P&H Capella plastic

Hi folks,

As you may have seen from my earlier thread, I just bought a P&H Capella 166RM. I noticed a couple of inconsistencies in their add lit, and posts I read here.

My boat has minicell bulkheads, not welded ones. It is a former rental, but likely only a couple years old. The inside is white speckled with black and has a bit of texture. Does this mean it does or does not have the triple layer plastic?

Also, I thought I could detect a bit of a dent along the keel line after I transported it on foam blocks. However, it was -22 degrees so I didn’t look long. Would a heat gun or hair dryer be a good idea if it doesn’t pop back on its own come spring?

Finally, I have it lying on it’s side in a shed - is this the best method?


Capella 160
My wife has a Capella 160 RM, so I have some experience with the boats. About one or two years ago, P&H switched from welded bulkheads to minicell foam bulkheads. My wife’s is a 2005 model, which has the welded bulkheads. You can usually tell the year your boat was manufactured by the serial number on the kayak. I remember seeing on P&H’s website some information as to why they switched (lighter, etc). There was also a thread on this board maybe a year or two ago between a P&H Rep and a Valley guy (peter orton I think) debating the merits of foam vs. welded bulkheads. The grey-speckled inside means your boat is triple-ply. My wife’s has it, as does my Valley Aquanaut LV RM.

As for your possible dent, my experience with the triple-ply boats has been that they are pretty tough. We have yet to have any denting, warping, etc for ours, so it is difficult to suggest anything without seeing it.


Your Capella
Your Capella is a triple ply but with the newer, lighter Corelite as where as the older formulation was a tad heavier. The new formulation works better with foam bulkheads rather than the welded plastic bulkheads. As to wows developing on the bottom of the hull, P&H recommends transporting their kayaks on edge. Typically this is a stronger support for the kayak. When you carried it on the car I’m guess ing the front bar landed across the foot well area of the cockpit instead of nearer the front bulkhead. Not as much support there as compared to the seat or bulkhead areas. Storing it that way is fine too or you can place it on foam blocks on the areas of the bulkheads.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


If minicell bulkheads…
You probably want to get Lexel or similar - any good hardware store should have it - and run it around the edges of the bulkheads before you take it out. I had that kind of bulkhead in my old Squall, and they are fine except that, as a boat gets used and flexes, the seam around the edge of the bulkheads start to open up a bit. Nothing that’ll swamp a boat, but enough that you will find things getting a little damp.

I used to do it twice a year.

You should enjoy the boat. The only thing I’ve had to mess with in a P&H boats is because I have a rare bad response to how much the lip of the seat lifted in the front of my Vela as it ran forward. Most people like that, for me I had to chop out the front foam to flatten out the angle to avoid shooting pains up my hamstrings after a couple of hours. I was reluctant to take this step until a Team P&H guy suggested it.

Heat it up!
We have a pair of 166’s, and mine had the same problem. It had 3/4" difference from my wife’s boat at the front of the rim, and was very visible when they were side by side on the roof. I tried letting the sun heat it up for a few hours on a 60 degree fall day, but that wasn’t enough to pop it back into place. My dealer said to really heat it up with a salamander, but don’t melt it. I used a small propane salamander, a hair drier probably isn’t enough. My first try, I really didn’t warm it enough, but a day later I really warmed up the bottom from seat to front bulkhead to the point that it was almost to hot to leave my hand on for more than a few seconds. At that point, I put (wedged) some wood bracing between the floor and the front of the cockpit rim, with a 1x2 along the “V”. It went right back to the proper shape, then I let it cool before removing them, and it has stayed that way since. Very important to make sure the roof rack hits on the bulkheads. Make sure to use big heat carefully over a larger area, with even heating, not just concentrated on one spot. GREAT boats. Hope that helps. Marc

When I tied it on the roof, I didn’t have my racks, as it is December. I used the foam blocks and with the sunroof and antenna on my car, I was a bit limited. Of course, at -25 degrees, I never considered that it would bend. I suspect it might just go back when it thaws, but, if not, I will use the heat gun like I have with Royalex canoes. I never knew what a salamander was, but looked it up. Maybe I can find someone who has one - it looks like it would throw more heat more quickly.

Thanks for the tips, as always.

when summer comes around…
set the boat upside down outside on a hot day under direct sunight. The heat will soften the plastic, and the dent should pop out. If that doesnt do it for you, turn the boat right side up, lay hot wet towels over the dent, then put it under the sun again. If that doesnt work, lay the kayak on sawhorses, pour some hot water into the hull, wait a few mins, dump it out, then try pushing it out and/or setting it out in the sun again.

Heat Gun
I have one too, but I was a little nervous about the intense heat in a small area. I didn’t want the boat to melt like I was peeling vinyl floor tile. The sally gave a bigger heat pattern, if that makes sense. I would have to doubt that it will come out with the thaw. I wedged styrofoam in mine, and put it belly up at the sun for five days (Michigan fall) before I decided to use heat. It’s probably because of the triple ply. I’m going to try to rig a reverse quick grip clamp with a keel board between the rim and floor, so that when I tie them down next summer, the noses will stay up. It just seems that you have to be a little more aggressive with the three layer boats than the singles as far as using sun and hot water in our colder climates. July and August will surely be a different story. Marc

Side or upside down on padded racks
try to place rack bars at bulkheads. Best way ids upright standing on bow or end, but that typically is not practical at home. Carry on car deck down on padded cross bars.

Have fun with the boat and don’t get all anal. Plastic boats at best are imperfect…every one of them. It wont matter so long as the keel is straight.

Paddle the boat and beat it up

Hot Water
If one feels a need to take dents out of plastic boats, heating up hot water then letting it sit on the dent followed by some sort of weight (stone) being placed on the dent has removed them in a couple of boats that I have done it to, but be prepared to see the dents slowly reappear to those spots so has others have said, probably better to just paddle them. Main advantage of hot water is it is less likely to over heat the plastic like a hair dryer or heat gun are capable of doing.