Delphin vs Capella

Hi Folks!
I am an hig beginner/low intermediate paddler living on the pacific coast in the Los Angeles area. Mostly ocean day paddles but would like to do short tours too. My current boat is too long (19) and not quick handling (permanent rudder) and recently got me in trouble in a high wind choppy spot. My friend with a skeg boat had no issues what so ever. Now I am shopping for a skeg boat that candle help me in tough conditions not get me in trouble. A dealer has recommended a delphin and it sounds incredibly maneuverable at the expense of tracking. I also have a shot at a capella 166 which would be a bit more of a compromise but probably handles well enouugh for what I want. Any thoughts?

!2 foot

The Delphin 155 with the keg deployed is going to behave much like the Capella but when you retract the skeg you are going to have superb maneuverability. Leave the skeg up and the Deplhin is going to school you in the exit for your forward stroke. A bit too far and Newton will kick in to tell you Forward, not Sweep Stroke, as the Delphin doesn’t take much to get it to turn. Also the foredeck snack hatch is darned handy. :grin:

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

1 Like

I fully agree with Marshall. I went to a Delphin 150 (my size not yours) this spring from a Pygmy Arctic Tern (17’ hard chine, no skeg or rudder). I can track well with out the skeg in most condition but I do need to pay attention and often indulge in some edge. If I’m lazy or keeping up with some faster paddlers I will use the skeg as needed. I do have whitewater canoe background so I do have experience making turnny boats go straightish. One thing that I found when turning with the skeg up is that initially, I would over turn based on what I was used to with the Tern. That would especially show up with bow rudders.

1 Like

I have both boats. The Capella is definitely the boat for longer distances, the Delphin for playing around. In high wind/waves, I would rather be in the Delphin as it is maneuverable and has reassuring stability.

Short tours in a Delphin are definitely doable if you pack carefully and don’t mind the slower hull speed.


To be clear, you’d be a Delphin 155 paddler, not a 150, if you go the Delphin route.

The Delphin is a great play boat - surfing, rock play, and the like. Not a great tourer. And beastly heavy.

Given where you are coming from (long touring boat of some sort), the Capella may feel better for you as a single, do it all boat.

But if you wanted a second boat to go along with the 19 footer, the Delphin would provide a much different paddling experience and possible expand when/where you could paddle.

1 Like

@Peter-CA P&H’s new Corelite-X material does get the weight off of the Delphins. My 150 is speced at 55 lbs & mine comes in with in an ounce or two of that.

1 Like

Many hanks to ALL for your immediate input. LA is not a good place to try boats shop and talk to folks, online is all I got. Very Helpful. Always fun making a decision between two good choices.

Bottom line, so you want maneuverability and moderate speed or a stiffer ride and a bit more hull speed?

At this point in my life I generally opt for maneuverability, it is simply easier to handle surprises. Especially if I have to do so when I am tired. And speed is of less concern to me.

If you already have the 19 footer, as above one option would be to keep that for the longer trips in more predictable conditions and just add the Delphin for the other types of paddles.

1 Like

Here’s an idea… sell that awful, unturnable 19 footer and buy both the Capella and the Delphin.


@Ed_Llorca where around LA do you paddle or wish to paddle? Do you solo or are you with a group that has a certain average “speed”?

Rex is thinking straight! I wish the cobra was worth enough to do that. either way I have a two boat limit in the backyard, 1 kayak and 1 canoe for me and the Mrs.

1 Like

I paddle with a friend mostly out of channel islands harbor in Ventura county. Easy pace. Looking to start paddling with California Kayak Friends, a local club. One of their members has a capella but I have not met him yet.

Great, you’ll be in good company. If you were doing crossings to the Channel Islands or Catalina I’d say you’ve already got the kayak you want. For the harbor and playing around outside near Hollywood Beach, Silver Strand etc, I don’t think you’d need more speed than the Delphin 155 has. A new/recent Delphin is also going to be equal or lighter if it’s a Corelite-X model. I’d err on the side of the Delphin because the parts are more readily available and I think it’s a bit more forgiving in surf launches/landings (subtly so).

But, recommendations are no substitute for your own preferences. Hopefully after we get through this current COVID surge, you’d be able to drive up to California Canoe & Kayak in SF and demo the boats yourself. They’d also be your best bet for ordering new. Call ahead to arrange a demo when it’s safe to do so. And for that matter, if you put this off well into 2021, the P&H Virgo HV may become available to you as a playful day-touring option. I have no idea when they’ll arrive stateside but it’s another inquiry you can make.

