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Two Lights Tandem

by Lincoln Canoe and Kayak

Named for two lighthouses located on Cape Elizabeth, Maine, The Two Lights is a classic - built for comfort and speed. At 49 lbs. in Carbon or 55 lbs. in a Kevlar/Fiberglass composite, The Two Lights is a sleek, fast-tracker and it's lighter than some single kayaks. The design offers two roomy cockpits, bow and stern compartments for additional gear. 

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Reviews

Lincoln Two Lights Tandem review

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This review is after 6 months of ownership, five day trips and two pool rolling clinics.
Nice thing about a tandem; one person can paddle like a maniac and the other can coast, and the Lincoln will still go pretty fast. The Lincoln Two Lights cockpits distance is far enough apart yet still requires some synchronization and care by the back paddler to not hit paddles or crack the front paddler in the head when performing hard turns, but with just a little care, it is not an issue.

The Lincoln Two Lights is 16’-9” long. I tie down the kayak with the strap behind the cockpit cowling to prevent the kayak from creeping backwards while driving. I have never had the kayak move. The length is long enough, in addition to it’s 28 inch width, to support two people. We weigh about 175 and 155 lbs. The weight limit is listed at 325 lbs in the literature, however, the factory said that the kayak will handle fine up to 375.
I got the fiberglass kayak listed at 55lbs however, I did get the reinforced keel strip, which seemed like a good protective move, so the weight may be a bit more. I can grab the kayak with hands grasping each cockpit and curl the kayak then lift the entire kayak over my head. I walk to my car and rest my elbows on the roof between the doors, with the kayak still over-head, the lower the kayak into it’s cradles. It is nice not to have to ask or rely on my wife to load and unload the kayak. In my garage, I have a loop strap that I insert the front of the kayak into then walk my hands backwards to a second untied strap which I throw over the end of the garage door rail and then tie it on. Again freedom to do it by myself is handy. Don’t get me wrong: both of these kayak handling manuvers tests my strength and balance and is not easy.

On the water:
Primary stability is pretty good. When getting in it is a bit of a tight fit to get long legs and or butt into the seat, but we haven’t dumped it yet trying. Getting out is very difficult for my wife due to her weak triceps relative to her weight. I need to assist her in getting out.
Secondary stability is better yet. Once you get in, the stability is very good and you have to do something dramatic to flip it.
Riding height. Water does not run up to the front cockpit skirt even in 6-8” choppy waves. Not sure about big waves as we haven’t tackled those conditions yet but I believe it will do well. The bow is sharp and cuts through the waves well. On flat water the wake in the front and back are small. You don’t feel like you are pushing a lot of water. When you get a good speed up and then glide, you travel a long way and slow down imperceptably, not like the brakes are on.
Handling. With the rudder up, the kayak is fairly responsive to turning considering it’s length but it naturally runs straight without the rudder and doesn’t turn with each stroke. The rudder is a real treat when paddling across a lake with a side wind. Without the rudder you are stuck to paddling on one side most of the time, but a tweak to the rudder allows you to compensate and paddle evenly. They also allow you to turn very quickly to avoid objects with out back paddling or slowing.

Solo kayaking.
This kayak is great for solo kayaking. However, you need to put 3-5 gallons of water or gear in the front hold. This keeps the front from lifting out of the water and so keeps the kayak running straight. Without the water in front, wind will spin your boat around like a weather vane. Be sure and buy a front cockpit cover and a hand pump to pump water in and out.
Wet exits. When flipping the kayak you have to lean pretty far and then the kayak flips quickly. When upside-down, the kayak floats high and takes on very little water. The cockpit cowling is deep so you have to push your skirt away from you pretty hard to then pull to get the skirt off the cockpit. Usually adrenaline takes care of it without a thought for me, but on a few occasions it took a few tries. My wife has yet to practice the maneuver so we shall soon see how she does.

Wet re-entry.
After a wet exit I was always able to re-enter the kayak from water over my head. The kayak is easy to flip back rightside up from the water. Very little water, maybe 3 -5 gallons gets in the kayak. A hard kick while pulling the kayak to get your chest over the cockpit, then wiggling to a balancing point, then turning to line up with the kayak. Note that I am thin and i imagine this would be more difficult with increasing body size. Getting in the cockpit is difficult from there, and is a matter of balance and contortion. If the waves were choppy I would forget getting in and start paddling to shore from a prone, on-kayak position dragging my wife in the water to shore (since there is no way she could get on board).
Rolling. As an new kayaker, my rolling technique is very new (and so poor). Rolling this long boat is a little harder than rolling a short kayak. However, I was successful several times rolling the Two Lights as a solo kayak with a cockpit cover over the front cockpit. I was unsuccessful many times too, but got lots of wet exit practice. An expert instructor soloing from the back had no issues rolling the kayak back and forth. With the instructor in the front and me in the back, we attempted a tandem roll. In position, my blade was right at his head. The first attempt we almost made it up, but my improperly positioned weight plopped us right back under, try two was even worse, and on try three, he started first before I was ready and got absolutely nowhere. Being short on air and getting a little panicy we both wet exited and that was enough for that experiment. I’d say forget about a tandem roll until you are both expert single rollers, and then timing is everything.

