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Reviews for Capella RM Kayak by P&H Sea Kayaks


Rated: 9.14/10 Based On: 14 Reviews

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08-30-2007
Submitted by: KempSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I purchased my kayak back in 2000 and have enjoyed it ever since. Handles well and is my ole reliable!

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.

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Win a Kayak or Canoe
06-18-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have owned my boat for about 6 months and used it about 10 times. At first I was not in love with this boat... the tracking was very poor and in general the boat felt big and sluggish. Well that was before I moved the seat three inches forward and... now... I have a brand new boat! Tracks on a dime... no longer need the skeg, and thigh braces hit just where they are suppose too... amazing!
So if you are having problems with weather cocking or poor handling, move the seat... experiment with it up or back. My only gripe now is the cockpit is a bit large for my frame, but I am working on that with my local kayak shop. If you are wondering why I bought this boat... all the others I tried seems cheesy... and not well made... this is rock solid... plastic is very stiff unlike most of the others I tried which felt flimsy. So far the hatches are dry as a bone... even in a roll and wet exits.

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06-04-2007
Submitted by: ATWSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

      I loved my Capella. One of the best, if not the best, plastic boats I have ever paddled and owned. From the room to the tracking to the speed....
I had alot of seat time in a Kevlar Seda Glider(Fast boat) but for me had to stay under power to stay stable. lol A bear to turn in the wind... Also had to be careful with it...No surfing up onto the beach...

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.

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02-07-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought the Pacific Blue RM166 to replace my Easky in Sept 06, and am happy in general with the boat. It's a good intermediate boat- I like the low maintainance/cost aspects of poly boats. I found the seat and thigh grips set up a bit wonky for me, and have had to make some changes- I'm 5'7", 200lb, and maybe it's my frame that's to blame but I had to move the whole seat setup back about 2", and add an Immersion Research Reggie backrest. I moved the seat as it felt too far forward(if you put a neoprene deck on and look down over the opening you can see the backrest is way out of alignment with the back of the deck opening-it's bang on now)and this hindered self rescues the cowboy/ladder way. The backrest is naff, and while trying to self rescue in the above ways the height of the seatback ensures you end up sitting on it, fully ratcheted forward! It had to go and the IR one is lower, more supportive and generally brilliant. These changes have not messed with the balance/handling either.

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!

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12-26-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Excellent performance design and stiff hull material make this kayak a winner. I'd do only a few things differently. I'm not a fan of pop-on hatches and the forward one is too small of an opening. I also don't like day hatches because the compartment takes up more room than the intended usage. This is a little more critical in a skeg boat, where you're losing some storage aft. I would go with a more flexible backband that can easily be adjusted while in the boat. The thigh braces could be more aggressive for my taste.

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.

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09-22-2006
Submitted by: michael parkerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I must say that this is the best seakayak I have tried. I bought it two weeks ago and I just love the boat. I tried many boats before buying and must say that the Capella was the very best. The sitting comfort is the pure "luxus", the boat is esay to handle, without being borring.
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04-25-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The RM 166 is a good, durable, all around poly boat. It can handle any day trip and tracks well enough for crossings. Storage is available for multi-day trips. Good features include the deck lines, deck compass mount, newly designed seat, easily adjustable foot rests, and 3 Kajak Sport hatches. It has good initial stability but does not respond as well to edging as my Nigel Foster Shadow.
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07-02-2004
Submitted by: RLCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have spent 90% of my paddle time in rec boats (WS Pungo) and 10% of time in all the other sea kayaks I can get my hand on, and I've paddled many. The Capella is simple the perfect boat for me in every single way. PERIOD

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.

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03-26-2004
Submitted by: dave francisSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have only had my Capella RM for 6 months and can agree with all the previous comments. I am fairly experienced white water paddler, and I still find the Capella has slightly tender primary stability. I expect to feel better about this as my sea-time increases. However I would not trade this tenderness for more initial stability at the cost of one of its many other positive attribiutes. I just wish I could put the paddle down sometimes to take a drink.
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02-19-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My friend in England has just tested the new Capella RM 166 and this is his impressions. He liked the new hatch system, especially the addition of the day hatch. My friend has owned various P&H boats all with the day hatch, which he finds very useful. It was one of his (and mine) pet peeves about the previous Capella RM model, though we both have learned to live with the set-up.

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

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09-23-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've owned my Poly Capella for just over 6 months now and am very impressed with this boat, especially its performance considering it is a plastic boat! As an expereinced paddler who has been paddling for over 20 years and a BCU Sea Kayak Instructor, I knew exactly what I wanted from the boat I purchased and the Capella was the one that fit the bill.

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!

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09-15-2003
Submitted by: Doug
Rating: 8 of 10

     Fast, smooth paddling boat. Keeps up with the glass boats, and you don't have to worry about the scratches. Unlike other plastic boats I've used & own, it doesn't flex in waves - it's quite stiff. Only negative is that I can't fit my size 11-1/2 shoes in, so I always have to paddle barefoot. Not a big deal most of the time, but when going ashore or launching where there's broken glass, sharp rocks, etc, it can be a problem. But my shoes fit easily in the large square hatches. The seat back could be a little wider, as it took quite a bit of adjusting to get it right.

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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04-11-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the best roto boat under the sun. Worked my way up through a number of plastic boats and have used a number of glass 16 to 17 footers. Without a doubt the poly capella is the best in it's class. If you really want to focus on paddling and forget about worrying if your going to scratch your glass boat.....this is the one. Stiff and responsive and a great price for quality equipment. It's a NO-brainer!
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01-10-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am a 90kg male paddler and I have had my plastic Capella for 9 months now and all I can say is that I love it. At first I felt it a little unstable but didn't worry much because I felt the secondary stability is excellent! It handles very good at heavy waves and is fast as a glass boat. I often paddle with glass boats and have no problem keeping up with them. The hatches are completely watertight and are very comfortable in use. The pedals are excellent and give good support when rolling and bracing. This boat is a masterpice of a kayak, just try it for yourself. I am now saving up for my next boat, which will be a fiberglass Capella.
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