Saying that you are limited to one kayak makes it quite a choice to make. I personally would consider the Delphin quite a compromise choice for a single kayak sea kayaker. It’s on the very low end of efficiency for anything considered a sea kayak. It’s very purpose-designed for surfing waves.
If you truly won’t miss that feeling of gliding across the water all the times your stability isn’t being challenged, the Delphin could still be a good choice for you. I really enjoy playing in the surf. Just did it Sunday. Still, if I was restricted to one kayak, I would go with the Capella personally. If I wanted to lean a little more towards a surf play style in poly, the Whisky 16 Rocker still feels quick compared to a Delphin, while having more of that flattish hull in the center and very playful.
My worry would be that if you decided your long tracker isn’t all-purpose enough among sea kayaks, the Delphin is jumping to an opposite extreme. It’s like a full-on assault on the long boat compromises without regard towards any possible long boat positives that you might actually miss.
Of course, only you personally can answer these things. Just floating my thoughts out there. Good luck and have fun with whatever you choose.

1 Like

i have a Delphin155, lurve it… takes a licking and keeps on ticking - but at 12’s the shoe size is more than a bit tight, at size11 i can barley squeeze my feet into it with winter boots on, then have my feet completly welded in with zero room to wiggle - it’s better with light shoes in the other three seasons tho…

other notes:

  • the footpegs have been replaced, the pegs they come with are going to break, just a question of when, but prolly the same pegs as the Capella, i have a footboard in my boat, but no one else uses it so it’s fine to fit me well, and no one else
    -I’ve also replaced the seat with a closed cell foam, kept the adjustable backband
  • removed the useless front “dayhatch” - it’s really limits getting size11 feet in boots into the boat, and on a really bad day could be a safety issue getting said feet out
  • my boat is corelite, and managable getting it on/off the car by myself, not going to flip on the shoulder and hike, but to get a short distance from car to launch it’s workable for me (6’1" / 205)
  • about as directionaly stable as a drunk on St Patrick’s day with the skeg up, fine with it down a bit tho…
  • the Delphin can keep up with folks with Sterling Reflection’s, CD Sisu, TideRace and similar for a day paddle
  • i pretty much always use a Greenland stick, but do keep a Weiner Ikos on the backdeck should i feel the need for moveing alot of water, not used often tho, boat responds well to subtle inputs from the GP, turns on a dime with a bow rudder
  • eddying out into a strong current the air in the bow can be a bit of a liabality, maybe try it first with a “training” mindset
  • for anything that does not involve the sound of composite against rocks, i prefer my SisuLV and my feet fit in that boat with ease, footpegs stay attached to the boat nothing blocking ingress, and the seat is fine, even on an eight day trip… all up a better designed boat for my use, but composite and fragile so the Delphin has a reason to stay on the roof of the car all winter
  • far rather add yet more scratches to the Delphin and giggle, than the get gel coat fixed on the Sisu (again)

Thanks to all who answered I really had to ponder this decision. Living in hte kayak black hole of L.A. it was hard to decide without trying. Ultimately I found a current designs dealer in Santa Monica. I was looking at their sirocco, seemed like a nice craft. Hutchinson design, looked like it could turn well enough while still offer some tracking. Sonded like a good compromise for my paddling needs. Turns out the cockpit is very similar to the gulfstream of which the dealer had one so I drove down to try it. I decided the cockpit was workable with some outfitting so I bought the sirocco and just got it last weekend. Very pleased need to get it wet this weekend.

Thanks again for all your advice, here’s to seeing you all on the water.

1 Like

Congratulations on the new boat!

Sirocco should be a good fit for your size. As I recall, it is the poly version of the Gulfstream.


The Sirocco is a very nice, years tested sea kayak. I loved paddling mine, however it was a bit spacious in the cockpit for me as I’m about 30 lbs lighter than you. Surprised you went with a foot longer kayak than the ones you initially mentioned. It should serve you well with distance paddles and in open water conditions.

Outfitting and first impressions:
The cockpit is quite roomy but CD put some “thigh brace” pieces in there. The effect they had on me was keeping my knees down so no contact with the hull and a flatter more uncomfortable position. Luckily form me they were bolted in. took a while to remove them but when I did it was so worth it. Cockpit opened up, my kneecaps could lock in to the coaming “gutter”. The thigh supports I crafted for my old boat tucked in and off to the ocean I went.

Coming from a long fixed rudder boat when I first got in my balance felt squirrly. No surprise going form a shallow v to a round bottom. As time went by i got more calm, and could appreciate the boats desire to weathercock with the skeg up. Skeg down it would become neutral, never leecocked. Tracking was not bad skeg up and quite nice skeg down. Was too anxious to try edge turns (short day didn’t want to waste time falling in) so secondary stability will be the theme of my next paddle.

I am overjoyed to have a boat that turns on a dime and is very responsive to all input and happens to be much faster to boot!

The verdict: Sirocco is an F1 car and the cobra19 is a stick in the mud comparatively.

1 Like