05-01-2013Submitted by: bbike44
Reviews for Cape Horn 150 Kayak by Wilderness Systems
Based On: 41 Reviews
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought my Cape Horn 150 as a used rental from EMS 4 yrs ago. Love it. I have paddled mostly in tandems with my wife. Compared to the tandems or some rec. kayaks I have paddled, this handles like a dream in every way.
08-08-2012Submitted by: bill desmond
- Rating: 10 of 10 Just finished a 34 day, 740-mile (1200 km) trip around lake Huron (June July 2012) in my Cape Horn 15 bought many years ago. The boat has never let me down - beach camped, dragged over rocks, shelving limestone, boulders, caught out in thunderstorms (just not too bright) etc. - and I made my best run ever- over 80K in a day from 6:30 AM to my home beach, after 34 days, in 13 hours paddling that day, in big rolling swells, and 25K northwest winds.
After paddling this boat for 10 years, i can't imagine not having her- though its finally time for a new skirt and some new neoprene hatch covers.
I'm a 65 year old retired Emergency Responder, and the Cape Horn 15 is stable, with lots of room for extended trips, and though heavy, I can still put it up on the car- if you can pick up one of these -by all means do so esp. if this is your first touring kayak. get the rudder. Last year I did the whole of georgian bay with her, about 600K, and the year before that, circumnavigated Manitoulin Island, the worlds largest freshwater island- as well as the North Shore, and the year before that did a 700 K trip to near the end of Lake Erie from my home on Lake Huron. This kayak can do the long trips, - I've never used the little day hatch and just sealed it up. Had a minor problem with a leak from the cockpit into the back hatch- easily fixed. Never had to replace any lines or rigging, though i keep it in the garage when not in use, and not out in the sun.
10-14-2010Submitted by: wa1dh
Well done WS.
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought my Cape Horn used, an early 2000s model from what I understand. I have paddled it mostly on protected ocean waters and some open bays with 3' swells and some breaking surf.
For a beginner paddler, it has felt very stable even in surf. It does weathercock somewhat in moderate winds, but this is easily corrected with the rudder. The seat is not the most comfortable, but I have paddled for up to four hours without a problem.
The only negative things I can really say about it involve the day hatch and its weight. The day hatch cover can be tight and hard to remove at times. Although I have read specs with weights in the 50s, the plastic Cape Horn weights in slightly over 60 lbs as measured by myself on a scale. It can be difficult to lift and load on a car solo, and would be even more difficult to get on a van or SUV. Some sort of rolling rack system would be ideal for a tall vehicle. Also, if moving it more than a few feet from the car to the water, it may be wise to either build or buy some sort of kayak cart. I built one out of PVC and rubber wheels which fits in the stern hatch while underway.
06-16-2009Submitted by: Clarke
- Rating: 10 of 10 Man, I love the Cape Horn 150! I'm almost 6' about 200 lbs. Very comfortable and easy to get moving. I've had it for 2 years- bought second hand- and paddle 3-4 times a month. I've fished from it a few times, but mostly use it for photography of the shore and wildlife in the Idaho lakes. I've never had a leak of any kind and I use the rudder just about every trip. My wife is 5'6" 135 lbs, and she enjoys the CH as much as I do. It tracks great into the wind and is stable enough that we've never gone over. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to cruise fast but not worry too much about tipping.
05-14-2007Submitted by: David
- Rating: 8 of 10 Cape Horn 150 love this boat very much even though the stern hatches leak a little that could be an easy fix, my only major complaint is the phase 111 seat, very uncomfortable. Had to reposition my seat back, mounting it one hole back the backrest is too narrow,being 6'1" I miss my Perception, Acadia,the cheaper seat was very comfortable, I rate the phase 111 seat a one.
08-17-2005Submitted by: fffri
- Rating: 9 of 10 My wife and I both bought rotomolded Cape Horns last year: hers a second-hand 140 and mine a new 150. Both boats have rudders and the Wilderness 3-Way Seat. I am 5'10" and around 185 lbs. My wife is 5'2' and less than 120 lbs.
These are our first kayaks, but before buying them, we had taken a basic paddling course and tried a few designs as rentals. So far, we both like the design and performance of our Cape Horns. One shortcoming, as already mentioned, is the boats could use more deck bungees.
Another shortcoming, but this affects me more than wife, is that the boat tends to weathercock in a following sea and wind. Maybe I need to improve my paddling skills more?
The kayaks track well into the wind and in most conditions we've been in. My wife never uses her rudder, and I only use mine when I'm lazy and don't feel like dealing with wind and/or tides and currents. The boats are relatively fast, and I've had no problem keeping up with other boats on a short haul.
