Submitted: 11-08-1999 by Steve
The Captiva is a longer version of the Carolina. At 16', it can handle open water conditions but turns surprisingly fast on small rivers and creeks. The boat has the ability to lean to almost where the side and deck meet before you feel like the boat is losing secondary stability. I'm a larger paddler and appreciate the 2" higher deck than the Carolina, although I could have used a little extra room for my 40 y/o knees. This is the main reason I chose the Captiva. For paddlers who are tall or stocky built, many sea kayaks are too narrow or have too low a deck to be comfortable. With a gel seatback and a soft foam butt pad the Captiva is comfortable. I ordered mine with a rudder but the boat turns easily with a lean. Unlike its shorter relative, the Acadia, the Captiva allows you to lean the boat considerably to the side and still feel very stable. With 11,000 c.i. of dry storage, it can haul a lot of gear. This is the first year for this model and the rear hatch is a full 11" oblong, which allows tent poles and other larger items to fit in. With a price tag of $849 ($1025 w/ rudder) it is a great boat for paddlers who want to have a larger boat but not spend a bunch of money. And for the many like me who have a tummy and don't bend like we once did, I really like it. The only areas where it doesn't meet all of my expectations are that even with a cockpit of 25", my legs could have used a bit more side room under the thigh braces to flex out and with shoes on, the deck hits my toes. The solution: Wear neosocks, booties or go barefoot and there is plenty of room. Regarding the tight knees...stretching out and getting used to it seems to work for me. Overall, I'm very pleased with this boat. It is fast, maneuverable and still very stable.