Submitted: 10-10-2008 by sfairty
I borrowed a carbon/kevlar Capella 161 for over a month and paddled in conditions from dead calm to 20 knots of wind and seas to 4 feet. I like maneuverable boats and the Capella 161 is definitely maneuverable. It is one of the few boats that I can get a 180 degree turn using just a bow rudder. It is a joy in rock gardens and responds extremely well to edged turns.
I found the outfitting to be extremely comfortable and can paddle it "off the rack" without any additional outfitting at all. Because of its maneuverability, it definitely needs the skeg that comes standard. The only time I used the skeg was in following quartering seas on a 1 mile crossing and it made life much, much easier. With the skeg retracted in those conditions, I needed to do an asymmetric stroke (sweep downwind, power forward upwind) to stay on course and that gets tiring.
The carbon/kevlar layup is light, but if I were to buy one, I'd go for the more durable glass layup as I don't treat my glass boats any different than a plastic boat and the extra durability is worth a few extra pounds to a boat abuser like me.