I purchased my Tangent 14 a few years ago. The boat is fast, and did take some getting use to because of its design. The workmanship was excellent and the rudder makes maneuvering quick and easy. This is not a craft for someone new to the sport however it is relatively easy to learn. I have had some major accidents with this boat due to my over zealousness. This boat is built to last and while other boats may have sank mine has NO leaks and while I have been thru the "war" the boat is still up and running. The weight (25 lbs) make it easier to pick-up although it would be even easier if it had some handles like other boats. The seat could have used a bit of padding but all in all I am ready for another!
One word of caution; DO NOT TURN THE BOAT UPSIDE DOWN TO STORE IT AS IT LAYS ON THE RUDDER. This is a key part of the boat and it can bend ( as I found out) Listen to what Jeff tells you as he is the expert. In all a GREAT and SAFE ride.
It is an attractive boat, the orange deck mated to the white deck, with two hatches in the rear and ample rigging. Then you look at the cockpit. It's a bit forward from where you expect it to be. Turning it over, you look at the hull, sides mated to a flat bottom. Not a gentle sloping bottom the two sides meeting in a very wide "V" this is shoe box flat. Okay, you think, the real test of a boat is in the water. To get it to the water, you need to load it onto your carrier; in this case the "J" hooks on my car. You might think you could use saddles, but the flat bottom negated that idea. With my Pungo 120, I just lift it up and plop it into the hooks. The Rawson, even though it weighs about the same as the Pungo, is not so easy. Remember the cockpit that's a bit too far forward? This boat is hard to lift because you have nothing to hold onto near the center of gravity. I can load it alone, but even with help; it is really a three person job. Yes, I said three, not two.
Once in the water you notice a few things, both positive and negative. On the plus side, the cockpit is roomy. I am 5'11" and over 200lbs and this boat has room to spare. I think a 7 foot tall paddler would fit into this boat. The rudder controls are simple and easily mastered. The hard plastic seat is surprisingly comfortable, like a good wooden chair. With the right shape, you don't need padding. Once going, it moves nicely and responds to good paddling techniques. I could get to a nice speed, but it was a bit of an effort controlling the boat and tracking at speed.
The negatives hit you once you start moving. If the rudder is not down, you better know how to paddle because this thing likes to go in circles. You don’t need to look at the flags to know which the way the wind is blowing, just check your bow. Cross winds, head winds, tail winds all spin you in circles. That's a benefit of a nice flat bottom. So you either learn to use your rudder or get back to shore.
In the water, you sit pretty low and any waves will spill into the cockpit, so a skirt is advisable for most occasions. Two large thigh supports are incorporated but these seem to be designed for that 7 foot kayaker, as they fit right over my kneecaps. Those who paddle with you will notice you have about 18" of the rear of the boat out of the water along with at least 9" of the bow. So now your 15' boat is a 13' boat. The rear area seems to be a purposeful design, almost like they wanted to mate a short boat to a long stern to aid in tracking. Too bad the extended stern is above the water and does not aid in tracking at all. Thankfully, the rudder is large and easy to use.
I have a twenty five year old 14' fiberglass down river boat with a very gently rounded, almost flat bottom that I like to use every once in a while. The Tangent does not track as well as the down river boat, even with the rudder down. They are equally quick maneuverable.
Fit and finish on the boat immediately let you know this is an inexpensive fiberglass boat. If you are accustomed to Swift, QCC or Current Designs boats, you won’t appreciate the low price. The glass work is sloppy, cutouts are not quite right and the deck is joined to the hull by a nice caulking job. If you need to choose between a plastic Necky and the Tangent you might be enticed by the comparable price, but the fittings on the Necky are far superior to those on the Tangent.
If you are considering this boat, take it for a paddle on a windy day; try to load it onto your car carrier alone or with help. Pick it up at the cockpit opening. Determine if you can live with this boat before you buy it.
I slept on the above and decided to experiment with the boat for the remainder of the year to see if it can be made seaworthy. I will keep this posting updated from time to time.
I live in Miami, FL and I paddle mainly in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. This area is mainly shallow - protected water. I was looking for a light weight, well built, affordable, easy to paddle kayak for day use and exercise. It has one large and one small hatch, so this kayak could also be used for overnight trips. The Tangent 15 fits the bill.
It is fast and super maneuverable. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to the unique design of the kayak (you sit closer to the bow of the boat than other "symmetrical" kayaks). It was a little tippy to begin with, but once I got used to the design – I became extremely comfortable with this nimble boat. This is a very fun boat. I get a kick out of paddling it every time I got out.
I paddle almost every weekend and a few times during the week, if weather permits. The rudder makes the boat a very easy boat to paddle in various conditions. I have paddled in smooth conditions to 4 foot waves. This boat rides waves like a champ and cuts through them when needed! Lots of fun. It will even pivot 180 degrees on a dime when you pull up the rudder and do a power left or right stroke - amazing. I paddle 10 -20 mile trips with ease. I have been paddling for over 20 years and this is – by far – my favorite kayak.
A few of things to consider... This fiberglass kayak is much more delicate that my other fiberglass or plastic boats (it is also MUCH lighter – 35 lbs!). I never land it on the rocky shores that are all over the place in Biscayne Bay and the Keys. Landing on sandy beaches is fine. I usually anchor it near the shore and hop in or out. The cockpit is plenty large enough to easily climb in an out of in shallow water. I am not a fisherperson, so I can't really say how great of a fishing kayak this is. If you are a newbie paddler, you might want to consider a different – wider model of Rawson kayak. Call Jeffery!
I would also recommend that you use a spray skirt as the boat sits low in the water (especially the stern). I ordered a custom neoprene skirt from Rawson Boat Inc. and I also purchased a Synergy nylon spray skirt 41x23 (it is a little cooler in the summer).
Everyone asks me about this unique kayak. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone who asks – call or contact Jeffery Rawson to get custom pricing and options. It is well worth it.