Review of the Tahe Marine Bay Spirit and Sea Spirit - by Craig McSween

Last month Bart and I managed to get away for 4 days and decided to put the Bay Spirit and the Sea Spirit through their paces.  For those of you wondering how a convinced Liz to give me time off................we also took 29 students with us paddling throughout Moreton Bay between the Gold Coast & Brisbane.


The first test was to see how we went loading 4 days of gear in to both boats.  On school trips I take extra food, huge first aid kits, snorkelling equipment, large tarps, and other spare equipment for the kids.  We found we had ample room.  Neither kayak come with a day hatch behind the cockpit which allowed us to store a huge amount through the rear hatch (I think you lose a little space having the extra bulkhead associated with a day hatch.)   The Bay Spirit has an extra 6 inch hatch in front of the cockpit giving access to a glove compartment........this was great for sunscreen, camera & snacks.


Both cockpits have a similar feel with fairy aggressive thigh braces locking you in position.  The seat pan is a great shape allowing us both to sit comfortably for extended periods.  The Bay Spirit comes standard with a skeg and rudder while the Sea Spirit used for the trip had just a rudder.  (We do have Sea Spirits with just skeg in stock.)  Both cockpits suit a small to medium sized paddler.  A larger paddler may find the thigh braces too tight.  Both kayaks have a low coaming at the rear of the cockpit making them suitable for Greenland Rolls and Balance Braces.  (Some of the pics show some students performing a balance brace in the Bay Spirit after 5 minutes of instruction).


So what are the differences in performance?.....................not speed, both cruised well and even when raced there was little between them.  The Sea Spirit has a little more initial & secondary stability due to the hard chines throughout the hull, but not a lot of difference.  The big difference in their performance was when carving an edged turn.  The hard chines of the Sea Spirit meant that it's hull shape changed dramatically when put on edge which allowed the tail to slip and spin while edging a turn.  The Bay Spirit with its more rounded hull didn't respond to the edged turn as much.  It still turned, but not quite as sharply.  Helped by their low rear deck, both kayaks track a straight line extremely well, even in moderate winds.


Both the Bay Spirit & Sea Spirit excel is in their versatility.   If I was choosing a kayak to do long crossings and sit for 10 hours a day, neither kayak would be my first choice.  They are fantastic for practicing to roll and applying Greenland techniques.  They make great day boats and as we found this week, are more than capable of doing multiday trips.  Usually when loaded up with gear I don't bother performing to many rolls...........I found in the Bay Spirit and the Sea Spirit I was rolling all the time, fully loaded, just for the fun of it.  The hatches seal well, neither kayak took on a drop of water after extended periods upside down.


Advantages of the Bay Spirit:

  • Fitted with skeg & rudder, and a glove compartment..............all for $2690!
  • Can be paddled at cruising speed with a little less effort

Advantages of the Sea Spirit:

  • A little more storage space & stability
  • Performs edged turns a little nicer
  • Amazing value at $2590!


 If you would like to test any of the kayaks in the Tahe range please check out our website for our next demo day or feel free to contact me at or 07 5571 2929. - Craig, Adventure Outlet.


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