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Reviews for Capella Kayak by P&H Sea Kayaks


Rated: 9.24/10 Based On: 41 Reviews

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11-16-2010
Submitted by: JTSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     P&H Capella 169 plastic has been the best boat I have ever paddled. I have owned and paddled this boat for over ten years and it has handled everything I can throw at it. I paddled from Canada to Isle Royal national park with 10 days paddling around the island and back. I paddled the Pine River in MI with record flows of over 2000 CFS and it handled it beautifully. It tracks well and when up on edge can turn on a dime.

I have paddled over thirty different boats and this one is the best all around boat I have ever used. It braves the rivers and the open water. I have used it for many ten day solo trips and can always seem to squeeze in all of the gear I need. I don't wish it was fiberglass or Kevlar because I am sure I would have destroyed this boat long ago if it was. I am not sure if they still make a plastic but if they do it will be worth every penny. I call her the foxy otter and she is 11 out of 10.

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08-02-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am very new to the sport of kayaking and purchased a used fiberglass P&H Capella 169. The previous owner must not have used it much, it is in remarkable shape considering the manufacturing date is Nov. 2004.

The first time I took it out, I thought I made the biggest purchasing mistake ever. The boat felt so tippy and unstable to me, I had to return to the dock with cramps in my back, because I was so tense trying not to dump the boat (it was 39 degrees out).

I am so excited that I did not give up on this boat. Each time I paddled it my confidence grew. I now LOVE this boat. It is exciting to paddle, very fast and will bring me years of joy. I had a specific question about this boat (it's true weight) and decided to send an email to the folks at P&H Sea Kayaks in Great Britain and even asked if they would mail a brochure that covered this boat to me. The email was answered that day, the brochure arrived about 5 days later!!! These folks really stand behind their product!

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11-03-2005
Submitted by: DWHSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I was at a kayak demo day this summer, trying out all the medium volume 16-17" narrower kayaks I could get my hands on. While waiting for another boat, the P&H representative suggested I try a Capella (it wasn't on my list). The first one available was a plastic 160 - which was okay, but not exciting. Then he put me in the composite 169 - and I was really impressed! Keep in mind I'd been in several of the competition's boats already. I was looking for a "British" style sea kayak with a moderate volume, low deck and "Greenland" ends that would track and turn well without a rudder. Of all the boats I tried, the Cappella 169 and the Current Designs Andromeda topped my list - based mostly on their handling and cruising speed. The test was on calm water with a slight breeze.
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06-20-2005
Submitted by: Fat TonySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Well I was out in my NEW FG 169 Capella today and it was amazing. As most have said in other reviews it weathercocks but not in way that I had any problem countering it. The FG Capella is much faster then my RM 166 Capella and edges like a dream. I did a little surfing in some 6-8 foot swells and I was pleasantly surprised at how well this kayak handled the waves. With my plastic Capella I found that if I was on top of a wave and the wind was up the wind would shift the nose forcing me sideways into the wave. This is difficult to counter with the RM due to its weight but with the FG you can lean and force the nose to straighten easily. Anyway the FG 169 rules and I cannot wait till tomorrow to get out once again!!
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06-16-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have a new FG Capella 169 ordered and I am so excited about it. I have been paddling a RM 166 last year and I finally decided to make the big step to the FG Capella. I will certainly post what I think if the FG when I get a chance to really try it out.
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12-14-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love my new boat. I got it last Tuesday, and have been out the last 3 out of 6 days. Previous Kayak is a WS Roto Cape Horn 170. It's like night and day. My Capella is roomy, super initial stability. I was thinking it would be tippy compared to the other British boats I had paddled. Not so. Super stable, I've felt extremely comfortable in her. My feet don't go to sleep anymore, and my butt does not go numb. I have only paddled about 5 miles considering winter and it getting dark so early. Tracks good, and even better with the skeg dropped. I'm so glad I never got a boat with a rudder. I developed better paddling skills without one. She rolls much eaiser than my Cape Horn. And I am just knocked out with the way she edges. The smoothe fiberglass thigh bracing in it is amazing. I am 42, 5'10 1/2" 235. I can't wait to take her to the coast. There might be faster boats out there, I don't know, but my Capella is no slouch. As a matter of fact, I'm going into the garage to just stare at it right now..........
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09-28-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I paddled a P&H Capella at a recent demo day. I loved the boat, and were it not for its $2,300 price tag, I would have taken it home! The boat is extremely stable for a sea kayak, and it is very fast. Although I am used to paddling a REC kayak (WS Pungo 140), I felt right at home in this boat.
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06-27-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Well...it's been 2 months now with my Carbon/Kevlar Capella, and I have managed to log about 150 miles in all sorts of Ocean conditions. The more I paddle the more I like it. It has greatly improved my abilities in dicey conditions, it is truly inspiring. Initially I had some trouble with weather cocking, but I am quickly learning how to deal with it either by "lifting a cheek" or using a little skeg. With the skeg down this boat has a completly different personality. It tracks almost too good (tough to turn). So as time goes on I am finding myself using the skeg less and less. This boat is just so much fun. I would certainly recommend it to anyone (even beginners) that want a boat they can grow into. It took me three or four trips to get completly comfortable with this boat, but once i did..oh boy...what fun. Construction, fit, finish, seating, all perfect..it's a P&H. Definetly a 10, this is a boat i will have for a long time.
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04-22-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Well, I finally did it! After one year of paddling a Perception Sole, and being quite uncomfortable after 1.5 to 2 hours in the cockpit I decided it was time to upgrade. I am 5'11", 170lbs. I did alot of research on the web and saw only good things about the P&H Capella. So off I went to my local dealer (New England Small Craft) and took one out for a test drive. The immediate difference in comfort was amazing. We launched from a beach with a fair amount of surf with no difficulties, there was a little bit of chop and a 15 knot wind. I am still a beginner with limited skills (which have been hampered the last year by using a rudder all the time), but I felt quite relaxed and in control right away. Once we were past the breaking waves, I got to wiggle around a little bit, the primary stability felt good to me, not much different from my Perception Sole. The secondary stability felt really great although I didn't get to test it too much (the water temp is only 40 degrees f and didn't want to risk going swimming).

