P&H Capella 167 / 169 ?????

Looking for some comments on these boats. First off…are these the same boat?

They currently carry a 167 and used to have a 169. Both are 16’7. Can anyone tell me the difference?

I remember sitting in one of them last year (can’t remember which) and I liked the fit. It fit fairly generously which I really liked. I like a bit bigger fitting boat like the Explorer HV / Romany Surf / HV, etc.

Can anyone comment on the boats’ handling? I imagine it handles similarly to a Romany or similar 16 foot British style boat.

As a stocky guy about 200 pounds this seems like a good choice of a 16 foot boat since it is one of the only ones I can fit in comfortably and seems to be optimized for a heavier paddler than the standard Romany or Avocet.

Of course I know that I have to paddle the boat myself…just trying to get some opinions. Given the boat’s length and fit I am guessing it is a similar niche to a Romany Surf / Romany HV as a maneuverable and playful boat for larger paddlers.



my first

– Last Updated: Jul-30-09 12:32 AM EST –

kayak was a 2003 169.. it weathercocks hard even with the skeg.. it also broached pretty bad for me in following seas.. otherwise it was a good all around coastal kayak.. the 167 is supposed to be more well mannered..

I don't miss the high deck at all..

I'd be interested in your observations if you have a chance to test them out..

edit: they are not the same kayak.. the 167 is 16.7' and the 169 is 16.9.. also different design from each other and probably from year to year..

the Romany S is also massive flat bottom compared to the Capella's round hull.. the 169 isn't an HV.. I'm about 190 and it was fine for a day boat..

Check the year
I had heard a couple of years ago that P&H was going to move the tweaks they made in the 161 up their line into the higher numbers. Having spent two days in the former it’s a solid and honest boat, still retains nice maneuverability. Just can’t comment on it in real surf - we were in open water. So you may want to see if one is more recent.

I am confused though - I thought you had a Romany Surf, which from what we saw off of Rhode Island in May is a really great surf boat. Why are you looking at another 16’ plus boat, or have you turned over the Romany Surf and I missed it?

I wish I remember which of the two boats I sat in. I liked it because it had a generour fit and a bit higher deck. It fit a lot like the Romany Surf (which is the Romany HV) or the Kajaksport Vivianne I was paddling at the time…so maybe it was the 169.

I like a more generous fit, but a higher deck can be a problem. I noticed that with the Viviane which had a very high deck and would weather cock terribly.

This is a tough one. Capella seems like a great hull but that can be spoiled with a deck that is too high and causes weather cocking.

On the Romany Surf…I did turn it over! I got a Explorer HV which fits about the same. Lately though I have re-evaluated how many long trips I am going to do out of the boat and think a 16 footer is better for me. Most of my paddling is playing in surf and rough water where maneuverability is probably more important.

I liked the Surf a lot. Fit was very good. Only think I did not like was that its chines were a little too hard in my opinion…a function of the flat bottom. Made the edges a little grabby. Capella hull seems to be more rounded which I prefer.

Plus…I found a great deal on a new one that is within driving distance of me.


the 169 was a prototype of the Quest LV and was a lot different than the other Capellas… The Quest LV lengthened the stern…

The back deck was low but the front was so high that I tended to float out of the seat when rolling… I have improved a lot since then so maybe this wouldn’t be an issue anymore?

The 167 would really be worth taking a look… I really liked the 169. I was going to keep it and try moving the seat again but someone offered to buy it even though I told him it weathercocked…

I also liked the length and the hull… great all around kayak that would be a lot easier to turn in the surf…

If it is not truly the same hull shape as the other capellas then that really makes me wonder a bit.

Especially since the Quest, from my understanding, is more of an Expedition boat than a play boat. That would imply to me that it would not only be longer than the other capellas but would have less rocker as well.

As for the deck height…I did find some specs on line and it states a max deck height of 13 inches which really is not that high.

How tall are you / how much do you weigh? That makes a bid difference of course.

thanks again


I’m 6’3’’ and 190… good luck!

167 vs 169
Hi Gang:

Brian here from P&H.

I may be able to clarify a few things about the 169 and 167. As several posters have mentioned, the 167 is the most recent version of the Capella series and it incorporates all of the changes that we have put into the boats over the past several years. The 169 is the original Capella hull and as such is is VERY different from the 167.

The biggest difference that most people will feel is in primary stability. The 167 is much more stable than the 169, due to the deep-v hull on the older boat. While this is similar to the hull on the Quest and Quest LV, the 169 is a different boat than these two, with quite a bit more stern rocker and a rounder hull profile.

Compared to the 169, the 167 has less stern rocker, different volume distribution across the hull, a flatter, tighter fitting keyhole cockpit and the new P&H rope/ratchet skeg.