As for the hatches leaking, I've only experienced this when I neglected to batten them down properly. We've practiced wet exits, self- and assisted rescues, had waves break over the boats, and have found barely a drop of water in the storage compartments. Even when water has leaked in, it is usually less than a cupful and almost always in the stern storage compartment. I suspect, as other do, that it's probably linked to leakage through the rudder cables than through the hatch cover.
Our paddling has been primarily in some coves, salt marshes, and along parts of Narragansett Bay and the Sakonnet River, as well as the state's largest salt pond, so we haven't exposed ourselves yet to any really challenging conditions, save boat and ship wakes. The worst we've dealt with so far has been paddling into 1-2' chop against an outgoing tide and a 20-25 knot headwind, which we handled well.
The boats are stable--so stable that my wife actually had difficulty capsizing hers the first time she tried a wet exit in it! The only time I've capsized unexpectedly was when we paddled in chop close to shore without our sprayskirts. A large wave broke over the stern, flooded the cockpit, and flipped me faster than you can say "flip." Had I been wearing a sprayskirt, I wouldn't have gone over.
Since we bought the boats, we've taken another kayak course to improve our paddling and other skills. The more we use these boats and improve our skills the more confident we are with their seaworthiness.
I haven't learned to roll successfully yet, but I know a more experienced CH owner who says the CH rolls and recovers well. I can't wait to learn!
In short, I think the Cape Horn is a great sea kayak and buy for the money.
06-20-2005Submitted by: BLITZKRIEG
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased my cape horn 15 (plastic) early this spring from my local kayak shop in Kalispell....Rocky Mtn. Outfitter. Great people, buy the way. Because of my size, (260lbs) I needed a high volume boat. The Cape Horn fits me perfect! I love the seat, the way it tracks, stability, storage, etc. Fit and finish is also very good. Itís a little wider (24") than the boats that the smaller guy's fit into. So, youíre going to notice that you may be a little slower than some. But, who cares. You still get there and you don't feel cramped or uncomfortable in doing so. I really feel that wilderness systems have put together a great boat that fits a certain niche. If you are a big guy, enjoy the outdoors and love to kayak, check this boat out.
10-04-2004Submitted by: Peter
- Rating: 8 of 10 My first sea kayak was a wonderful Tempest 170 which I had to trade down last winter for financial reasons. After one full season of paddling, I find my used Cape Horn 15, of which I am at least the third owner, to be great in all conditions experienced so far (up to 30 knots of wind w/.75m seas), very stable, dry, good storage, and reasonably fast and comfortable. I've rolled it once during a practice session, and found it easier than expected. It tracks so well I took the rudder off. On the down side, I find the seat back a little too high, it doesn't have enough deck bungies, and the day hatch doesn't have its own bulkhead. While the Tempest would get a 9/10, I'd rate the CH15 at 8/10.
09-30-2004Submitted by: Bill Desmond
- Rating: 8 of 10 I purchased my Cape Horn 15 three years ago, and wish it had been sooner. We live on the shore of Lake Huron, and do much of our kayaking on nearby Georgian Bay- rocks, cliffs, and very cold deep water, with islands galore. The Cape Horn has never let me down. I've camped for ten days with it- requires some skill packing and good equipment, and a bow bag, but definitely possible. The boat handles very well in large waves and high winds, always feels stable, and moves nicely through the water. The rudder works very well especially in high wind/large waves. I've had the bow under many times and the forward hatch is always dust dry. The stern hatch in rough weather will leak (a cup or so) but I think this may be through the rudder cables. I made a sail for mine that is fun to use and the boat moves very well with a stiff breeze. I'm planning a two week trip with it next summer, open lake paddling and am confident the Cape Horn will be the least of my worries. It's poly and has the usual drawbacks with that, but tough for bouncing off the rocks. I'm 57, and small, but in good condition- the Cape Horn has been all I hoped for in a plastic kayak.
08-20-2004Submitted by: Dr_Disco
- Rating: 6 of 10 I am 5'10", 185. I paddled this boat for 3 days on a guided tour in a fjord in Alaska. As a boat for rental operations it might be just fine. But I found it to be a mediocre to poor ride. Tracking was bad. It wanted to turn left now matter what. I would get it moving straight and then edge it toward the left and it would turn left, not right. If I edged it toward the right it turned sharply left. There was nothing I could see in the hull to indicate a defect but that is possible. Needless to say I had to use the rudder a great deal of the time. The boat was very sensitive to even mild wind and difficult to control in those circumstances without the rudder. I didn't try to roll it or do extreme leans (water temp 34 degrees!). The cockpit was roomy, it you need that. It was too big for me so I would have to add a lot of foam if it were my personal boat. I had trouble keeping up with the guide in an Elaho and my wife in an Eskia. My wife is not a fast paddler and normally I have to wait for her. This means the Cape Horn is slow. Initial stability was high. I didn't really test secondary stability (see above). I don't really recommend this boat to anyone except a tour operation where most people are beginners and will be using the rudder to steer, and you need a cockpit that will accomodate lots of sizes, including larger folk, and initial stability is a concern.
