P&h capella kayak model

I’m 5’1" and I’m looking at smaller p&h capella kayaks. There is one local but she doesnt know what model number it is. Is there a way to tell? A serial number or something

My Capella 163 has the serial number scratched into side near the stern. The last 2 digits give the year.

There are a number of different Capella lengths and may be either rotomolded (RM) or not. They are not all equivalent, differing in various ways. Mine is fiberglass (some diolen) - I don’t think the 163 came in rm style. The 163 is my spare kayak and can work for somewhat larger people, not really a small person’s best fit. Maybe the 160 is ??

P&H was known for well constructed/finished kayaks. Venture kayaks purchased the P&H line, with the Capella surviving for some short time.

If you want to know more about your kayak, give us the length and the material (e.g. rm or not).

She is the same height as me and she said she had a class with the designer of the boat Derek Hutchinson and he recommended it for her. She bought it in 1997.

Should I be looking for something newer?

It needs hatch covers 69.99 and 89.99 and thigh braces 100 and shes asking 320 for it. I was thinking 250 would that be fair?

Under $600 after all is done for a quality kayak - really depends on if it fits you and is it in decent condition. Age doesn’t have to mean anything. 4 of the boats that live at my house are older.

Thank you

In the P&H line, Derek Hutchinson designed the Sirius, but he didn’t design the Capella. The Capella was introduced in 1996 as a plastic kayak. These first RM Capellas had square hatch covers, so that should be easy to tell. The 169 was the original composite, and then they modified the hull some and made multiple sizes in both plastic and composite. I have a 169 that I just had out this weekend. It’s a 2003 or 2004, came with Kajaksport hatch covers, and those original hatch covers are still on and in fine shape. My Sirius of around the same vintage still has an original Kajaksport day hatch cover, but I’ve gone through multiple sets of Valley covers for the rear oval and front round covers, before getting to the Sealect replacement covers on there now. If it is a Hutchinson design, I suspect it may be a Sirius. The Sirius tracks beautifully, and requires some skill to maneuver readily. The original Capella is squirrelly, very easily maneuvered, and requires some skill at directional control. The later Capella series in multiple sizes took out some of the squirrelliness, and added a little stability and tracking to the original Capella design.
I’m guessing this has 2 hatches and not 3? Are the hatch covers square or round? Does it still have a Capella marking on the outside or inside of the cockpit?

It has 2 square hatches and it says capella on it. So does that mean it’s a capella?

So it’s an early capella 169. Thank you. I will keep looking :slight_smile:

I have a Capella 161 made in 2006 listed on P.com classified section. It is a composite boat, just at 16 feet one inch long with 3 hatches. I am happy to share addition pictures and provide measurements if they can assist your efforts to ID the version you have an opportunity to purchase. P&H has a well earned reputation for very good build quality.

The 161 fits my wife at 5-4 very well. I cannot shimmy my 6-1 frame and size 14 feet into it due to shorter cockpit coaming and forward bulkhead being moved aft a few inches. I used to have the mentioned composite 169 and had to add lots of padding to achieve a secure fit.

Yes, it would be the very first original design RM Capella.

I’m not sure about a composite yet but thank you. I looked I didnt see it

It’s beautiful but a bit expensive for me. :slight_smile: I do have a kayak but eventually I will need something fits me better

I set out to buy a used Capella one time and when I was checking it, I discovered that the keel line was not quite straight. The owner tried to assure me that it was straight. Later he did admit that by golly it is a little bit off.

Whenever you’re looking at a poly boat–new, or used–always check the keel line. This almost always is going to be an eyeball exam, because of rocker. Trust your eyes and maybe get a couple other opinions. You don’t want a tweaked keel line. For that matter, you don’t want any warps anywhere in the boat. Polyethylene warps if it is stored improperly and some boats come out of the mold crooked.


Correct and comfortable fit is crucial. Subtle changes to seat fore/aft, foot braces or against bulkhead, hip padding, etc can make world of difference. All starts with right hull/cockpit size to you. Can be a daunting decision until you get into and out of enough boats to know what works.

Material choice is another factor with plastic and composite each having valid pros and cons. I will say that composite is much tougher than most assume. Plus you can fix minor and major dings to degree you would never know they inflicted.

Plenty of very fine used boats out there. Keep looking, buy one (or 2 or 10) and paddle often.


My Capella 166 RM 1st Gen is slightly too large for my body (US medium sized male overall, 5’9", 140 lbs, 31*31 pants, size 9 feet). But almost perfect after I added two foam blocks and moved the seat forward.

Mine is missing square hatches too, but previous owner made two DIY hatches with bungee cords, heavy duty tarp and marine tape. They work pretty well.

I think the rotomolded Capella is a very good compromise for durability, weight, hull design and budget.

I am selling my Capella 166 in Boston area for $280, if anyone is interested. I just have too many boats currently and wife is mad.

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I’ve owned a square hatch early Capella RM and the later round hatch RM, both from new. I regard the early square hatch one to be an excellent first sea kayak. The second one had awful weather helm in quartering winds even with the skeg fully down. YMMV.
I then graduated to a glass Nordkapp, a glass NDK Romany, and finally to my lightweight wood (32 pound) 17 ft 6 inch sea kayaks.

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Love my Capella 160 RM. It’s an '07 with round/oval hatches. It is a back up kayak now to an NDK Explorer, but still use it occasionally for 7 nm open water paddles and kayak surfing. Need to sell it to make more storage room. Posted in the classified section.

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Are you in South Carolina? I’m in pawtucket ri that’s way to far lol