Aquaunaut RM/Capella166RM/Tempest170 RM

-- Last Updated: Feb-19-04 9:29 AM EST --

I am looking for any info and comparisons of the Valley Aquanaut RM, P&H Capella 166 RM and the WS Tempest 170 RM to each other. At my size 6' 225lbs I seem to fit each of them (no fit on the Necky Chatham) and only have had a chance to paddle the WS Tempest in composite on a calm lake. It responded well, but no knowledge of how the other two paddle. I would like to learn what will make these boats similar in paddling characteristcs and what will be different between them? The VCP and P&H boats are useing a three layer plastic. Is this superior to the WS linear plastic?

I feel the triple layer poly is

– Last Updated: Feb-19-04 10:05 AM EST –

superior for rigidity. I'm sure steve will have something to say about that :). But the triple layer plastic I've found to be very very rigid, and gives the best subsitute for composite materials short of that airalite or carbonlite modulus stuff from Eddyline.

As to the boats themselves and their handling characteristics: I love the capella. They are updating the deck and the seat for this year! That should really make this boat unbeatable.

The Aquanaut I have tried in glass, and it is very nice but I personally found it sort of slow in comparison to P&H boats. It seemed like it reached top speed quite quickly and then the bow started to bury in it's own wake. It is longer than the capella and slightly narrower. The large oval hatches on the fore and aft deck make it easy to pack! But with the new hatches on the capella I would have a tough time saying no to it.

that’s nice of you!
to not say anything ‘not nice’. :wink:

I have seen no issues with either WS or P&H plastic. Both seem quite stiff and work well. we have seen both boats perform in a rental/ demo environment with very similar results. Wildy is constantly upgrading it’s poly. Whenever there is an improvement to be made, they jump on it. I am testing new/different plastics as we speak.

I’ll bet a dollar to a donut if Keith had a visit out west and I MADE him paddle a Tempest (cuz we sold our Capella and haven’t got the new model yet!) he’d find a thing or two good to say about it. :slight_smile:


if I was on a guided trip with a choice of rental boats between a big plastic tub and a tempest I would definitely take the tempest.

Steve, we had a rm Tempest 170 in the rental fleet. When not in use 80% of the time it sat on the trailer or a rack on the dock where the supports are about 8’ apart. The other 20% of the time it was sitting on a flat dock or upside down on a flat dock. It developed a ripple forward of the seat that was about 3/8"-1/2" deep indentation crosswise to the keel and about a foot long. I’m sure I could take it out but it never took itself out. Did you have anything like that happen with your rental boats?

ours sits on a trailer with an 8’ span when not in use. either flat, upside down (mostly) or on edge.

When on edge against another combing a dent will appear but they go away when relieved.

I have seen a number of boats (including the Capella) do this when hauled on edge in the heat. We use trailers and vans with on edge hauling the norm.

I have had to help the dents along with heat gun a number of times. Comes with the territory!


New Capella
Here is a review of the new Capella from a friend of mine in England who has just paddled one.

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!

I asked him about the 173 version and he said that he had seen the fibreglass/composite version but not the RM version. When he next speaks to P&H he will ask about that one and if they have plans to import it into North America.

The P&H website does have photo’s and specs on the new Capella models.

just found out from our rep that the new model should be in the store next week.

we’ll see how sweet it is!


that makes sense
it was probably tightened onto the coaming of another kayak on the trailer.

the easiest way to get a boat to bend. I just checked the Capella roto on the floor, in the heated shop, and it shows only the smallest bumps from sitting on the rack. Some of the other vessels on the same rack show a bit more lumpiness.

Funny thing, this morn on my Chatham 16 paddle I wedged the nose into the metal gate going down the ramp to the moorage, to hold it while I pushed thru and put a very healthy bend in the nose. about a foot from the end. ouch. even heat didn’t get rid of it. oilwell.


Aquanaut RM
I noticed on the GRO site that the Aquanaut RM is 7" shorter than the composite Aquanaut. Same hull section and beam as composite. The shorter waterline, along with being RM, I would imagine makes the RM Aquanaut noticably slower than the composite.

RE: speed, in my experience, the only P&H boat that feels faster than the composite Aquanaut is the Sirius - truly a sweet fast boat.

Brother Flatpick
I just looked at the P&H website and the new RM Capella. Looks like they have made it more Tempest-like. You should be flattered.

in what way is the new
capella more tempest like?

my quest felt faster than
the aquanaut. In fact alot of the valley boats I paddled felt slower than the P&H Quest. The nordkapp felt pretty fast, but still not as fast as the quest. And the acceleration was definitely slower, but this may be due to weight. the valley boats are all on average 5-10lbs heavier than the P&H boats. A lighter boat is typically quicker to accelerate isn’t it?

Silhouette my current boat seems about as fast as the quest. But this is perception based, no GPS or anything.

all things equal
lighter is faster. less mass to move. I always found the Quest to be quite speedy and the Sirius/ Andromeda not particularly fast. IMHO the overly empathised ‘v’ form drags and the pointy, volume-less stems squat, especially on acceleration.

btw- got a f/g CD Andromeda in great shape- real cheap.


Text and Photo

– Last Updated: Feb-20-04 4:52 PM EST –

"Three watertight compartments instead of two, give more options when loading your kayak and a completely new seat and internal outfitting will ensure the comfort and fit of the kayak is much improved." is what the text on the website reads.

If I'm not mistaken the cockpit opening on the older models were keyhole on the composites and not on the poly. Looks like on the new poly, the paddler may be able to raise a leg out without raising the butt first. A good thing, I think.

ya’ THINK??
Kudzu-BRO ya’ KNOW!

Being able to lift a leg w/o raising your butt IS key to a decent cockpit design, IMNSHO. This is one place where I wish we had increased the T’s cockpit length by an inch or so, for the daddy long-legs. It is an EZ adjust to move the seat aft and it doesn’t affect trim too bad.

Me thinks the new Capella will be a big improvement. It’s funny that they design the f/g and roto boats sooo differently and yet maintain the same name. P&H aren’t the only ones who do this.

IMHO a good marketing scheme is to have similar shapes with similar names.


Quest for speed
I was talked out of trying a Quest more than once. The P&H dealer I last paddled boats from asserted that it was way too high volume for me (I’m 6’ and 180lbs). Being I don’t care for the high fore deck on some P&H boats, I guess I allowed myself to be disuaded. So I paddled Capella, Sirius, etc…

The Sirius felt fast, but that is without the comparison with a Quest.

Most I have spoken to feel the Foster Silhouette is the fastest of Brit boats. I’ve paddled one but it felt too tender for my comfort to push it.

The Nordkapp has a reputation for being very fast when heavily loaded. Some who have paddled both Aquanaut and Nordkapp have said that the Aquanaut is second only to the Nordkapp when loaded.

IMHO the fastest Brit style boat I have paddled is the Azul Sultan.

My long legs did great in the 170. Had to move the seat back some in the 165. GPS says it didn’t affect speed at all.

Ahhh… comfort good.

and the sultan

– Last Updated: Feb-21-04 10:17 AM EST –

is a silhouette knockoff isn't it?

You are too small for a quest. It wouldn't be the right boat for you unless you had 100 lbs of gear at all time.

I don't know abot you, but unless you are a nut with a GPS and a wing paddle speed is only one factor for boats. I still think the aquanaut and the nordkapp are really nice boats. But I wanted something even more low volume and maybe a little faster.