Once we got going the acceleration of this boat was impressive. It did try to weather cock, but with a drop of the skeg it tracked straight as an arrow. All in all I was so pleased with the overall comfort and performance I couldn't wait to get back to the shop and plop down my cash and purchase an all white carbon kevlar model. She's just beautiful to look at, and just as beautiful to paddle. My rating is 9 out of 10 because after only an hour of use I don't feel I have the right to give it a 10. I will repost after some more time in the saddle and let you know. PS. Thanks so much to Alex at New England Small Craft, she is very knowledgeable and patient answering all my questions.

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04-09-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     UPDATE TO PRIOR REVIEW

After a couple of years with plastic capella, I sold mine and bought a used fiberglass capella. I'm extremely pleased with the new fiberglass model. Everything I loved about the plastic model is there but now it is even stiffer, lighter, and faster. A couple of minor complaints: 1. the used fiberglass model I bought does not have the cushy foam thigh brace pads that my plastic model had. I've glued some thin foam padding in and it is fine, but not as nice as the plastic boat's. 2. the fiberglass model I purchased has a built-in storage space for a spare padel molded into the top of the deck near the back of the boat. Sounds good, but the spare paddle sucks; it takes up room on the back of the boat and means that the rear hatch opening is smaller than usual. The hatch volume is the same, but it's harder to stuff things into this smaller opening. Other fiberglass capellas don't have this option. They have a regular rear hatch and an additional third day hatch behind the cockpit. I really wish I'd held out and found one like this instead of the one I ended up buying.

Finally, after spending more and more time in boats, I might someday want to get a slightly narrower boat. The capella performs quite well in all conditions, but I'm eyeing a p&h sirius now.