Workmanship and beauty:
The Lincoln Two Lights is a beautiful kayak. We get a lot of looks and we feel a lot of pride in the beauty of the boat. As of this time all the construction is excellent and absolutely no issues. The colors came out beautiful but a little different than the samples we were shown: The heather was more purpley and less burgundy than we expected, but we are still happy with it.
Seats, foot rests, and rudder: Our fiberglass seats with adjustable backrests are very comfortable as long as you take the time to adjust the backrests and don’t sit on them. The foot rests are adjustable by loosening a easily reached thumbscrew then pulling a plastic rod attached to the foot peddle and then re-tightening. The rudder pedals are just above and attached to the foot pedals so are operated with the balls of your feet or toes. Some sort of knee protection to prevent abrasions on your knees from the inside fiberglass shell would be a good idea for long trips or glueing a pad there. Same with the heels of your feet. The rudder is aluminum and spring loaded. When going over a submerged log or rock, the rudder is pushed up and spring snaps back down after crossing the hazard. The rudder can be pulled completely out of the water or back in, with a cable accessible from the back cockpit. The system has worked flawlessly.

Recommendation:
I’m sure there are kayaks that are faster, but for the non-expedition, advanced recreational kayaker, it is very efficient and I would heartily recommend the Lincoln Two Lights kayak. For the new or intermediate kayaker, I believe this kayak has enough stability, yet has enough efficiency that you will be happy with the kayak performance as you gain experience. The friendly folks at Newbury Canoe and Kayak in Newbury, MA, were kind enough to let us borrow their Two Lights for a test drive up the Parker River. We were gone over two hours and we expected to rent the kayak but they were kind enough to let us test it free despite the fact that we did not buy anything at that time.
I love my new Lincoln Two Lights!

A great boat to say the least. Initial stability as well…

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A great boat to say the least. Initial stability as well as the secondary stability is quite high. Tracks very well and it turns on a dime. The most unique aspect is the weight. 55 Lbs for a boat 16' 9" Love this boat.
We took it out on big water these last few weeks and I've never felt uncomfortable in 3 foot waves! Great investment!

We really like this Tandem! This is the fourth tandem we have…

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We really like this Tandem! This is the fourth tandem we have owned, and still own a Crosswinds that we like, but we keep for friends that are having their first experience in a kayak.

We bought the kayak this spring and have only used this in the ocean. In light conditions, little wind and flat seas we leave others behind. In these conditions the rudder is not necessary, as this kayak responds well to sweep strokes for turning, while tracking very well when the intention is to go straight.

This past weekend we gave it a very good test, paddling 9 miles around Bartlett Island off MDI. Conditions were a slight breeze and a little chop in the lee of the island when we started, and we knew we would encounter rough water on the open side of the island. We paddled through 2 1/2 foot seas and 20 to 25 mph winds for 2 of our 3 hour trip, and the kayak was grand. The trip the previous week took only 2 hours. While we had to be attentive on every stroke and watch every wave, and had a lot of them coming up over our spray skirts, we had full faith in our Two Lights. I used the smart-track rudder system the whole trip, and could put the kayak where it needed to be. Most challenging paddle I've done in 40 years, and loved the way the kayak handled.

My only reason for giving a 9 and not a 10 is I wish the screws on the inside of the boat had acorn nuts on the ends, to prevent any accidental scrapes. But we car-top this kayak like we do our singles, and look forward to years of paddling. We have the fiberglass version, so it probably weighs 55 lbs. The kevlar is about 47, but out of my price range. I think this is a great value.

We have had this tandem kayak (fiberglass/Kevlar composite) for years and have…

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We have had this tandem kayak (fiberglass/Kevlar composite) for years and have enjoyed day-tripping on lakes, rivers and, of course, the ocean. Even though we practiced overturn exits, we haven't come close to an actual one even in difficult conditions.

This kayak is one of the lightest tandems you will find on…

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This kayak is one of the lightest tandems you will find on the market making it a great boat to paddle and breeze to load. At about 46 lbs. it weighs about half the Wilderness System sea-two it replaced. It has a quality rudder system which I have never found the need to use. Where the sea -two handled like an aircraft carrier the Two Lights turns and tracks like a Ferrari in all kinds of seas. Storage may be a concern for multi day trips but other than that, after 3 yrs. of paddling, I have not found anything to complain about. Love this boat!

