I’m new here and looking into these two kayaks. I am hesitating between the two. If anyone has any exerience with both and can give me some information, (ex, speed, volume, crosswind paddling etc.) It would really help me out. I know I should try them out, but that is not possible right now… by the way I’m 5’10" and 180pounds. Thanks.
I have the Capella 173, about the same size as you.
Empty it gets a little pushed in a quartering head or tail wind over about 15 mph without the skeg. I use it for a weekender, the 167 would be a good med volume daily driver. Very comfortable, responsive to good paddling technique.
I’m 6’ 190 lbs. I own a Capella 169 and and Ellesmere. The 169 is the same length as the 167, with a bit more rocker. I think some of the stern rocker was reduced from the 169 to 167 to make it a little less squirrelly, and they made it a bit more stable. I’ve used my Capella a lot, almost exclusively as an ocean surf play boat. For that purpose, I’ve really enjoyed it. The Capella 169 will handle steeper waves without burying the bow underwater than the Ellesmere. The Capella 169 is a bit more maneuverable than the Ellesmere.
When you compare the lengths of the 2 on paper, you’ve got a 16’9" Capella versus a 17’ Ellesmere. Just a 3" length difference, correct? But side by side upside down looking at the hulls, the Ellesmere is significantly longer in the water. It’s a faster boat, and other than riding down steep surf waves where you might bury the bow more easily on the Ellesmere, I find the Ellesmere to be a more well-mannered kayak. The Ellesmere is more neutral in the wind. It is still easily maneuvered, especially given its forward paddling efficiency.
I have an ocean cockpit kevlar Ellesmere, and it’s a really solid build. Pressing on the hull, it takes a lot more pressure to get it to flex at all than it does on the carbon kevlar Capella. The Capella has gotten a little flexier over the years, with the gel coat spider cracks forming. Medawgone had a newer Ellesmere, and once commented that the build didn’t seem as solid on it. So different layups could seem different?
Very different hull designs. The Capella has a v’d bottom and soft chines. The section between the keel line and the rounded chine is flat. It comes out to the ends into a fairly narrow V. The Ellesmere is a continuous arch between 2 hard chines. It stays rounder further towards the ends.
The stability profile feels a little different, but overall I would put them in the same comfortable stability range. It’s a sporty feel, easy to edge, easy to maintain and control a deep edge.
I honestly really enjoy both. If those were my only two kayaks, I would likely paddle the Ellesmere for everything except days where I expected to be in steep surf. The Ellesmere is faster, more neutral in the wind, easier directional control, and still maneuvers beautifully. The Capella will handle a little steeper stuff without burying the bow.
For what it’s worth, I thought I had some video out there of both, but I guess I only found the Ellesmere. My profile picture on here is in the Capella.
Boreal Design Ellesmere presentation - Bing video
A shot of my Capella is also in this video. I was trying to compare rocker profiles by showing a tennis ball where it fit under the keel line at the bow and stern, and measuring the distance in between. It was 12’ 11" under the Capella, and 14’ 4 1/2" under the Ellesmere. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than a single odd measurement, but it’s just another piece of data.
Thanks CapeFear. I saw your videos trying to decide what was better for my needs. Your comments were just what I wanted thank you. I’ll post back once I decide and with a little review.