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03-25-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     A great boat for expedition and playing. very fast and excellent secondary stability. handles heavy seas with ease. good boat for beginner and the expert. hatches are 100% watertight and good to handle. rudder system is very good and pedals give good support for the roll. and the price is nice. best plastic boat available. next boat i will buy will be a glasfibre capella
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09-10-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After trying a large number of plastic kayaks, and after reading the paddling.net reviews, I decided to try a Capella. The closest dealer was over 4 hours away, but I ended up going to Sea Kayak Georgia, a ten hour trip. I ended up buying the Capella after a brief demo one year ago. The Capella is clearly superior out of the box on construction grounds alone. The triple layer polyethylene makes for a boat as rigid as a fiberglass boat, and yet does not weigh any more than my smaller plastic rec kayak. Unlike every other poly boat I have tried, it does not oilcan. The triple layering, together with the welded plastic bulkheads, makes for a boat that is as durable as a tank, yet the Capella handles like a sportscar. I did not fully appreciate this until I got caught in wind-driven chop in the Chesapeake Bay recently, and was able, despite my relative inexperience, to ride it out smoothly and keep the Capella on track (and upright). As sea kayaks go, the initial stability is good, and the secondary stability excellent.

Also, at 6'4" and 230 pounds, the number of kayaks that can accommodate me comfortably is rather small. With minimal outfitting, the Capella fits like a good hiking boot. Excellent boat!

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05-31-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've been looking to upgrade to a higher performing sea kayak for about 9 months. I went on the paddling net talk forum and discovered a lot of very knowledgeable people paddled Capella's. I paddled about 20 different boats at a few Demo's and I found out that I liked the RM Capella the best. I bought the kayak at the R.I. Sakonnet boat House. Very nice people and very knowledgeable and friendly. Extra bonus there's no sales tax in R.I. . They threw in a waterproof daybag that snaps on the back deck. The color is a funky red. This boat is made very well, very stiff. Polylink three, the only thing I found wrong with it was that the underside of the chromming had a sharpe edge, I had to take file to it, and that took care of that. I think the back band is a little sparse. I might change that but the seat it self is very comfortable. The hatches are a little funky looking (Squareish) but they work out very well. The Capella tracks fairly straight and is a pleasure to paddle. I find it's primary stability pretty good but it's secondary stability is great. You can lean this puppy over and be very confident. The capella does weathercocks into the wind a bit, but the skeg takes care of that when you need it. I kayak fits me well at 5-10-180lbs. I wish I had bought this for my first boat. I gave it a nine because only God's perfect.
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05-03-2002
Submitted by: Alex McGruerSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     1999 I bought my Capella. Best handling boat I own. It even edges out my NDK for turning and scooting into caves and around rock gardens. The plastic is great. There is no shortage of it. It is a little heavy. Shortfalls are with the rocker she is not as fast as some other boats, nor does she tend to track as straight. Very minor control strokes can fix this with no bother. There is some minor oil canning. Nothing like me Sealution2 or Chinook. The only plastic boat I have seen that is less prone to Oil canning is the Old Town Millennium. The New P & H boats have a multi layer cross link type hull that may solve this. A beginner might find this boat tippy: Tough . That is how a boat that handles like this is. The skeg wire control leaked and needed fixed. The boat has some oil canning (very minor). This is a fine boat and my favourite plastic boat. BAR NONE! I an 5 ' 8" 182 Lbs. and I love the cockpit and handling on the Capella.
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04-09-2002
Submitted by: Jamer & trusty sled dog ChimoSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My original review of the Capella was sent after only a few outings with the boat. After 3 years my assessment of this design has been upgraded to a 10. I've had an opportunity to test paddle a large number of boats from just about every manufacturer at paddling events and the Capella stands above them all. A well deserved "dip of the blade" to the folks at P&H, this design is an absolute winner.
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03-26-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just bought the Capella RM. I've owned a few other touring boats before this and consider myself an aggressive intermediate sea kayaker. I like big water and covering distance and the two perception boats I owned before this did not handle either of these too well. The Capella is very fast and very nimble in bigger water. It tracks very well for something as short as it is, 16'6". Like the feel of the cockpit and the backrest vs a seatback. The seat itself is seemingly identical (in shape) to the comfortable seats P&H puts in their other composite boats. I found it very comfortable. The boat rolls easily and the low aft deck facilitates a layback and sweep style I'm learning for use with the inuit paddle. The square hatches are a little goofy as are the color choices, but they seem to be there for functionality over fashion which does have its advantages. The welded bulkheads, the narrow beam, and fast hull, make this boat a true sea kayak, and more than just a touring boat in my opinion.