11-24-2003Submitted by: Ron MacLeod
- Rating: 9 of 10 My first boat and I must say I am pleased with it. I tried out a Cape Lookout for a week before exchanging it for the Cape Horn. Not much different in design, but the Horn tracks better.
I paddle mostly in tidal rivers and bays and near shore ocean waters. This is great boat that can handle almost anything you throw at it, including 5-6' ocean waves. As noted it tracks quite well, but you do need to engage the rudder on windy days or when the ocean has more than a 2' foot roll.
I kayak primarily with a friend who has a 17' hand built cedar boat with a 23" beam. When leisurily cruising, I have no problem keeping up; however, we were paddling pretty hard one day in rough open water while crossing the bay (2-3 miles) and you could see the difference the faster boat made. He simply pulled away from me. He was on shore at least 5-10 minutes before me. Having said this, my boat can handle heavy surf much better.
Based on alround performance, you will be hard pressed to find a better boat in this price range.
09-08-2003Submitted by: watkinsd
- Rating: 10 of 10 Moved from a Hurricane AquaSport Santee XL (very nice kayak) to a Cape Horn 150 with a rudder. This is a GREAT yak. It tracks very well even without use of the rudder. Storage is more than adequate and the leakage problems (reported by others) with the storage covers have yet to be evident. The stability of the 150 is excellent -- in waves in the 2' range. At 5'10" and 155 lbs. My wife has a Santee XL that will likely be sold and replaced with a second Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 150.
08-11-2003Submitted by: DShattuck
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've owned my Cape Horn for 2 yrs now and it still continues to surprise me. It handles well in choppy waters and boat wakes. It's flat bottom keeps it real stable except in rolling ocean swells, I've had a few scares. In windy conditions it tends to weathercock slightly but not as much as other yaks I've tried. I paddle the Cape Horn in small ponds, rivers, as well as huge lakes in New England and it feels like the right vessel to handle most situations. With larger waves water does come into the cockpit due to it's low back deck. I like to work the shallow waters sometimes and will encounter submerged logs and boulders. But because it's slightly flat, you can just back off without any fear of tipping. It's very graceful once underway and turns well with a slight lean and sweep of the paddle. It's fairly quick for it's width and glides a good distance with minimal effort. That's important to me when I need to cover lots of water in a day. Overall, it's a good solid touring kayak that's easy to handle and feel safe in. Unless you need a specialized kayak for ocean surf or rapids, this yak outshines the majority in it's class. Period!
07-23-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I owned a 15' roto Cape Horn for 2 years and have just traded it for a Tempest 17'. I really liked the Horn, but wanted something with a larger cockpit - feet were a little cramped. I am not a very experienced paddler but I like to do my own thing. Have done two trips on Georgian Bay an disagree with the view that you cannot trip with this boat.
I am not sure if links to web sites are allowed in this forum, but I have posted my two trips (with pictures of 2 x 15' Cape Horns) and I think you will see that my wife and I took a lot of gear and could have easily have stayed out for a week, or longer. We did not carry any gear for each other - we each carried our own stuff. The thing with these kayaks is that you have to buy specialized gear, small stuff. If this site will publish the link, you can read about my experiences with the 15' Horn at http://www3.sympatico.ca/ublizi/
You'll need high speed cable or similar because the pics are all large, ie I did not thumnail them. Hope this helps anyone who is thinking of tripping.
07-07-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is my third season with my poly Cape Horn w/surf rudder. Overall I'm still as pleased with it as I was the first day.I've tried a few other kayaks (Cape Horn 17 & Tempest170) but they did not blow me away to the point to warrant a change from my current kayak. In fact they made me appreciate it more! Tracking and stability are really first rate. I keep going out in progressively more difficult conditions only to realize that this boat can take it all in stride. Bear in mind that I'm talking about 2.0 meter waves and 60 kph winds on either Lake Ontario or Georgian Bay.
Speed ain't bad but that's were the 17 ft plus boats really shine! Storage is good for a day trip and maybe an overnighter but no way can you go out for any longer! I did some island hopping with a friend and I had to put most of the heavy stuff in his Cape Horn 17'. On the plus side the boat still handles quite well fully loaded!
My biggest peeve three years in a row is the leaky hatches! Why can't they make a Cape Horn with the rubber peel off hatches like on the Tempest? But all things considered, it's a shortfall I can live with.
This is a fantastic boat to start sea kayaking in and build up your skills and confidence. But after three years I really want to take it to the next level! It's just so hard to find a worthy successor!
