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My only complaint is when I am in too big a hurry to exit the boat I tend to damage my shins (I'm 6 foot 175lb) on the sharp edge of the front cockpit. I can't help but wonder if this has been modified since. The only trouble I have had was my rubber hatch covers rotted after about 4 years, but they were left exposed during that time.
High marks and definitely a great boat.
I was looking for something to bang around in a good all around boat and stumbled on the Capella. From cruising the harbor to being out in 4'seas I never lost faith in that boat.
Surprised me how fast/efficient the Capella was esp for a plastic boat.... Stroke for stroke I could keep pace with "most" glass boats that I paddled with.
I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a more efficient plastic boat. I am 6'3" 245 lbs and had no issues at all with it.
I sold it and now wished I hadn't.
Anyway- the boat is fine stability wise unladen, and laden it is brilliantly stable- it lowers the freeboard quite a bit which means less weathercocking. The kayak is very strong, the kajaksport hatch covers fit tight and the skeg is excellent.
The only major gripe I have with it's actual performance relates to the rough textured finish all over the boat. I feel the boat should be quicker, and recently tried a Current Designs Scirocco, which has a highly polished finish in comparison, and this felt much quicker(even though it has terrible outfitting and the hull flexes way too much...) I'm currently on a few websites trying to work out if it's possible to somehow polish the boat to make it smoother- I don't want a composite yet, as I haven't had a full season with a "real" sea kayak of any sort and would rather wait a year or two to POSSIBLY make that change.
A polished Capella would be ideal- outfitting is expected so I'm not bothered about the changes there, it's a personal thing!
Aside from those minor details, the boat is perfect. Accelerates quickly and is easy to edge and turn. It tracks pretty well without the skeg, but is dead-on with it. Sheds waves just fine. Lively enough to be interesting, but far from tippy. If you want performance without the expense and fragility of a composite boat, this is your ticket.
It's the right fit, the right length, the right weight--lighter then the pungo in the hands by the way--better balance and easier to carry over a shoulder. It is totally stable just sitting in the water--coppy or still. It only partially wind cocks into a 10 knot wint with the skeg up and with the skeg down the sucker is solid on rails. I myself and very sensative to rocky boats which is why I really haven't liked many of the 15+ foot boats that I have paddled. The WS Tempest was a nice sports car of a boat but I couldn't sit still in that boat for a second without risking sure capsite.
I am not an experienced sea kayaker so bracing strokes, knee-up swift pinwheel turns, and laying it on it's side have been hard skills for me to master in other boats. In the Capella it's as if I've been paddling for 20 years--this is not a lie. I sat in put my paddle out just a bit and with a little flex completely laid it on it's side with the gunwall almost flat on the water. The sucker has great acceleration--and with a little lean and a nice big paddle blade I pulled that boat around in 30' circle which I consider to be pretty good.
The bottom line, no matter how good any review can be on any boat YOU have to sit in it and you have paddle it. Paddle boats side by side on the same day to really tell the differences. I like the Capella that now sick in my kayak rack. See you on the water.
My friend also commented on the new seat system and said it improved an already comfortable kayak and the new seat is more like the ones found on P&H's fibreglass models. As for the boat feel in the water, he said it felt pretty much the way the old Capella felt (typical British Kayak feel), except he though it had a little more initial stability and tracked a little better.
He liked the boat so much he has placed an order and suggested I do the same once I've seen and tested the boat myself
Before purchasing the Capella I test paddled various boats, both Glass, plastic and Carbon, and decided to purchase a plastic boat because it fits the large variety of paddling I do. I paddled boats from all the well known manufacturers and some lesser known ones and found the combination of performance, quality, design, fit and finish, comfort and feel of the Capella best suited my needs.
I have paddled the boat in various conditions from flat calm to 8' swells and even surfed the boat off Long Beach on Vancouver Island (what a blast that was) and found the all round performance of the boat was excellent. To date I have not had to use the skeg once, even though I have paddled in some high wind/strong tidal conditions. In fact for a plastic boat I found the Capella tracks very well and is pretty fast. I can keep up with any of my friends in their Glass or Carbon Kevlar boats without any problem, but I am a strong paddler!
I had to add hip pads but other than that I haven't had to do anything with the fittings on the boat and find the seating to be excellent. Even without the hip pads I've found this boat is a dream to roll and very manouverable. It has decent initial stability and excellent secondary stability, which is the way I prefer in a sea kayak.
Despite its relativey small storage areas I have found carrying even a week or twos camping supplies not to be a problem, although I will admit I am a light camper.
I purchased a fully loaded version which included the built in compass and pump and although I haven't used the pump apart from pumping out friends boats, the compass has been used a lot and is great! Overall I am extremely happy with this boat and know it will serve me well for a long long time. I can highly recommend the P & H range and especially the Capella to anyone looking for a good performance Sea Kayak!
The skeg works quite well. I see no reason for a rudder - just a little lean & it carves turns quite well. It doesn't weathercock in the wind. It feels tippy, so when I want to float around or birdwatch, I take a dfferent boat. But for travelling, it's a great boat.
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