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Submitted: 09-04-2001 by johns913
Somewhere on P&H's website I remember reading that they begin their boat design with the kayakers comfort as a top priority. This design goal is really evident as I can paddle for many hours in comfort; I just finished a week long vacation where I spent about thirty hours in my Capella without a single complaint. P&H has made comfort possible with an excellent seat and back band design. The quality and care that have gone into the Capella are very evident in the cockpit as it is throughout the boat. After owning the Capella a while, I decided to peak down under the thigh braces to see what was used to pad them out. I had assumed that there was a thin layer of foam.
I was quite surprised to learn that in fact the thigh braces are not padded. The fiberglass work is just so smooth and beautifully done that padding is not necessary (unless needed for fit). You will not find a rough edge on this boat. I am equally impressed with how the Capella handles. My primary paddling venue is an inland lake-flat water. But, I have had her out a few times in the Great Lakes and had a chance to see how she handles in wind and waves. I find the Capella stable and responsive in bigger conditions. I average using the skeg about half the time I'm on the water; it is very easy to set your angle on the wind by changing the depth of the skeg.
The boat also turns beautifully through edged and leaned turns. You can actually carve a perfect circle by holding her on edge a few seconds longer than necessary for a normal turn. So, the Capella is responsive. I'm also impressed with the hatches and storage space. I've been on some weekend trips where loading all of my gear including a thick Thermarest sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tent, stove, food, and etc. was not a problem. Everything fit and went in a lot easier than for the folks that have kayaks with smaller hatches. The Capella also handles great when loaded, very stable.
I recently started working on Eskimo rolls, and just got my first roll with the Capella. Having no rolling experience I have to take my mentors (he has a VCP Nordkapp) word that the Capella rolls well. P&H has also impressed me with their customer service. I have emailed them a few times and always received a quick response back. On their website, they indicate that they try to respond to email twice per day.
I highly recommend the Capella even for serious beginners (like myself). The skeg really helps you ease into advanced handling of the boat. I find myself using the skeg less and less, but in the beginning it was mostly down. When I first purchased the Capella, I could not handle her without the skeg and my edged turns were poor. My trip down the lake was more wandering than keeping a straight heading. Now, I intuitively drop my hip or lean just a bit as needed to keep a heading.
If you do purchase a P&H boat, you can expect it to generate a lot of attention. My Capella has been studied thoroughly by other kayak owners. P&H really is ahead of the game in attention to detail, the skeg system, hatches, and the seat.