05-29-2003Submitted by: Mark
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought the cape horn last year after test driving down in annapolis and liked it right away. It tracked straight and with a little practice with some lean turns is turned pretty good. It is more stable then it looks, I've done turns with the water coming over the skirt with out feeling unstable at all. I bought an older cape horn without the phase 3 seat but worked a deal and had the seat thrown in with it. it was a simple install and love it. The boat is great on the reservoir. I took the boat down cape hatteras and out in the sound an it rode great. I did find that in any type of waves or heavy current you needed the rudder with out killing yourself paddling. It was extremly stable in the waves. One day they were big enough to have the nose going under water but the boat was perfectly stable. Now the problems the hatches leak and i mean on flat water mildly paddling my rear hatch would have an inch or so of water after a couple of hours of paddling. So what I did is use some silicon spray I used redwings boot waterprofing. and I also had some rubber door seal laying around so I put that around both hatch covers. I havn't had a drop go in the hatches since. The other problem I had with the hatches is that the neoprene covers are next to impossible to put back on once removed. I avoid removing the front cover because it takes so long to put it back. The last problem I have is leg room. I weigh 210 and about 6 foot on longer paddles my legs get a little numb. its hard to move around but not impossible. All and all I love the boat and the little problems I had were easily fixed I would highly recomend this boot if you are on larger water creeks and faster moving rivers I with I still had the dagger blackwater but speed and swells the cape horn is the way to go.
07-18-2002Submitted by: RSO
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought 2 cape horns-one rotomolded and one kevlar. The kevlar one is last years model without the phase 3 seat. It had the fault of bolts from the outside which were unshielded and which cut my legs and feet quite nastily until I got them taped over, which fixed the problem. The current years model [my rotomolded boat is the current model] has the phase 3 seat, which I find wonderfully comfortable and supportive for anyone with back problems, and has corrected the unshielded bolt problem. It has sturdier rigging too, which I would count as a minor fault on the last year's model. Both kayaks are great to paddle, stable and seaworthy and track pretty well without rudders. Both suffer the leaking hatch problem, which I am going to take up with the dealer to see if there is a gasket or other solution available. Apart from the hatches leaking both boats do well in chop and I think they are great in spite of their shortcomings. The key is their first class hull design.
07-13-2002Submitted by: Kudzu
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have owned my plastic Cape Horn for over a year now and have paddled several other touring kayaks. I'm 5'9" and 170 lb. The only other boat that can compare to its tracking ability and stability is the Cape Horn 17. Like some other reviewers, I have found some water in the rear hatch after some hours in rough water.
06-03-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Iíve been paddling my Cape Horn for about two years now, and I love it. Itís well built, with plenty of storage, and a comfortable cockpit. The rudder works well, and tracking is superb. The Cape Horn is my first kayak. I love the way it handles and I love the color--granit blue. I chose it over a Perception Carolina. It cost several hundred dollars more, but it is more boat in every way, yet is not too much kayak for someone with limited experience.
The Cape Horn comes into its own when doing salt water tours at the beach and marshlands. YOu can carry food and things you need to make the tour more comfortable. Its a great boat!
03-19-2002Submitted by: David Kirk
- Rating: 10 of 10 My family have 3 Cape Horns (me, my mum, my dad) and my bro has an Alto. I think that this is a great kayak, the stability is the best you can get without being too wide to paddle in comfortably and there is loads of room (I am 6ft 5 and there is still more room). Although not the fastest of sea kayaks it is a worth while compromise for the better stability. Also it turns very well, i am able to turn it round with 2 and a bit sweep strokes and i have never been able to do that in any other sea kayak. I recently went to Holy Island in wales and it handled the overfalls there very well. There were 5 knot currants and very large eddys from round a headland that looked very daunting but seemed quite easy to pass thanks too the Cape Horns srability and maneuverability. I also passed through a 6ft passage that looked like a white water river with relative ease. There are a few problems but nothing that cant be sorted with a little bodging. The rear hatch leaked a bit but this is due to the neoprene hatch covers being stretched at the edges and so loosing thier water proofing, this can be fixed by applying a silicon water proofing agent. Also the foot rests are a bit small if you have big feet as they only support the ball of your foot and after alot of kayaking it can hurt. I fixed this by adding a heel support to the foot rest. Ooverall I love this boat, it can handle even the roughest of conditions well and has enough space for small expeditions. Its speed means that up to and over 40km are achieveable in a day. I recon it's one of the best plastic kayaks you can buy.
11-23-2001Submitted by: mike strassner
- Rating: 7 of 10 A fairly good boat. This boat is a fast multichine boat for short day trips. Advantages of this boat are that it was fairly cheap @ $900 brand new from a specialty store. It is light at 49 lbs and easy to store. It has fairly good inital stability and secondary stability also. It turns on a dime and is easy to roll. When used in the ocean it is a good boat in the surf. The hatches have plenty of room for day trips and the day hatch is nice for holding anything form binoculars to lunch. This boat has a fairly small cockpit and is not for people for over 180-190 lbs. Disadvantages are that this boat is too small for extended trips(not enough room in hatches). The hatches leak pretty bad. Especially in rough ocean tides(lakes aren't usually too bad). I have had litres in hatches before, soaking everything I have in the hatches. This boat is too small for extended trips and can really bounce you around sometimes. So my advice is htat if you are doing short day trips on a lake or stream or play boating this boat is very good. For any ocean kayaking or extended trips go with a bigger, longer boat. Investing in fiberglass boat if you have the money isn't a bad idea either.
