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Submitted: 09-09-2005 by Mark McCarty

The Scapa is a speedy kayak! With little effort, this boat slices through the water. Take the characteristics of an Islander Moku, magnify them, and you have an idea of how this boat is on the water.

One word of warning though: this boat is twitchy! Do little more than tilt your head, and the boat will let you know. That's to be expected, as this kayak has a high waterline length to beam ratio. It is 440 cm (14' 5") length; it is 66 cm (2' 2"). That equates to a 6.7 waterline length to beam ratio. That's why it's so fast; that's also why it's twitchy.

My friend, Larry (owner & operator of Yak's Kayaks in Lavallette, NJ), said that he'd observed the same thing. Since we're both the same size (6'2" @ 270#), we can compare notes on a boat's handling. He went on to say that, when he'd rented the Scapa to a couple of different people weighing in @ 220#, and that the Scapa worked fine for them. That goes to show that the manufacturer's capacity rating is a guide only, not a hard and fast number.

The Scapa likes to weathercock. When I was out in it during the Labor Day weekend, there was a stiff breeze up (whitecaps were everywhere), and the Scapa felt it. If the wind as on the beam, or abaft the beam, the Scapa pointed to the windward side. This was corrected by pulling the leeward leg in; this bent the leg, and a 'J' lean could be induced to counteract the weathercocking tendency of the Scapa.

As for the boat's layout and construction, both are top notch. It uses twin sheet construction vs. the rotomolding construction found on most SOT kayaks. It's lighter, stronger, and less susceptible to leaks. It has a nice little wheel in the stern, so you can roll it for short distances while protecting the hull; there's an abrasion protector on the bow as well. The carrying handles are robust-one is even molded into the bow. Finally, the boat doesn't take on water like other, rotomolded SOT kayaks I've used.

The Scapa has a good seating position; it's so good that you could get by without the attachable seatback. There are ample foot wells for most size people. The carrying area aft of the cockpit is spacious; you can carry a lot of stuff with you, such as fishing gear, a SCUBA tank, etc. One could do some light touring with the Scapa.

Overall, the Scapa is a good, fast (and I do mean fast!) kayak; even with minimal effort, you'll go at a good clip. However, even though it's rated for a big guy like me (286#), it's twitchy; if you're 220# or less, you'll be fine. The construction, ergonomics, and thoughtful little touches (like the abrasion protectors) are awesome. If you want a quality boat for fitness, light touring, and all-out speed, you cannot beat the Scapa; for an SOT, it has great performance. The only reason I didn't give it a '10' is because, even though they're rated for 286#, bigger people like me and Larry can't use the boat without getting that twitchy feeling.

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