Short story is I've paddled a lot of polyethelene touring boats and this is the first one I'd actually recommend to someone who has some paddling experience under their belt, but not quite as much bread in their wallet.

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12-26-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 6 of 10

     6 mo. ago I purchased a poly Capella after extensive gathering of info. and paddle trials of the boats being considered. The reviews collected on the Capella were all positive but after 6mo. of paddling I feel compelled to offer up my experiences that resulted in a full refund from P&H. The original poly boat and the 3-Layer Process boat(current) have some variances that render the NEW boat less exact. Contact me if you wish 'particulars'.
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10-26-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Capella RM. New to sea kayaking and I love this boat. I have added a little padding and it fits me so nice. I'm 5'9" and 160 lbs. It fits great but padding just made it perfect. It is fast, tracks nice, and I love leaning it. Turns very well. I think a good one to learn in.
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10-12-2001
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After carefully reading reviews and paddling a variety of boats, including the Cape Horn, Perception Carolina, Dagger Magellan, Necky Looksha IV, I settled on the Capella RM as my first single. At a beam of 22" and an emphasis on secondary over initial stability, it was a boat to grow into. Having done so over the past year, I am more than ever convinced that the Capella likely is the best plastic boat on the market. You wear the boat, bracing/edging/J lean turns are easy, even in 10-15 mph winds the boat is mananagable without the skeg down so it is great for working on technique, and (am learning as I write) it should be easy to roll. The seat is incredibly comfortable and the workmanship first class. Importantly, the Capella is at home in open ocean, lakes and narrow blackwater rivers. Plenty of room for 2-3 day trips and the hatches and bulkheads are watertight. The Capella came highly recommended--all the staff at the shop I most often frequent in NC paddle it in preference to other boats, at least those that haven't been able to afford a P&H Quest.
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10-11-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I was shopping for a mid size touring kayak, and after trying out most of the major manufacturers mid size models I settle on the P&H polyethelene Capella. At 16 1/2 feet long, it is long enough to cruise efficiently, and not so long as to prevent the exploration of smaller waters. The workmanship is superb, and the bulkheads are of welded polyethelene instead of a foam plug. Hatches are truly watertight, and soft rubber knee padding already in place. The Capella weathercocks a little with a good breeze, but dropping the retractable skeg puts the kayak on traintracks without the need of an external rudder system that might take away it's traditional looks.(Aesthetics rank high in my list).Overall, as an employee of a reputed canoe and kayak store in North Carolina it is my professional opinion that the Capella is the best plastic kayak on the market.
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09-04-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     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.

