Romany v Capella

how long to wait?
The Nordkapp LV looks as if it will be very neat, as does the Aquanaut LV. However, sometimes Valley boats appear a year or more later than promised.

The Nordkapp is not a playful boat and I’m not sure if the LV version will be playful in the same way as an Avocet, Romany, etc…

If one is thinking of longer Valley boats, an Aquanaut is already more responsive than a Nordkapp, so I would guess that an Aquanaut LV might be more so than the Nordkapp LV.

Paddled all three
boats mentioned extensively. Chatham outperforms the Romany all round for me, if you fit it, which I do. It has a better “way on edge turn” (for me)and is just great in rough seas. The Coaster is the best of all for surf play, but I had to tweak the outfitting (no big deal). All three are fast enough for touring, especially in big water. None are fast… All three are fun, playful kayaks. I gave my Romany away after five years of fun with it. Pintail is another excellent boat. Some here like the Tempests as well. The 170 left me uninspired, but I hear good about the 165, which just by dimmensions would be my choice between those two. It’s subjective stuff really, and you gotta buy what YOU think paddles best for you.

More on Vela
I am real close to your wife’s size - same height and several to 10 pounds lighter based on how active I’ve been. (and how many servings of cheetos that week) The Vela works well, though admittedly it took a little fitting to get it quite right since I am accustomed to a pretty tight fit in my Explorer LV. We moved the seat to its forward position (there are holes for two positions in the seat), and I have added about a half an inch of minicell under the thigh braces. Those two changes made a very pleasant and noticeable diff.

As to the characteristics of the Vela - it is very quick from a standstill. Like any shorter boat it does hit a wall somewhere around 4 knots, but from zero to 4 is a whole lot faster than my LV. The primary stability is easy to get accustomed to - probably less than the Capella from my recall of that boat - but the secondary stability is quite solid.

AS Jim said above, it’s a really fun boat. It’ll easily do manuvers and handle bigger water for you as well. While I wouldn’t mind if they had lowered the front deck an inch, the back deck is quite low. Back deck rolls, that kind of thing are great. It rolls itself and turns on a dime as long as I remember that the stern is a little tighter than in my LV, but at 15’8" it’s an easy adjustment to make.

One of the nicer things about this boat is that, unlike many others out there, I don’t have to add weight to it to get a more perfect waterline. At anywhere under 150 pounds, most boats out there tend to ride a little high. I’ve gotten used to it, but if you are going to go out and play a good bit it is nice to have one boat where I don’t have to think about it.

By the way, if you are a somewhat light packer you could still camp out of this boat. The rear hatch is a quite large oval, so even with the shorter length and low height it is still probably easier to get gear into the Vela than my LV with its 10" rounds.

On my crca II course
I had the opp to try out the romany and the explorer…keep in mind that I am 110% biased towards my P&H Sirius. I think I could be fairly happy in either boat. I found the romany was just lacking a little in what I wanted when paddling across currents and swells. The explorer was just a little too big for me. I stand at five foot seven inches, and weigh 141 pounds. I find any boat with a 21 inch beam plus, just feels simply too large for me.

HOWEVER, if anyone came to me and asked about my opinion on these boats (brit boats) I would smile and tell them, “no worries, its a brit boat, you’ll love it.”


What don’t you like…
…about your Capella’s handling? It’s a very maneuverable boat, so I don’t see where you’d gain anything with a Romany, Anas Acuta or Pintail.


– Last Updated: Sep-01-05 2:46 PM EST –

I was very impressed with the Nordkapp's manueverability when put on edge.

I think the Nordkapp might be a bit more maneuverable than an aquanaut (also a nice boat). But you have to edge it.

The Nordkapp might be a good compromise between manueverability and speed.

I'd love to try the LV version.

seat fwd?
you moved the seat forward in the Vela?

do you find the front tracking a bit tight with the additional pitch fwd?

I find the Vela, and some other P&H boats for that matter, have rather stiff tracking bows in relationship to the looser tracking sterns. JMObservations.


seat fwd, result
I’ve only had the Vela out twice since we moved the seat up, on shorter evening paddles, and have ended up with some responsibility on each. So I’ve spent more time paying attention to other paddlers than my own boat. Not super deep time in the Vela overall - just picked it up a couple of weeks before we left for Maine where I lived in the Explorer LV.

That said, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a loose stern feeling in the Vela per se. But I am used to “loose” as defined by the bow of my LV, which is very loose. The stern of the Vela seems more manuverable than its bow, but both ends of it still feel tighter than my LV. For example, it goes backwards straight (regardless of seat position) with a lot less careful paddling from me than the LV. (Skeg up in both cases.) I should try some backwards figure 8’s with it when I am next out - that’d probably spot the bow/stern diff’s better.

Given a choice I’d rather push the stern of the Vela around for a quick manuver than the bow - it gets so nicely low in back and it just seems more accessible for a quick scootch over. At slightly under 15’8" it becomes less boat fast back there.

With the seat moved forward I noticed that I am tracking a little more dogmatically straight going forward, so I am probably dug a bit more down up there. But overall, at 135 pounds I’m not sure that I made much of an impression with the seat move.

The last time I was in a Nordkapp(H2O)I felt as if I was skittering on top of the water much more so than my Aquanaut when unladen. I felt I just didn’t have enough weight in the boat for it to perform. The Naut seems to be more fluid rolling onto its side and turning than the Nordkapp. The Kapp felt a bit less smooth or fluid.

I would love to try the Nordkapp LV!

the capella is a good boat
Generally I think it performs well. I do find its a bit less predictable in rougher water than my coaster or chatham although that may not be a fair comparison. The rounded chines also make the boat a bit more likely to roll over than say an explorer and so I find you definitely have to be comfortable keeping it up on edge and bracing. If you do get knocked down , the capella is very easy to roll back up. Reentry and roll is easy too, cowboy reentry is a bit more of a challenge (if you have long legs) and requires a solid sculling brace. You are right in that overall it handles well, I guess I just keep thinking about something “better”.


Try if you fit in a Vela. It’s really a great boat, I don’t understand why they are relatively unkown.

I didn’t move the seat because now I can lift up my knees to get my legs in-/outside. No need to sit on the deck and glide in (or fall into the water…), just sit in and put your legs inside. Once again, the fit is perfect. Carrying is easy, too. I recently walked with a partially loaden Vela on my shoulder about a mile.

Another option for a fast playable boat is the Skim Dex, a new design getting very popular here in Europe.