11-01-2001Submitted by: Kudzu
- Rating: 9 of 10 I tried out a lot of different kayaks at the local demo. The Cape Horn and the P&H Capella were both a real pleasure to paddle. I chose the Cape Horn because the cockpit opening was big enough to allow me to draw up my knees and stretch the old tendons out in the middle of the lake. I love the Cape Horn and if it were just a little faster I'd give it a 10.
10-08-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I own several plastic Cape Horns -15. I also run a guide and rental business. The Cape Horn is the boat that I use for running all short (under 3 hour tours) the boat is very stable and comfortable. I have paddled it in everything from 50 mph winds to 6 foot surf. The boat handles very predictably and is somewhat easy to roll. It is a little sluggish and not quite as maneuverable as I would like. The boat tracks well - I do not have a rudder as I like the solid feel of the footbraces without a rudder. A few problems with the boat leaking. I discovered with all of my Cape Horns that there were two areas that were allowing the water to get in. One area was in the bow grab loop - the hole that was drilled to allow the grab loop to pass through actually penetrated the front storage area. The second area that leaked alot was the day hatch. The water gets in between the hatch and the deck. To fix this problem you must take out all of the screws in the hatch assembly, use marine caulking and then replace - this has fixed the problem with the day hatch. Other than the leaking problem the boat is excellent.
10-02-2001Submitted by: Nancy10
- Rating: 7 of 10 I purchased a Cape Horn Pro (Kevlar) 3 months ago. The multi-chine hull performs well and provides good control of the kayak. The front of the cockpit is higher than it needs to be and catches more wind than I would like. The hatches leak a significant amount even in small waves. The dealer feels the factory installed rudder is the main source of leaks. Overall I would give the design an 8 out of 10. The reason for a lower overall rating of 7 has to do with quality. For a kayak that costs over $3,000 I do not expect to find rivets missing (one side of the seat back was never rivited in place) and I do not expect parts to fall off with normal, even gentle use. The vinyl trim around the hatch covers is affected by hot sun which causes the glue to almost liquify. Wilderness Systems has a good design but needs to work on quality control.
09-06-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have recently purchased a Cape Horn 15, and just paddled it for my first weekend. Excellent tracking boat, sits up nice in the water,poor hatch design and covers, boat also lacks room for people with an 11 or more foot size. But for the money, the best looking and least expensive plastic sea kayak, that I could find in this size (15.5 ft) which included two hatches with bulkheads, and a small day hatch for drinks or a camera.
08-07-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 This spring I traded in my Keowee 2, for a WS Manteo. The Manteo had a few quirks that annoyed me over time. I then traded up to a Perception America. I was back at the dealer again after 2 days. Frustrated, the dealer told me to try the Cape Horn for a weekend. It was instant love! VERY stable, good comfort and speed. It tracks so well I rarely pull down the surf rudder. Another plus is it's great ability to slice through waves. Around Toronto, on Lake Ontario the water can get quite rough due to motorboat traffic and sea-walls that both accentuate the size of waves. You also get hit by waves in all directions. In the Cape Horn you never feel intimidated by waves! Although, I have yet to try it, because it has good knee braces I think doing an eskimo roll would not be a problem. I also have no problem putting the kayak on the roof rack by myself (even after a long paddle).
On the down side, I think the hatch covers are so-so. They really need a rubber gasket or something like it to prevent water getting to the neoprene covers. Also, the day hatch is quite hard to get at on the water. Last point, regarding the cup holder.....what were they thinking....most people don't kayak with a slurpee!!! put something that can handle a normal water bottle or coke can.
In the end, this is the best kayak I've ever owned (7 so far). I rate myself as an advanced paddler and find this kayak fun in all water conditions. Of course when I get my next tax refund, I might look for something in fiberglass or kevlar. I have a feeling my wife will not be so enthusiastic, so the Cape Horn and me will be good friends for some time to come.
07-31-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 7 of 10 Overall, I would like to say the cape horn is a great boat. It has very high stability and is quite roomy. However, I tend to think it is not as fast as I would want it to be. Also, the water tight compartments are not so water tight. As shallow as this seems, the only real complaint I have about it, is the lack of colors it comes in. I would have loved to have gotten it in the bermuda, but I was hesitant since I have definitely seen some pretty hidious ones come out of the mold. I too think Perception blends a better color. I also noticed that it was a little flimsy-develops dents from just a short time in the rack. Overall, a great boat for a new paddler looking for security and comfort.