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07-16-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased a plastic capella as my second Kayak. I found the the quality is much better than the other plastic boats in its class. It has platic bulk heads instead of foam rubber and the hatches are the best I have seen. They are square wich helps in loading and unloading and the hatch covers are thick rubber and as far as I can tell after a few dumps in the ocean are water tight. The internal skeg is also a great touch. The performance of this boat is outstanding. It is very fast with dead on tracking. It actually seemed to perform better in rough conditions. I have it in 4-5 foot swells with out a problem. I think you will find the boat to be one of the best values out there. Since you don't have to buy a rudder with the skeg, you can get out the door for about the same price as other boats of lesser quality. A great boat!
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06-29-2001
Submitted by: Mike McGrawSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have a glass Capella in my fleet of whitewater and sea kayaks. Originally, I bought it as a loaner for a friend who sometimes likes to kayak with me, but she found it somewhat tipsier than my other sea kayak, so I tried it. Well, am I ever glad that I did. It tracks beautifully and has a roomy, comfortable cockpit. The seat, is almost heaven. Over the past twenty-five years, I've spent a lot of time sitting on uncomfortable kayak seats, but the glass Capella has THE most comfortable seat that I've ever had in a kayak. If you are going to paddle for hours, then a comfortable seat is important. I also like the 'glove compartment' directly behind the seat. Instead of being centred, and difficult to get into whilst paddling, it is off to one side. This makes it easy to twist around on that side to get into this small compartment to get a camera or water bottle or a snack. The Capella has become my primary sea kayak, and my other one, as beautiful as it is, has become my loaner.
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06-07-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've been out in my new f/g Capella now about a dozen times, on a quiet inland lake near my house. One of my favorite times to paddle is in bad weather with wind. Living in Michigan, it seems that most days now are overcast and windy. So, having a hobby that I can do on "bad" days is a really good thing. The wind adds a dimension to the kayak experience that is absent on a sunny, calm day. The Capella is totally controllable in the winds that I have been in (less than 20 mph) by setting the skeg to various depths. The skeg control is very nicely done on the Capella. It moves smoothly and has a quality feel. I can adjust the skeg with minimal impact on my paddle cadence. The Capella strongly wants to point into the wind with the skeg up. Without the skeg I don't seem to be able to turn it away from the wind (but I am a newbie). Small adjustments on the skeg allow me to easily change and hold my course in the wind. The Capella tracks really well with or without the skeg (but weathercocks w/o).

I'm guessing here, but I think that the strong tendency for this boat to point into the wind adds a lot of safety and predictability. I no longer see weathercocking as a bad thing. I should add that my daughter was out in my boat in light winds and did not feel that the boat weathercocked at all. So, the paddler's weight may have some effect on the boats performance, I weigh 225 lbs, she weighs 125 lbs. Regardless, the skeg is really nice. I usually will only have to touch the skeg control 3-5 times in a two hour paddle, so it's not intrusive.

I'm just starting to seriously experiment with putting the kayak up on it's edge. Way before you feel you are going to tip over, the cockpit is in the water. So, buy a neoprene spary skirt at the same time you buy the kayak.

I am impressed with the quality of this boat, the fit and finish are excellent. If there are any sharp points or places to get scraped up, I have not found them yet. P&H has really put some time into the craftsmanship of this kayak. The seat and backrest are comfortable. At first I thought that the cockpit was smaller in the 2001 model vs. the 2000 model, but P&H assured me that it was not.

My second choice kayak was over one thousand dollars less, but I am really glad I choose the Capella. It is worth the extra money.

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05-15-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased a 2001 model fiberglass Capella. I'm a newbie, so I'll describe only the details I feel confident about. First, I'm 6'2, 230 lbs, and wear size 12 shoes. I don't have much room to spare in the cockpit, but I do fit. However, If my legs were any longer or quads any bigger I would not be comfortable. I look forward to learning to roll this kayak and in putting it on edge as I think it will act like an extension of my legs and hips. The finish and overall beauty of the P&H boats is much better than the other kayaks I tried at the kayak demo day. I'm a gearhead so the overall design, fit, and finish is important to me. An example of the nice detail work can be realized in the operation of the skeg. The control assembly for the skeg is really well done.

The Capella really stands out. Since I'm so new to kayaking it was hard for me to justify spending the big bucks for a f/g Capella. But, the quality that went into the boat won me over.

The seat and backrest seem comfortable, although I've only done a few two hour sessions to date. It does appear that I have a little less room in the 2001 model than the 2000 model I test paddled. On the 2000, my foot pegs still had one notch remaining forward. On the 2001, I am all the way forward on the pegs. I've emailed P&H to ask them about this. I think a smaller paddler would do fine in this kayak, you may need to pad out a few spots if you are really small. But, I have a feeling that this kayak could accomodate many different size paddlers.

