P&H Capella RM - older vs new models

Can anyone fill me in on the main differences between the older P&H Capella RMs and the new ones? There are several older ones (used) for sale in area and they appear very similar to the current models except they only have 2 hatches/bulkheads rather than 3. The hatch covers also are squarish with rounded covers rather than round or oval. I am mainly concerned about whether the older Capellas would fit and handle the same as new ones. Also are the footrests, skeg and other details the same?

I am not sure about all of the details
but I do know there has been a recent change in the hull design of Capellas over the past year or so. The new composite Capellas have more noticeable transition between initial and secondary stability. When edged the recent composite Capellas seem to settle in on edge better than the older ones. I haven’t paddled the newer plastic Capellas but I hear they are more inline with the composite Capellas.

really a different kayak
different hull, different seat, different hatches, different…

different plastic
The newest capellas use 3 layer process, it results in lighter and stiffer hull. Some say it even resists scratches better.

The skeg has been improved as well.

Hatches - rounds seal better than squares.

As to hull shapes, don’t sweat it - this is your probably first, but not the last boat.

I too can’t answer but can tell you differences that I’ve run across. I have the older capella w/square (2) hatches. Love it!! So I thought that since I rave about my boat so much that my husband should try out a new plastic capella to see if he liked it too. We have a local outfitter store that allowed us to try one. They had one that they use for demo’s. Things I noticed when we had both of them strapped up on my truck to transport to the river: The “new” one already had a huge depression on the bottom, I’m told that’s called Oilcaning??? And that it can be taken out??? The plastic also didn’t seem to be as thick or solid feeling. Inside plastic edges on mine and the new one were both nice. Different backband, mines nicer. We didn’t buy the new boat, I felt my older one was nicer and you can’t beat used pricing vs new. I have had to replace the hatch covers but that was easy, just called their company located in NC and they shipped them out. Check out these older ones you’ve found and if you find one in really good shape, buy it!!! Make sure the plastic has been cared for, like not being stored outside in the sun and isn’t brittle. Take them for a demo and try rolling and a paddle rescue and sitting on the rear end to see if there’s any problems with the plastic. Check the hatch covers on the edges for cracks in the rubber. That’s where mine first started and if that’s the only problem they’re an easy fix. Check the working of the skeg cable, it should move smoothly. Covers cost about $110 for the pair, so use that to get the price reduced if you have to. I like the older capella and think it’s a very well made boat that paddles well in calm and ruff conditions. Actually when I paddle with friends, because this boat is a bit big for me, I’m slower than most when the weather is fine, but when the winds kick up and there’s ruff water, I’m ahead of everyone else!!

I am pretty sure that the used Capellas I am looking at were made with the 3-layer plastic. P&H started selling the 3-layer RMs in 2000, if my information is correct, so it’s been around a while.

My main issues concern the fit and handling. The new P&H kayaks I have tested so far (Capella 166 and Scorpio) fit me very well and the seats were very comfortable. I’m 5’11" tall and weigh 190+, so I hope the older models weren’t smaller and tighter fitting.

I plan to paddle any used boats before buying, but it might save me a long drive if I find out that the older Capella RMs had any problems that were resolved with new models.

older one more rocker?
I heard at one time the older version (the one I have in plastic) had more rocker. The older version, as mentioned by someone previously, is pretty slow. I’ve paddled the newer plastic version, and own a composite. I like the newer version, and I’ve only heard that the newer 3 layer stuff is superior. The square hatched Capellas are old boats - extreme discount boats at this stage. If there is any slight wavy warping on the bottom of the hull, I would consider it gone.

Any poly hulled boat strapped to a rack and left in the hot sun will warp and dent. That is just a lack of proper care. At this point I’m sure there are plenty of “new” versions of the Capella pretty much worn out or shot from being left in the sunshine. Just be cautious. I know I paid too much for what was left of my first sea kayak.

Thanks for the post as I saw one on Craigslist for sale in Greensboro. This was good information below as it looks like it was being stored outside on a shelf in the garage in full sunlight.

I’ll probably pass on it even tho the price is right…

Did you mean Greensboro NC?? I tried to look it up too but couldn’t find it. Did find a Capella, square hatches, in Swansboro NC. Pictures look nice but you really can’t tell anything from a picture.

Old vs. new I don’t know
But I do know that my 08 Capella 166RM is a very nice boat. The hatched are tight and well fitted the hull is plenty stiff and I like it a lot. The lay up is a lot nicer than on my Necky and it is a relatively lively boat. Turns on a dime and paddles faster than my old Eddyline. The new skeg design is simple and effective. I’m a big guy and maybe at the high end of the paddler they had in mind but I am very comfortable. Good boat- I must pass along my thanks to Ben L at P&H for the recommendation- I guess this is what he would approve of as a ‘real sea kayak’.