07-18-2001Submitted by: Spauld
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is the 4th kayak I have owned and certainly the most advanced of the 4. As far as performance this boat is a blast to paddle. I have the Cape Horn 15 so it's not a lightning bolt, but it is still much quicker than anything else I have owned. Part of this is due to the fact that the other boats were much more 'recreational' in form. In comparing it directly with my Old Town Nantucket.... there really IS no comparison. The Nantucket is like paddling a 5-gallon bucket compared to the Cape Horn. On the other hand, if you are looking to carry gear, you will have to leave a few of those 'luxury items' at home as the Cape Horn's design is more in tune with speed than capacity. With it's multi chined hull, this boat will actually respond to a lean and turn on a dime. I have yet to really need the rudder. I am quite please with almost everything about the boat. The only reason I rate it at an 8 rather than a 10 has more to do with construction than anything else. The polyethylene could be thicker. I find the Cape Horn, like so many other boats on the market, to be quite flimsy. I left the boat on my kayak cart in the hot sun one day for only about an hour before finding it had formed a huge dent where it had been in contact with the cart..... most discouraging. In the Nantucket's defense, Old Town has the stiffest and thickest hulls on the market. In short, the Cape Horn 15 is a fun boat to paddle & you'll look good paddling it. On the down side it does not hold a giant stash of gear (at least the 15 does not), and if you strap it to your roof rack to tightly on a hot day, you'll spend the first hour or two of your outing trying to get the dent out of the bottom of your boat!
05-15-2001Submitted by: Tim H.
- Rating: 9 of 10 After a brief fling with a whitewater kayak, I decided to go to touring kayaks. My wife and I had wonderful times on the lake together, so we wanted 'his and her' boats. After briefly trying an OT Nantucket (yuck!) we went back to our dealer (Pro Canoe and Kayak in Raleigh, NC) and tried nearly every boat in the shop for fit. Our brief experience had shown us how important good fit is.
I'm 6'0" and 180lbs, and my wife is 5'6" and 130lbs. We found that the Cape Horn 14 fit her very well, and the Cape Horn (now called the 15) fit me well. We bought the rotomolded plastic versions. Got the boats home, and fitted the pads that come with the boats. Fit is now excellent for us. Out on the lake these boats have proved to be an absolute joy to paddle. Slight initial 'tippiness' but excellent secondary stability. We've probably spent 20+ hours each in these boats, and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anybody. Workmanship is very good, design is excellent. Handling, tracking and speed are excellent. Our only nit is some seepage gets into the bulkhead compartments. Frankly, its so little that I haven't bothered to fully investigate. We've been very happy that we went with plastic, both for the cost and durability advantage over composite.
So far we've spent most of our practise time on a local lake. We've also done the Black River in South Carolina, some protected bay paddling in the ocean, and a terrific trip at Lake Tillery in NC. I have a high standard for perfection, so I can't give these boats a 10, but I probably wouldn't give ANY boats a 10, because everything is a compromise. When you consider what you're getting for the money, these boats are tops! GO get yourself a Wilderness Systems Cape Horn, in whichever version fits best! (I am not in any way associated with Wilderness Systems or Pro Canoe.)
04-30-2001Submitted by: JFF
- Rating: 10 of 10 Bought a Capehorn14 poly. rotomolded. Have had it in the bayou and lake. It tracks well and handles waves with aplomb. Much faster than I though it would be for a poly. boat. After rolling all hatches stayed dried. Love the durability of the poly. Great boat and would recommend it to anyone looking a well-made boat at a modest cost. Give it a 10. Thanks Wilderness Sys. For a small version of the Capehorn. A winner.
04-06-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my second kayak, and maybe my last. I have had it for one year and have tested it many times. It handles very well in 3-4 foot swell and high wind. I often take my min-pin kayaking with me, she sits on that great flat space behind the cockpit. I got mine at a close-out sale for $825, purple plastic with a rudder. This kayak gets me alot of looks of admiration when its on the car. People who know nothing of kayaking love the way this boat looks. I would recommend this kayak to anyone who really wants a good, all-around touring kayak for under a $1000.
02-25-2001Submitted by: Alex
- Rating: 10 of 10 One of the best boats I have ever paddled. As a big guy, 6'6" and 200#'s, I can slide right in and be comfortable. The 14 really is for a small woman, and for some reason, the cockpit on the 17 is actually smaller than the 15. I have been amazed at how well this family of boats tracks and rolls, but still turns on a dime. I get to paddle everything on the market due to working in a paddle store, and really love this boat over anything else. I could not keep it in stock last summer. The best colors overall, are probably bluegrass, ice blue and ruby. Sunrise and Bermuda are to blends that aren't bad either.
