Does anyone have experience paddling a Vela?
I would appreciate any comments on how it handles
and rolls, especially in comparison to other
smaller british kayaks such as the Avocet or
Has anyone actually weighed their P&H kayak to
see how it compares with manufacturers listed weights? Wondering if they tend to run heavy like other british composite kayaks.
Does anyone have experience paddling a Vela?
My Capella is less
My Kevlar Capella is actually about 1/2 lb less than quoted weight. I love my Capella, the fit and finish on P&H boats is top notch.
Good Boat For Small Paddlers
I played with it several times in a pool session. I’m 5’3" and 140 lbs and it’s one of the few boats that fit like a glove for me. Sculls and rolls very well.
Haven’t actually paddled in outside but the couple of folks I know who paddle it like it. They don’t seem to have any noticeable problems with tracking it in windy conditions. It’s not the fastest boat given it is just under 16 feet compared to many of the 16-17’ plus touring boats out there. But it does fine for the speed that is often use in the average touring group - 3 to 4 MPH. Plus it doesn’t require the same kind of muscle that is needed to get the longer boats to speed.
As mentioned by No Quarter, the PH boats are very nicely made boats with no complaints of QC.
is really small, it is only 15'9" and 21 inches wide. It is a really excellent small kayak. No P&H listed weights are accurate to the build weight and they do no run heavy on the layup. P&H vacuum bag's the glass and does not do a hand-layup like Valley or NDK.
As far as handling, the Vela is nimble and light, quick to turn, and has hard chines, making it less tender for it's beam. It rolls really well. I am 170 lbs and 5'8" I am too big for it really, but I could do all of my greenland rolls and braces in it quite easily. I really recommend this kayak if your are someone who is short and light, 5'7" or less and 150 lbs or less.
If not the Sirius is a really terrific kayak I can't say enough about.
re: Thumbs up for the Vela
As a previous Vela owner I will give the kayak high marks. Quality build. Easy to maneuver. It tracks well for a sub 16 footer. Mine weighed in at 48 lbs including hatches. It maybe a little “tender” for a beginner, but you will grow into it. I go 5’ 9", 150 lbs. and the Vela fit me just fine. Why did I part with it? I found that I just could not keep place with my brother’s 18’ Eddyline Falcon, particularly in confused waters. It didn’t help that he is a bit stronger paddler, and neither did the Falcon’s extra 2’ of wetted waterline. P&H recently released a new boat called the Bahiya. According to the crew at NESC it is a longer and larger volume version of the Vela.
I’ve only demoed a Vela for a short time. It felt much smaller than my Avocet – more than you’d think by comparing the hull dimensions. The cockpit is clearly designed for smaller paddlers, and it’s easier for a small/light person to edge than the Avocet. It’s on the short list of boats I suggest for folks under 160 lbs.
Avocet vs. Vela
I agree. The Avocet has a far larger cockpit than the Vela. Too big for my personal liking. I also found that the Avocet did not quite track as well, but it did have greater initial stability.
Was your 48pound vela fiberglass or kevlar layup?
and beautifully done. I’m no heavy weight, so I wanted an easy lift to my roof rack. The boat that eventually replaced my Vela, a NF Sihouette runs about 5 lbs heavier (in Kevlar). At nearly 18’ in length it is not quite as easy to lift, balance and rack. I figure 55 lbs would be about my limit, unless I had help. Particularly after a long day on the water.
i’ve been paddling my carbon/kevlar vela for almost 4 years. i am 5’4" and 120 lb… This boat is perfect for me. I can roll it, it tracks well, but I agree that it is not as fast as longer boats. I haven’t weighed it, but can balance it easily on my shoulder and place it on top of a full size suv by myself. it is a beautifully finished boat, bulk heads always dry. i have no complaints, although the new longer version sounds interesting…
re: P&H Bahiya
The Bahiya does look like a nice boat, but regrettably it is not really designed with the smaller paddler in mind. According to the P&H website the minimum recommended load for the boat is around 154 pounds. If you weigh in at 120 lbs, you still need over 30 pounds of gear or ballast to trim it out.
I would tend to agree
with that assessment of the bahiya, it is really just a long version of the sirius with hard chines.