I'll update this post once I am more skilled in kayaking and can give a review on handling. For the present, just know that I can not control this boat w/o the skeg down. But, thats half the fun for me. I'm looking forward to learning how to handle this boat with the skeg up.

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04-30-2001
Submitted by: BrianSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've got a Kevlar Capella, it's my first boat, so I cannot really compare it to anything other than the Sirius my wife picked up. I have to say, however that the boat fits me wonderfully, and is a pleasure to paddle as well as having a roomy cockpit (which helps since I'm 6'2" with large, size 13 feet) and ample storage.
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04-11-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you are in the market for a rotomolded plastic sea kayak, Buy the Capella! As others have mentioned, I paddled and purchased other plastic kayaks from Perception, Wilderness, Walden, Necky, etc. None of the other manufactures or models compare to the performance and especially the quality of the P&H Capella. The construction is top notch. The hatches are dry, no water. The hatches are square not round, which makes loading of gear much easier. The bulkheads are plastic not foam, and they are welded in place. Any through bolts or screws(very few) are covered over in the mold with plastic. There are no sharp edges to catch your gear or your knuckles!

There are no signs of any "oil can" ripples in the hull, even after sitting on racks. The seat is very comfortable and the thigh braces give a nice positive "locked in" connection to the boat. I have been out for 4 - 5 hours of steady paddling with no aches or pains. The Capella has better than average speed and turns very well with the slightest lean. If you are a beginner, don't let the initial wobbles bother you. This kayak has good stability and excellent secondary stability. No fear of turning over. This kayak is very quiet through the calm water, it is able to navigate through narrow rivers and inlets, and it is a blast when you get out in the waves and white caps! The obvious oversight, the rear bungee cord can be corrected in a matter of minutes. This one is a definite 10!

