Stellar S16 or WS Cape Horn 17

Hi All,

After renting kayaks for many years I’m think I’m ready to finally spend the money and buy a used one. My preferred style is to just paddle fast and straight (not as much as most of you though) but also go up some small coastal rivers/estuaries like on Cape Cad or LI Sound. I think I am an advanced beginner/intermediate, 5’-8" and 220 lbs. I am looking a getting a used kayak and trying to compare these two which are close in price. I am looking for some advice on how to decide and have some questions I am hoping some of you might be able to answer.

  1. The stellar is so much lighter than other glass kayaks, which sounds great, should I be worried about strength and durability or is there some compromise compared to the typical 50 lb kayaks?
  2. The bow design between these two is quite different with the S16 being rounded and the WS being much sharper with a high bow. Does it matter? Do I need to worry about the S16 with 2 or 3 foot swells?
  3. Are these too much boat, especially dealing with a 17’ boat.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.



Sharper high bow…usually does waves better, less digging.

A rudder or skeg would help following seas,.wind rounding up tendencies. Touring boats have that problem.

Stellars are generally strong enough. The S16 has concave which is opposite effect of rocker. Designed to go straight. (See above)

Too much kayak…to much what? That’s pretty much what we paddle , 17’,:in those type conditions.

Can you go paddle them both? That way you can see which fits you better. Personally I can’t see much reason (other than personal fit and comfort) not to prefer the lighter and narrower one, the Stellar. I can’t speak to the other questions.

I know a guy who has more kayaks than The Bob has canoes. He is an expert paddler who just tried an S16 and an S18. He prefers the 18.

Isn’t the WS Cape Horn 17 a long discontinued boat.? Must be quite a bit older,. Not sure what kind of hatches are on the old boat. Sometimes a problem getting new ones. No idea if this is the case for the WS boat. Stellar is a plumb bow design. Made for speed with a longer water line. The water line on the stellar is most likely longer than the bigger WS boat.
I would bet its narrower too. I have a plumb bow Tiderace Pace tour 17 and had a QCC 700x both plumb bow boats. Not surfing boats for sure but can handle swell with ease.

I’m not familiar with either of those boats, but > @Overstreet said:

Stellars are generally strong enough. The S16 has concave which is opposite effect of rocker. Designed to go straight. (See above)

I had no idea that the Stellar S16 had a concave hull. My Epic 16X isn’t that way, it’s quite maneuverable without the rudder deployed.


I have 2 Stellars, a S18, and a S16, to me they are both, much better than any Cape Horn, they are narrower, but very stable, i’m 72, and was worried, the Stella S18, would be too narrow for me, as I, usually paddle a wider kayak. But the Stellar surprised me, in the stability, never felt uncomfortable, the first time I used it. I prefer the S18, because its a little faster than the 16, both excellent kayak, and especially at 39.7 for the S18, 37 for the S16. I have had 2 cape horns, a poly, and a Cape Horn Pro., in the past, they are very old kayaks, and “heavy”, as far a durability, I think, they are fine, but I have different kayaks, for different places,

I don’t believe what Stellar is calling concavity is the opposite of rocker. I think it is with reference to the sides of the hull at the bow and stern areas.

The Stellar looks to have a minimum amount of rocker and the “concavity” is…

" We added a moderate concavity along the keel of the bow and stern to help with tracking in rough conditions."

So, as @magooch says, it’s really just a way to produce a moderate V at the bow and stern.

I’d go with the much more modern design of the Stellar.

Thanks to everyone for the info.

A follow up for rufus,sr - how does the boat handle in 3’ swells and windy conditions - does it track okay? At 220lbs will the boat sit low in the water, and how maneuverable is it with the rudder up? Thanks