06-24-2000Submitted by: Darrell
- Rating: 10 of 10 Everything thing that has been said about this kayak in these reviews is true. Bought mine on the weight of these reviews and a demo at Kayak Horizons in Morro Bay CA.Initial stability of the Cape Horn is good and the secoundary is very good. I Really like the rudder as I have a kayak with out one. Bought mine for $959.oo and I am very happy with this boat, so far have had it only on lakes, but will go to the ocean 6/23/00 and try it out beyond the break water. I have only good things to say about this kayak for a first boat. It is faster than I thought it would be as it cuts very cleanly through the water with very little bow wave. Nice job Wilderness Systems in the Cape Horn.
05-04-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought my Cape Horn last June - the first boat I've owned, though I've paddled lots of models. Mine is Rasta color, one of the "pretty awful" color schemes mentioned by Steven below. Anyway, I'll echo the generally positive impressions people have of the boat. It's stable, yet fairly maneuverable and fast. I enjoy every moment I spend in the boat. I have two caveats for potential Cape Horners, though: first, the hatches do leak. I like the flush design, but if you're using the boat for camping, put your stuff in dry bags. I'm not talking about lots of water, but after an hour of rolling practice there was some noticable water to empty out. Second, I'm a fairly thin guy (5' 10", 150 lbs). The cockpit of this boat is big and comfortable for long paddles, but I have trouble rolling/bracing the boat because I can't make good contact with the boat. I'm going to try adding some more padding/trigh braces, but right now if I roll over I fall out before I can roll back up.
01-08-2000Submitted by: James
- Rating: 9 of 10 My second kayak in two years. I fell in love with it because of looks, stayed in love because of performance. The Greenland styling is not often found in plastic boats, it has great lines. It is extremely stable, tracks well, and paddles effortlessly. The bulkheads are spacious enough for all your camping gear and the day hatch is great for snacks and a camera. Deck lines run the lenght of the boat, nice for rescues. Plenty of room in the cockpit. Only 15' long but handles like at 17'. There are faster boats but if you aren't addicted to speed she will do fine. Easily cartoped by two people, managable by one. The deck rises rather high directly in front of the cockpit. This helps shed water but I felt that I had to improve thigh contact by adding closed-cell foam to the inside of the boat. I also added hip pads for a snug fit. Cockpit is easy to enter and exit. Don't bother paying for a rudder, it is not needed and I think the boat looks better without one. The boat has a soft chine. My only real complaint is the deck hatches. They are actually a little cheap compare to what is advertised on the web and in print. But if you snug them down well enough they will do the trick. The Epic's flush deck hatch is a much better design. My stern hatch has been known to leak a little on occasion. In general, a great boat for most conditions. If this boat was around when I purchase my first one I would have saved a lot of money.
11-01-1999Submitted by: Bob Cowan
- Rating: 10 of 10 By way of introduction, after being exposed to sea kayaking early this past summer, my wife and I took a kayaking course, attended several kayak demos and took a couple of local half-day tours. We spent quite a bit of time in Current Design and Necky rotomolded boats during the course and tours. We also tested Dagger and Wilderness Systems. When I finally had the opportunity to test the Cape Horn in Annapolis harbor it was almost a religious experience. The boat was, in my limited experience, incredibly stable, quite maneuverable, and confidence inspiring. It was the first boat I could easily put up on edge and feel completely comfortable. I had come to the end of my search for a first boat -- this was it, hands down!
We had agreed that for first boats we would be better off buying rotomolded kayaks, despite their higher weight, because of their durability and lower cost. We now own and love a Cape Horn and a Wilderness Systems Epic, and are completely satisfied and very impressed with their capabilities.
Thus far the Cape Horn has spent roughly four months in the tidal waters of the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, and the deep, open waters of Moosehead Lake, Maine. In both environs, it has earned my complete respect. During two weeks on Moosehead Lake (179,000 surface acres of water), the Cape Horn carried my 200 lb frame plus a lot of camping gear all over the lake without a single problem or shortcoming. Although not as fast as the Epic, it moves right along without a great deal of effort and, handles rough water with aplomb. Our first encounter with rough water came on our six to seven mile return leg of a camping trip. Before we had reached the mouth of the cove we had camped in, waves were over a foot and the wind was building. By the time we reached open water we were facing three to four foot swells with breakers and a 15 to 20 knot wind. Despite our lack of experience in rough water, the boats handled extremely well and before long, although still cautious, we were much more confident. From abeam, or from the bow or stern, the Cape Horn took the swells and breakers amazingly well, and with my cooperation and quickly increasing skills, kept us upright all the way home. I actually reached the point that I would intentionally surf some of the bigger swells just for fun.
The only (minor) complaint I have concerning the boat is that both the front and aft deck profiles are sufficiently low that waves splash over them and the hatches will take in a little water. Overall, it's a rock solid and capable mid size boat.