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02-13-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have the 3 layer plastic Capella and love it. The quality of the workmanship and performance of the hull are outstanding. I have yet to see a better built plastic touring kayak. I find it a little tippy on initial stability but great on secondary stability. It is quite fast and very manuverable and I prefer the retractable skeg to a rudder. But it is rather narrow and I find my size 9 sandals just fit . Also I found the standard back band to be useless but an after market band solved that. All in all a great boat, if you fit, especially for the money.
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02-07-2001
Submitted by: NFSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my glass Capella. I have few tracking problems with my boat (especially with the skeg deployed). I agree with previous posters about how well the boat turns, when leaning into a turn it feels as if you are using a rudder. The primary stability is ok, but the secondary stability is excellent and predictable (which has saved me from swimming in surf at least once). The boat surfs and rolls very well. The cockpit is relatively roomy and the seat is comfortable. The boat will carry enough equipment for long weekends. My only complaints involves the arrange of bungee cords on the rear deck which are useless for paddle float assisted self-rescues. Overall I am delight with my boat. It is a wonderful combination of good speed and excellent maneuverability.
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02-06-2001
Submitted by: HenrySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased a plastic Capella. It is not the current triple-layered plastic but a new boat of the previous production made of superlinear polyethylene. I would concur with all of the previous reviews posted here. It is a great plastic boat. I've been paddling for about a year. I've taken several lessons and have rented Looksa Sports, IVs, Aquaterra Sealions and Perception Eclipses/Shadows. I think that this boat is at the top of the class. Very comfortable cockpit. Very good initial stability, excellent secondary stability. Handles boat wakes very well. Some weathercocking, but substantially less than the Looksha Sport. Constructed very well. The only negative that I've seen is the layout of the bungee cords behind the cockpit. As others have said, modifications have to be made to allow for securing the paddle in a paddle float self rescue. Otherwise, this is a great boat, particularly when comparing prices with the Lookshas and Perceptions, which are also good boats. It's 5-10 pounds lighter than the other boats. Check it out if you can.
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10-26-2000
Submitted by: MaddogSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Capella, capella, capella....I just recently had the pleasure of experimenting via a demo-day with our local dealer Stark Moon. P&H also had their designer "Peter" in country for questions and discussions about their boats. I came back off the river with a mighty big grin for an ol'salt and they knew they had me. I got real lucky and was directed to a capella that a guy just traded in for another boat...What can I say, great company, good people who know their product and a fantastic STIFF poly boat. My only beef is the backband - I'm early 50's and need some lumbar support - P&H must offer some upgrades in the seat support area - other than that, this baby is a 10.
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10-02-2000
Submitted by: BobSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Both the Capella RM and P&H are a wonderful pair. After much research, paddling boats and returning two new American-made plastic boats due to integral rudder malfunctioning in one and significant hatch leakage in another, I have found the perfect boat for me. The Capella is as beautiful to look at from afar as it is up close. The workmanship is impeccable. The boat has welded poly bulkheads, a below the waterline smooth surface that matches a glass boat, and an incredibly rigid hull that cannot be buckled when performing rescues(as I have found on prior plastic boats). The new 'triple laminate' design provides a very stiff and responsive hull. There is a tad less initial stability than some of the American boats that are marketed in the same class. However, one adjusts quickly and benefits from the increase in responsiveness, manueverability and speed and comfort. It has good primary stability and great secondary stability.I think it tracks wonderully, especially with the skeg engaged. One of the reasons I was attracted to the boat initially was the availaility of a skeg in a plastic boat. The hatches are absolutely watertight. (Interestingly, I was told by a major U.S. company representative that one could not expect to have totally dry hatches.) This boat is more responsive, rigid, faster, dryer(hatches), attractive(a tad subjective I know), lighter(5-10 lbs), and has far superior workmanship than any plastic boat I have yet looked at. Interestingly, it costs about the same as comparable class boats, and a few hundred dollars less than comparable English boats. To top it all....the only dislike I had was my own reaction to the red rigging on the yellow boat I purchased. I sent an email to P&H asking them to send/bill me for some of their black rigging rope/bungi. Within five days, a package arrived from the U.K. with a note indicating that the rigging I had requested was mine with no charge whatsoever. What can I say....other than that the Capella RM and P&H are both a ten as far as I am concerned! BTW, regarding the fit. I am 5"10" and weigh 225lbs. The boat is remarkably comfortable and somewhat roomy. A 6'6" guy got into my boat when I was ready to buy it...his legs fit in with no problem whatsoever. Also, with some additional cockpit padding, I have met/talked to a number of small woman and average size men(5'10" 140lbs) who also fit this boat with great comfort. If you are looking for a wonderful and affordable plastic boat....do yourself a favor and at least demo the Capella. You will get a great boat... and a company to back it up!
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07-30-2000
Submitted by: StevenJSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I greatly enjoyed paddling a rented plastic capella, which was the best plastic boat I've ever paddled. It was smooth, with good glide and good speed. Very responsive, and the skeg worked well to add significant tracking, but adds some drag also (of course). I didn't feel any need for a rudder. The hatch covers were terrific and the bulkheads looked *way* better than other plastic boats. The boat also felt less heavy than boats such as Looksha IV and Sealoution II, but I didn't weigh it. After a few hours, the seat really matters. The seat had a non-standard Formula backband, it was the most comfortable seat in any plastic kayak I've paddled, by far (WS, Necky, Dagger, Perception, Prijon).

We went on Pamlico River and into Pamlico Sound (NC) on a day when the wind kicked up some and it rained a bit. I enjoyed the ride, which is a tribute to the way the boat handle the chop. Another day, we fooled around on a windy lake and again on a calm lake. On the first tip, there was a small problem with water coming in to the rear compartment from underneath where the skeg pivot met the plastic skeg mount. The boat had been dropped off a car at an earlier point in its life, and this may have caused that leak. I took the liberty of repairing this in the field with some marine caulk, which did the trick completely. Hatches were totally dry after that. There is a little tendency to yaw, especially if you place your paddle away from the boat. Some people may want a boat with more tracking, but I think you would then give up some of the wonderful handling and feel.

