The Tempest Chronicles:

So I am sucker for giving a boat a second lease on life. My latest project is a pre - 2010 Wliderness Systems Tempest 170. A great boat for sure and there is not a structural thing wrong with it. Below outlines bulkhead and skeg refurbishment. Additionally, I have replaced the deck lines, true the bungees and given it a deep cleaning with 303.


In preparation for the (2) after but heads being removed, I removed the seat pan. Inspecting shows everything to be in great condition and the underside of the pan where it meets the hull shows minimal wear. The bulk heads were removed by painstakingly removed layers of silicone “house grade” calking. Friends please note that silicone is not a good sealing option on any kayak’s bulkheads. It will not provide a good seal and over time will completely degrade rendering it useless. Use manufacturer grade elastomer sealant (grey or clear) to hold those bulk heads in place. With the bulk heads removed I cleaned them up with a 120 grit sanding block. The inside of the hull has been complete scrapped with a razor the the plastic and sanded with 120 grit to accept the elastomer sealant. Just waiting on the sealant to arrive. Bulkheads have been dry fitted into position.

Skeg Overhaul:

This has been the greatest challenge so far. The Skeg system for the Tempest is quite simple and ingenious. Its a tube within a tube for the actuator, connected to a stainless steel 7x7 cable that runs through a poly channel tube to the skeg box. The previous owner of this boat had a local shop try to overhaul the skeg when it ceased to function. Fail for sure. So I started with a complete tear down and inventory. I knew that the needed to replace the internal stainless cable and the channel tube. These were purchased from I highly recommend Tom for all you Wilderness System parts. Waiting on these to arrive. In there interim I found the issue that caused the skeg to fail in the first place. The stainless nipple leading out of the skeg box had sheared causing the cable to seize. Ok so the issue that I faced was how to replace this part. I searched all over the interwebz for this part and no dice. A stainless steel 2” x 3/16 : 1/4-28 NF threaded nipple. I called several local machine shops to see if I could get this part fabricated. Nice dice again. Finally the solution hit me. The same part is used on the backside of the skeg actuator is the same on the right side freeboard (actuator slide receiver). the part that sheared left me just enough material to chase the tread down using a 1/4-28 NF die. So I flipped the parts and now the Wildy is ready for the new skeg actuator assembly. Viola!

Am I done? Not so fast. The last part of this deconstruction puzzle was removing the remaining cable from the skeg fin. The 1/16 hex key set screw that holds the tail end of the stainless cable into the top of the fin was frozen. Imagine that. I was able to free it with a bit of WD40 and some heat. However all my efforts where futile and the assembly ended up cracking the top of the fin. No worries, back to the rescue. New fin and cable detent ordered. So now I just wait for all the parts to arrive and I can complete the skeg overhaul.

There definitely is a great deal of satisfaction in breathing new life into a boat. It just takes patience, research and sometimes a bit of mechanical ingenuity. I will post after I get the skeg back in business. Should be about a week or so. If you are looking to overhaul a sea kayak please let me know. Lot’s of experience with the mechanical components and I can weld plastic. As for fiberglass, I am working on it.

Parts Resources:

Tom @

Ace Hardware for stainless bolts, washers, neoprene washers

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