rudder pedal system. I prefer that over the sliding pedal system. However if the pedals were slightly larger that would make them a bit more comfortable and easier to operate. Also if you're a person with large feet you might have an issue with space since the hull tapers down on the sides quite a bit for the aft paddler.

Overall a great boat that I'm really happy with. I'd recommend it.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A wonderful double and well suited for medium range (up to 10 days or 200 nm) trips here in Southeast Alaska. We've had our boat for two summers and have used it on a dozen multi-day trips as well as sharing it with friends who have less experience on the water than we. It is confidence inspiring.

It is also fast. We can cut our time to known points by 20% over our singles. We also tend to take the shortest route in crossings rather than hug a coast if there is wind.

Carries a surpsringly large amount of gear. Dry storage is adequate for a five day trip. The hatch covers are great and have proven to be effective even in rough water. You must use the space in front of the pegs for anything longer than five or six days -- tarp bag, bear can, fire pots.

Handles well, even when coasting among the rocks near shore. We use the rudder in following seas or when we are lazy. The rudder is a bit spongy, but it is turning a 22foot long vessel, and I guess that is ok. We can lean and brace easily and I'm sure we could roll it, if we were silly enough to try. Why roll when you can brace has been my mantra for decades.

I've made a sail from a triangular tarp and have deployed it with good results.

The Seaward seats, which double as a paddle float, are comfortable if you fit them to your size. I've added some height and am comfortable for the 4-5 hour marches we tend to do.

At 85 lbs it is easy to walk up and down the beach, and with carry straps four people can move it out of the surf if needed.

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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     A very good boat. Efficient, comfortable, excellent volume to performance quotiant. The smartrudder system works very well (it's my only ruddered boat) and the foot peddles are solid and not at all mushy. The hatches do a very good job at keeping water out and the boat gives a dry ride in rough water. The only thing I would really do differently is recess the deck fittings and provide a perimeter deck line as it, being 22' long, can be awkward to handle out of the water. Oh yeah, and everyone likes the splatter pattern on the deck. We bought our boat off the rack but it sounds like Seaward can do some amazing colors to order.
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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I was looking for a performance double - one which is fast and has secondary stability for rough weather. I am very pleased with the Passat. It has a fine entry/exit and basically feels like paddling a big single. Since I won't be using it for long unsupported trips, I have plenty of cargo space. The cockpits are keyhole and separated so you don't clash paddles when out of sync. The construction is excelent - strong rudder, fiberglass bulkheads, etc. There are many good features such as seat adjustments, and easy foot pedal adjustment. And at 85 lbs is light for a 22 ft boat. (I would only change it to include recessed deck fittings.) Seaward = great kayaks.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great tandem. Sea Kayaker's review of July 1999 is right on target. fast, well manufactured, good lines. easy to paddle. very little weathercocking and rudder handles very well. Handles up to 5 Ft. waves and winds in excess of 40MPH with no problems on the Chesapeake. Plenty of space for expeditions and kayak camping. Only problems have resulted in the cabling for the rudder placement in and out of water. It requires manual work. Just needs to be checked before putting in. Would buy another or any of the Seward products.
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