Our paddling group is:
husband = 162 lbs, 5'9"
wife = 103 lbs, 5'3"
daughter1 = 50 lbs, 4'2" (10 years old)
daughter2 = 48 lbs, 4'0" (8 years old)
We are novices, just started kayaking. We are currently doing some easy lake paddles to get the feel of kayaking in general and to get the feel of a Wilderness Systems Tsunami-145 and Tsunami-SP that we recently bought. We hope to build toward some weekend or maybe longer touring/camping trips on NC/Va lakes and on the sound-side of the NC coast. The camping is obviously a ways off for us, but it is the goal after we've built our skills, confidence, etc. We're not interested in open ocean water while our daughters are this age. Maybe it'll prove to be something we can't resist, though, as we gain experience, who kows ...
The idea of tandem is appealing to us. It would allow one of our daughters to be (essentially) resting in the front seat of the tandem at any time (with adult in rear seat) wile the other daughter paddles the Tsunami-SP and the other adult paddles the Tsunami-145. (Also, our car rack will only hold 3 boats!)
We can't afford the best, lightest, etc. boats. You probably understood that from the relatively inexpensive starter boats we've already bought. However, we also don't want to really get into this and then have to buy a new boat.
So, after all that background, I'm hoping that someone out there might have some ideas to share --- specific boats we might consider, issues we haven't considered, etc. --- or past experiences that might be instructive for us.
Thanks very much,