I've owned the Sea Tiger all of 7 days now and have had it on the water twice since opening the box. It took roughly 10 minutes from box to boat sans rudder. The rudder took another 3 mins to set up and a couple of minutes to properly position the foot pegs.
This is one beautiful boat and one quality piece of engineering and construction. I understand that this boat has gone out of the AIRE line once already but was recently brought back. I hope that it never leaves again or only for what few improvements could possibly be made to its design.
I'm 5'10" and 200+ lbs but the boat carries me, my gear, and responds like a dream. It even does pretty well w/o the rudder down if I am fresh and paying attention to my paddle stroke. Each day I had the boat out I took an 8 - 10 mile paddle and spent at least 4 hours on the water. The boat cruised between 3.2 and 3.5 mph on average in flat water conditions, 4 mph was possible with some effort but not for any distance as a solo paddler. Properly configured and adjusted, I could paddle this boat all day or simply tie off and nap or drift without concern of being flipped or unsettled by unhappy waters or inconvenient boat wakes. In fact, the only reason I got off of the boat at all was to practice getting back into the boat.
It's a tough boat to tip over. I had to put all 200+ lbs of my body weight concentrated on the palms of my hands over one tube just to get the boat to tip over. I nearly had to stand on the tube! The flipping strap attached to the Cheetah chair (another excellent feature, chair+strap), made righting the boat a snap. Re-entry was also pretty easy coming in over the stern/bow.
As for other things I like about this boat..., it's all but bomb proof and with all the D-rings and pairs of cargo loops on the boat, keeping gear secured in any water condition is dead easy. I own 5 other high quality inflatable boats from another manufacturer, but the Sea Tiger is in a class of its own by far. Excellent job on the customer support and on the video user's manual DVD. Thank you AIRE for making such a beautiful boat.This review is for the current model Sea Tiger, which is suitable for either single or double paddling. I've owned this boat for about 6 mos and used it on Class 2 rivers and lakes. It's done everything I've asked of it and then some. My wife and I wanted a boat that could carry us and our 50-pound Siberian Husky. This boat has plenty of room and with a weight capacity of 700 pounds, we don't even come close to maxing it out. With two of us and the dog on board, we can easily make between 3.5 and 4 mph on calm water. I can do about the same speed paddling solo with no dog. Solo with dog, I'm down to 3.2 or so. The boat is very stable. No problem pulling the dog back onboard if she decides to abandon ship. Tracking is good with the rudder, but only marginal without. I always paddle with the rudder down. I've used the boat in Class II white water and find it to be quite capable. It is 18 ft long but paddled solo it is quite maneuverable. It's easy to catch eddies and surf on backwash.
The stability and the near indestructibility of the hull gives you the confidence to play in shallow rivers where hardshell sea kayaks fear to tread. If I'm looking for a good workout, I paddle upstream for a mile or two and then play in the rapids on the way back down. A river trip without the need for a shuttle.
Regarding the durability, I also own an Aire whitewater kayak that I have bounced off rocks and dragged across gravel bars for 10 years. These boats are tough. They come with a 10-year warranty. I've never had to use it, and I don't baby my boats. I bought them to have fun with and that's what I do.
There are a couple of tradeoffs. The boat is not as fast as a hardshell, although I often paddle with them. This boat hits a wall on hull speed at about 4.3 mph and you just can't push it any faster, even going downwind. It collects some leaves and flotsam in the seams where the tubes meet the floor and it takes a bit longer to clean it up after use than a hardshell would. It also collects some water in the envelope around the floor bladder that is slow to drain until you let some air out. If you try to carry it away from the takeout without draining the water, it can be REAL heavy. It's not all that light even when it doesn't have water in its bilge. As with all inflatables, storage will make a big difference in longevity. If you store it rolled up for extended periods, it needs to be dried out. I store it partially inflated on a rack hanging from the garage ceiling, so I don't have to dry it out after every use.