I have a used Wilderness Systems Tchaika for sale—I am the original owner, I bought the boat new at Kittery Trading Post in 1996. Included in this posting are a few direct quotes from another Tchaika owner that exactly mirror my experience with this boat.
Tchaika is a composite lay-up, light and responsive, 13'11" long, 21 1/4" wide, and weighs just 39 lbs water-ready with the bow float bag. It has adjustable foot pedals and contoured under hull knee pads, a float bag in the bow and a sealed bulkhead in the rear with a brand new 8” diameter rubber hatch cover. The seat is comfortable enough but nothing special. On my boat the back top seat cover is worn thin. I made a new seat back cover from ripstop nylon for cosmetics only. It’s quite easy for one person to load and unload. I am nearly 70 but can easily carry this boat from the car to the water’s edge over my shoulder.
It’s listed as a day-touring kayak for smaller adults (the original catalog listing said "for paddlers up to 165 lbs."). I'm a 5’7” woman with size 10 feet and it fits me perfectly, but would be a good fit for a man or woman taller or shorter than me. It would likely be a snug fit for a woman heavier than the recommended 165-170 lbs.
On the water, it’s very fast and it rolls like a dream (if rolling is your thing). It would be a great boat for teaching the classic “Eskimo” roll in winter pool classes. “This is a boat that sings for a paddler who knows what he or she is doing.” To quote from another Tchaika seller (I found to be quite true to my experience as well) — “The Tchaika is so responsive to the paddle and so low-profile (nothing for the wind to grab) that a rudder is unnecessary. It weathercocks slightly in a stiff breeze or following sea (find me a boat that doesn't . . .please!) but that's easily compensated with good paddling technique. It's an easy boat to lean, and the secondary stability is outstanding. This is a great boat for someone experienced, or someone who wants to learn to paddle well”
It's not built for transporting a lot of gear; if you’re a very minimalist camper you can carry gear in the rear compartment and a tent bag in the bow section between your legs/feet. If you want to go on long adventures, this probably isn't the boat for it. It is, however, ideal for exploring ponds and lakes, protected ocean bays and tidal rivers.
My boat was made in the mid-1990s and I’ve used it a good deal. The hull is white and scratched with use but not overly so and is structurally sound. I’ve stored it inside for the past several years but I used to store it outside in the summers so the original light lavender top deck is faded. The tie downs and hardware fore and aft are original and just fine.
Asking price of $650 includes the original float bag, a used neoprene spray skirt, and a paddle float and hand pump, both brand new and worth $65 alone.