For a paddler of your size, the 167 will outperform the 169. Weather cocking will be minimal, edging will be progressive and controlled, and following sea performance will be predictable.

That said, the 169 is still a fine boat. The deep-v hull helps with speed when heavily loaded, and the rockered stern keeps the boat nimble. The 167 is an improvement, and brings this mid-sized Capella in line with the rest of the boats in the family, but should you come across a used 169, it is definitely worth a test paddle.

Happy paddling.


P&H Northeast Guy

I paddle a Capella 169

– Last Updated: Jul-30-09 11:43 AM EST –

It has something in common with a Quest, but not exactly as described. They are very much different boats on the water, and the 169 is quite the opposite of the design intentions for the Quest. If you paddle the two, no more discussion would be necessary on that subject. The information on the Quest I read years ago from P&H was that they took the Capella and lengthened the midsection/waterline. I believe it was described as they were attempting to achieve more volume for an expedition boat, a faster hull, easier to track straight. They wanted that boat to retain some of the feel of the Capella...edging and stability characteristics I imagine.

I don't think they advertise the 169 on their site anymore. My understanding was that they reduced rocker on the Capella series as most found it a bit too squirrely, but the 169 still had the original rocker. I'm not entirely sure about this, but I can tell you the 169 is an incredibly easily maneouvered boat, tons of fun in that department if that's what you're looking for. Demo a 167 and 169 and that would tell you if that is the case.
On the subject of a high deck causing weathercocking. I got the impression you were talking about a high front deck (roomier fit). Weathercocking is caused by the stern being blown downwind more so than the bow. Add a little height to the front deck only, your boat will weathercock less, up to the point where it begins to leecock. So if you were concerned about a roomy fordeck contributing to weathercocking, you can erase that relationship. The weathercocking has completely different causes. The boat is reacting to forces on boat exposed above the waterline, but how the boat responds to those forces is not independant of the hull below the waterline. It's also not independant of speed in relationship to the water, or weight of kayak, kayaker, & gear, etc. I can't really touch on this in any sort of technical terms, and that may be just as well.
In any case, the Capella 169 is my playboat. I'm 6' 175 lbs. I have no problem with a roomier fit, but really I'm just not that fussy about fit unless the fit is too snug. I think I'm lucky in that the majority of boats seem to be pretty acceptable to me. I always edge to turn, I roll them all regularly, and especially with the Capella 169, it's a lot of fun working on maneouvering strokes. You see a lot of return for your effort. I mostly use it on group paddles and in the surf here on the Atlantic coast. When I bought it, it had come down to a Capella 169 and a Pintail, if that helps indicate what category of kayak handling I had placed it into.

Edit: Sorry, I didn't realize a P&H rep had responded before I posted this. At least I was thinking along the right track. More squirrely, fits more in the niche boat category than the newer Capella design.

I have a 2003 169. It is the boat I use for almost everything. I almost always have just a little skeg down and it tracks very well in calm conditions. Using the skeg, I have no difficulties in winds. I have paddled the boat so much that I’m used to it’s handling. I am about 5’11" and 190 with skinny legs and I have put a lot of padding in the thigh area.

It has enough rocker to handle well in rough stuff, b ut due to it’s V hull shape it’s still pretty quick.

It has a lot of volume, but I like the fact that it is very manueverable, and good in rough water, but still has lot’s of room for gear.

It’s mentioned above that it holds it’s speed when loaded which is true.

It is truly an all rounder that does everything quite well. I have paddled a lot of boats and I wouldn’t trade this boat for anything I’ve tried unless I could have a lot of specialized boats to pick and choose from.

that pretty much confirms everything I said…

  1. the 169 weathercocks
  2. it is completely different that the 167
  3. it has more in common with the Quest LV than the 167 has in common than the Quest LV. (Of course the Quest is longer than both, which I said, thus more of an expedition boat)
  4. larger cockpit
  5. the capellas have evolved over the years

I have the RM 167
and am 5’9" and 225 lb. I find that the 167 is a very stable but playful boat. When I bought my current FG boat, I was looking at the Foster Shadow (which I bought) and the Explorer HV.

To compare my Shadow and RM 167, I’ve noticed the following:

Speed Shadow is a bit faster

Stability: Capella has more primary stability but its secondary is good too. The Shadow has more secondary and very little primary.

Rough Water Handling. Both boats are good. Shadow surfs better but is 12" longer. The 167 broaches a lot less than my old Gulfstream did.

Weathercocking: Neither boat has a major problem with it and the skegs handle it nicely.

The RM 167 is a fun boat to play in the surf or rocks with. I don’t think you can go wrong with it.