Material: Fiberglass Composite
Class: Light Touring/Transitional
Hatches/Bulkheads: Bow and Stern
Hatch Volume (bow/stern): 25/92 liters
Deck Height: 11.75”
Max. Capacity: 255lbs
Cockpit: 31.5” x 16.5”
MSRP: *Discontinued in August 2002*
Note: This review is focusing on the Dagger Tybee “S” which is designed with a lower volume deck trimmed for smaller paddlers. While nearly identical in performance and overall dimensions to the standard Dagger Tybee, the “S” is slightly lighter in weight at 43lbs verses 47lbs, and has a lower carrying capacity.
I had the unique opportunity to purchase a Dagger Tybee S this winter which allowed me the opportunity to paddle it from the beginning of the 2014 season. The Dagger Tybee is a beautifully designed and built kayak- discontinued in 2002, it was designed for lightweight performance, stability, and maneuverability. The Tybee has a visually noticeable high quality layup, and while lightweight, one can see that its gel coat and composite is not thin. Upon my first impression, I found that Dagger Tybee to be very stable and very comfortable. The thigh braces fit snugly and comfortably, and I had not problems getting into the cockpit. Even though the Tybee S is a low-volume kayak, it shares the same cockpit as the Dagger Tybee and Dagger Meridian which provides plenty of space for entry and exit.
The Tybee S is outfitted with a standard rudder which is controlled by aluminum rail-mounted foot braces with adjustable straps. In addition, the Tybee is nicely arranged with both fore-and-aft composite bulkheads with KajakSport hatches.
Unlike many composite kayaks manufactured today with very thin composite or foam/poly bulkheads, the Tybee’s bulkheads are very solid. The rear bulkhead is angled slightly toward the cockpit to provide easy drainage. Static deck lines and bungees orient the deck to allow for easy handling during self-rescue and stowing while on the water. Characteristic of all Dagger composites of the early 2000s, the Tybee is outfitted with a cockpit mounted water bottle holder which does not inhibit paddler motion or seating.
The seat and back-band provide ample support while promoting proper paddling posture. Bulky footwear may have a hard time fitting into the low volume deck of the Tybee S. The first time I took out the Tybee S I was wearing Merrell mid-weight hiking boots which I found challenging to navigate around the foot braces and articulate the rudder system. Low profile footwear is highly recommended!
As a smaller paddler, I found that Dagger Tybee to be very comfortable and easy to adjust to once in the cockpit. The Tybee S is very stable although the primary stability may feel a bit tender at first. The secondary stability is solid, predictable, and eases the paddler into lean turns without feeling jittery or unstable. For a kayak just shy of 15’, the Tybee performs to the tune of a transitional touring kayak. It is quick to respond and gets up to speed with little hesitation. A word to the wise: be prepared the drop your rudder, the Tybee is very very maneuverable. While its playfulness is fun on smaller trips and proves to be an asset in tight rivers, the rudder may be a necessity on longer trips with greater distances. I had the opportunity to take the Tybee S on a down river trip in the Nemasket River in Middleboro, MA where the 14’10” Tybee performed perfectly. It maneuvered with ease around downed trees and tight pinches in the river but accelerated when needed.
Overall, the Tybee S is a great kayak and would be a great companion of anyone looking for a light touring kayak that is comfortable, stable, and playful. The Tybee is best in protected coastal, in-land lakes and ponds, estuaries, and rivers. For medium to larger paddlers, keep a lookout for the standard Dagger Tybee. As for smaller paddlers, keep a lookout for the “S” and these are trimmed with cut-down deck height to accommodate lower weight displacement.
If you are itching for a Dagger Tybee but just cannot seem to find one, there are a couple current models on the market today which have similar features, dimensions, and performance. Check out the: Current Designs Vision 150, Lincoln Kayaks Chebeague LV, and the Stellar S15.