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03-05-2000
Submitted by: Jamer & trusty dog ChimoSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     As a relative newcomer to sea kayaking my first reaction to the glassfiber Capella was that I was in "over my head".... that didn't last long. This is a great boat! It's fast and fun, definetly a boat that will challenge and reward those who want to hone their skills. The 9 rating is based on my lack of experience with a lot of other boats but to me it will always be a 10. Hats of to the folks at P&H, this one is a keeper!
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02-28-2000
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What can I say? Want great performance at an affordable price? Buy the Capella.

Drop the skeg and tracking is true. Very portable and tough. Linear plastic - can be repaired and recycled. Turns easily even with skeg down (though better up). Good stability even for a begginer.

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10-08-1999
Submitted by: Mike MSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've owned the Cappella (poly) for about 3 years now and I love it. This boat is as close as you can get to paddling glass without having to pay for glass. I do find it a little slower than the glass boats but that is more than over shadowed by it's performance. This boat really comes alive in rough water. The secondary stability is great and allows for serious leaning to carve a turn. Speaking turning... you'll think the boat is half it's length when you see how tight a turn it will do. I do a fair amount of camping with it and have no problem fitting all the gear. The hatches are very reliable (dry). The skeg is a necessity for this boat which does not track well without it but that is the trade off for being extremely manuverable. I am in the process of upgrading now however I will never sell the Cappella.
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09-05-1999
Submitted by: MJSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     The Capella is the best plastic boat I've ever paddled. As an experienced paddler, I've never been bored in a capella; but it's a boat I've put agile beginners in and they've loved it too.
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06-30-1999
Submitted by: EllisSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I was moving up from another 17' British kayak, looking for maximum speed in an under 18' boat for racing. The Capella wasn't quite it, but if I were choosing one boat, this would be a strong contender. The handling was phenomenal - I could cut a 15' diameter circle with an effortless lean, but track true with the easily dropped skeg. The glass model I tested was quite a nice looking boat also. Haven't seen a 10, yet.
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06-30-1999
Submitted by: JWMSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have a Poly Capella which is actually 16'5" long and 22" wide. This is a fast boat for its length with excellent secondary stability and performs very well in waves and rough condiditons. It comes standard with a retractable skeg which helps tracking in the wind and with the skeg up you can carve a pretty tight turn. It's plastic is thin and smooth so although it's light compared to other plasic boats you can scratch it up pretty easily. On the other hand, it has one of the stiffest hull designs I've seen a poly kayak. You won't find much flex and people have commented on how much this boat feels like fiberglass. My front and back compartments are water tight with no troubles with leakage. Space is a little limited, but it carries what I need and then some. Overall, this is a great boat with great performance.
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06-12-1999
Submitted by: STWSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I tried a LOT of boats out before I settled on the Capella (plastic). It is very much an "english-style" boat. It has a skeg, not a rudder. Mine is plastic, but it is available in fiberglass as well (but not on my budget). The cockpit felt like it was custom-designed for me (5-10, 175 lbs). The back of the cockpit is quite low which is great for rolling etc., but maybe not so great for looong trips. I have no trouble keeping up with most people in fiberglass boats. The Capella feels quite stiff for a plastic boat. It is a bit tippy at first, but the more time I spent in it, the more I liked it. Really good secondary stability. It is 16.5 feet long but only 22" wide. Pretty sleek! It tracks pretty well even with the skeg deployed. With the skeg down, it's like being on train tracks. However, even with the skeg down, it'll turn well if you lean it. It came with great thigh braces! One quibble: the bungies behind the cockpit were not well designed for doing paddle-float re-entries. But, with just a little bit of ingenuity, I have re-threaded the system and I'm all set. I heard it a lot from various people while doing my search: "the capella is the bestof the plastic mold boat designs." I guess I agree.
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06-01-1999
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love the Capella, it is fast, stable and turns like a much shorter boat. I wanted a boat with some speed and looked at the Necky Looksha, and the P&H Sirus. The Necky just didn't feel right and a factory rep from P&H said the Capella is both faster and more maneuvrable than the Sirus. That is hard to believe as the Capella is both wider and shorter, but I happy at my decision. So far, it is everything I could ask for.
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