10-21-1999Submitted by: Bill B.
- Rating: 9 of 10 My first boat. Beautiful color(aqua). Have only had it in rivers so far but with heavy industrial traffic. Ran through some two feet waves from every angle possible and the boat made me feel secure and comfortable. In following type conditions it cocked very little (no rudder) but was quickly and easily corrected. Speed is not what I expected possibly due to my 200# frame. Tracking is excellent. Love the hull design as well as the deck design and appointments. The boat seems to sit low in the water(200#?) I fish from it, lay on the stern deck and look at the sky and cruise my local waterways in some, at least through the eyes of a beginner, quite intimidating conditions. The boat is also quite manuverable and responsive.
10-11-1999Submitted by: Mike
- Rating: 10 of 10 A perfect first boat; stable and forgiving yet maneuverable and responsive. I tried a lot of boats before I bought. The final choice for me was between the Lookshsa IV, Magellan, and the Cape Horn. They are all good boats. The Magellan was a little less stable but the deciding factor was the weight. The Cape Horn provided the most performance per pound.
I have been paddling with a group all summer and the boat has enough speed to allow a novice to keep up. It tracks well enough that the rudder is not needed in most conditions and when deployed does not diminish speed. It performs well in moderate waves (one to two feet) but I have not encountered rougher. It remains to be seen how I feel about the boat as I gain more paddling experience.
Wilderness Systems has come up with an excellent design.
10-04-1999Submitted by: Jesse P.
- Rating: 10 of 10 First Kayaks ,no previous experience, I picked out a Necky Looksha IV ,my wife chose the Cape Horn
initial observation: the Cape Horn is much less attractive,the color(green)has a "tupperware" appearance,the flush hatch covers look fragile compared to the 'granite' plastic and the sturdy covers of the Necky Looksha IV in the water: The Cape Horn is MUCH more stable and confidence inspiring tracking is excellent,secondary stability is also excellent, the boat is very forgiving and lets you know what it is doing, the deck cords are not as ample as the Looksha but are acceptable,the small access hatch behind the comb is excellent for keys and small items(CAMERA!) the seat will need some additional padding,the rudder pedals are great,easy to adjust and find with your feet when you stretch( we spend 4 to 6 hour a run)the thigh contact area is inferior to the Looksha inital stability:10,secondary :10 tracking:10 manuverability:9 speed:8
deck layout :8 the flat area behind the comb makes self rescue a breeze carrying capacity is very good. rigidity is superior to the Necky due to the shape of the hull the gouge resistance of the plastic is even with the Looksha. possibly,as we become more experienced, the Necky will get the nod(it is tippy but WAY fast) but for now I would have to give it to the Cape Horn-for a beginner with deep blue ambitions,the Cape Horn is confidence inspiring and will have you out in the rough quickly
09-13-1999Submitted by: Linda
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought a Cape Horn after trying a number of other boats. This one won me over from the moment I first sat in it. It's very stable, tracks and turns nicely, even without using the rudder. The cockpit is roomy and is comfortable enough for a larger paddler. There are front and rear bulkheads and hatches and a small storage area right behind the cockpit. This was my first boat and I wanted one that could be used on flatwater as well as on the ocean. The Cape Horn is well worth a look if these features appeal to you.
08-17-1999Submitted by: Steven
- Rating: 10 of 10 Iíve been paddling my Cape Horn for about two months now, and I love it. Itís well built, with plenty of storage, and a comfortable cockpit. The rudder works well, and tracking is superb. The Cape Horn is my first kayak, and I chose it over a Perception Carolina. It cost several hundred dollars more, but it is more boat in every way, yet is not too much kayak for someone with limited experience. I demoíed it in April along with a Sealution II, and fell in love right away with the Horn. I waited a while, to paddle some other kayaks [Perception Eclipse, Necky Something-or-other], and when I finally saw one in a shop in upstate New York, in stock, I bought it right away (10% off list, to boot).
I donít know about Wilderness Systemsí distribution, but I havenít seen many Cape Horns in stores, and very little written about them. I think Perception does a much better job with color blending in plastic- my Ice Blue Horn has some weird dark blue into pale blue blotches and drips molded into the hull- not nearly as nice or as flowing as Perception. Some of their other colors are pretty awful ["Granite Aqua" and "Rasta" with its Red/YellowGreen combo come to mind.] And the shiny molded hatches look kind of cheap, not as nice as the ones pictured on the prototype in the catalog. But all that is minor. It weighs about 55 lbs. Kind of heavy to get on the Thule rack solo, but can be done.
The boat paddles well, and Iím thrilled with it. Last time out was in Long Island Sound off Connecticut, a couple of hours after a tornado passed within 20 miles. Plenty of chop, gusty winds and one stable, dry kayak. Recommended highly.
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