I actually purchased the green and white Two Lites featured in the…

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I actually purchased the green and white Two Lites featured in the review below (2004-08-26) -- it even has the small scratches from his tacklebox adventure on the deck. I paddle with my fiancee, and our prior experience was with canoes (me) and whitewater rafting (she). Prior to this boat we paddled an Old Town 160 together, and we have since paddled a few sit-on-tops. We paddle primarily spring-fed rivers and coastal estuaries in Florida.

This boat has done everything we have asked of her and more. At 16'7" and a feather-light 40-some-odd pounds rigged, she is compact and exceptionally easy to carry. As Lincoln notes, the Two Lites is a "fast tracker." Acceleration is tremendous, and we have to go very easy paddling with our fellow Floridians, who are usually in heavier, fishing-oriented plastic SOTs. We are no athletes, but paddle easily at 4+ mph per GPS, and can hit 6 mph in a sprint. This means that turning around and paddling back upriver is barely a consideration.

She will not weathercock with the rudder down. Storage space is indeed a bit limited, but a day cooler and basic safety gear is not problem. We generally rig two deck bags -- one for each paddler, and therefore have no problem keeping camera gear, compass, GPS, sunscreen, et al at hand.

Initial stability is less than a SOT, which threw us a bit, but only on the first run. Secondary stability is strong, and we've never dumped, save for a couple of klutzy exits by yours truly that were my fault.

The boat is ideal in flat water, but shrugs off 1-2 ft. swells with ease, and our first launch into surf in the Gulf of Mexico (yes, there are waves on that coast) went well after one false start. We've taken her to the Florida Keys, Sanibel / Captiva, Clearwater Beach, and dozens of flat water river runs and can't wait to take her out again.

As for shortcomings, it's true the hatches are not perfectly watertight, but in fairness the original gaskets are due for replacement. The backband style seats are great for hours at a time, but one came unglued once on the highway. After a daring rescue, I applied the adhesive Lincoln suggested, and it's stayed stuck for more than a year since. She's not the tightest turning boat in the world, especially for her short length, but then I'm still working on edged turns.

The *feel* of this boat is tremendous. The "paddle lite" kevlar / foam sandwich layup is light, stiff, and remarkably buoyant. We routinely load the boat with 400+ lbs (including, ahem, the kayakers) with no problem, and still glide forward with little effort. When the wind or current are against us, we still move easily and just get a bit more exercise. We look like paddling heroes with just a few seasons under our belts, and never worry about reaching the limits of the boat's capabilities.

I hope Lincoln's new ownership maintains the high quality of these excellent boats, because we're already eyeing a pair of Quoddys or Chebeagues so we can try "singling" it now and then without sacrificing the incredible experience we've had in our Two Lites.

This boat has got to be the fastest tandem sea kayak i…

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This boat has got to be the fastest tandem sea kayak i have ever paddled. It is quite lightweight (about 40-45lbs due to the paddle-lite kevlar layup) and can be carried by a single person. This boat tracks extremely well with or without the rudder. In addition, it can be paddled solo but care must be taken to put enough weight forward to keep the bow in the water; otherwise, the result is minimal glide and difficulty picking up speed. This boat is so light that it is affected by any load that is placed upon it. For example, my friend had his 10lb tackle box tied down on the centers bungie straps. And when he tried to get into the rear cockpit, he lost his balance and swamped the boat.(don't worry it was on shore). Anyway, we went to the other side of the lake and realized that the tackle box was causing our instability problems. So we decided to take all of our fishing equipment off the kayak and just enjoy a day of paddling. In short, this boat is extremely fast, stable (though can be a bit tippy when the center of Gravity is moved a bit higher and requires special entry and exit techniques to prevent swamping), comfortable (once you get the straps and pegs adujsted correctly), and has weekend long trip endurance at the most (not a expedition kayak). Oh, and the rudder is made of aluminum; top-quality for the rudder and marks for top quality of entire boat! Lincoln Canoe and Kayak did their best and came out with a product that not only looks great, it's virtually indestructible too!

We're into our 5th season with this boat and have never regretted…

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We're into our 5th season with this boat and have never regretted getting it. It's perfect for our normal day-tripping and we would recommend it to any couple for this purpose.

Nice boat.At 16'9"x29" and 55 lbs. it is probably the lightest real…

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Nice boat.At 16'9"x29" and 55 lbs. it is probably the lightest real tandem on the market. Finish quality is good. Handling with or without the rudder is excellent. Quite responsive to leaned turns. Not an expedition boat due to limited storage space, but fine for day tripping. While open ocean paddling is certainly possible; this craft excels in tight quarters wher longer tandems are at a disadvantage. Not much larger than a single, this boat handles beautifully with a lone paddler. Adding a cockpit cover and wieght foreward produces a truly dual purpose craft.

Unexpedly fast for a two seater. Ideal for day tripping, limited storage…

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Unexpedly fast for a two seater. Ideal for day tripping, limited storage for longer trips. Light, very light at 50lbs for the kevlar, slightly higher for kevlar and glass. Fit and finish was good, seating was fine. High cockpit=dry under most conditions.