WS Cape Horn 17'

I saw a WS Cape Horn for sale used. I am looking for a sea kayak to paddle on the lakes and creeks in my area in Alabama. I also am looking for a boat to do some overnight camping. I am a female 5’7" and 178Lbs. Would this boat be a good fit? I am new to paddling. Does anyone know anything about this boat? They are asking 799.00 with a skirt, deck bag and cockpit cover.

I look forward to all of your opinions. Thank you.

Nice kayak

– Last Updated: Jun-19-10 7:06 PM EST –

My friend has a Cape Horn and it's a nice kayak. I'm 6' 190 lbs and there was lots of room to move around and stretch. This is different for me since my kayaks are of lower volume. I would have to pad it out for better fit. I didn't peek inside the hatches but I'm betting there's ample room for gear. What I did like about it was it had good tracking and was plenty fast. It turns really well too. The stability is good and you should feel confident in it in no time.


The Cape Horn 170
might be a little large, i.e. high on the sides of the cockpit and this might interefere with your paddle stroke. You’ll have to try it out to know.

Be sure to read the reviews on if you haven’t seen those yet.It is a very roomy kayak, but the Cape Horn 170 paddles well and you’ll have a ball. Two of my customers want nothing else when they paddle as the boat fits them well, but each is around 6’ and 190 lbs.

I just sold one with a rudder here in SW Florida for $650 and the people who tried it fell in love with the boat. There’s another in N. Florida for $700 on Craigslist.

You’ll have LOTS of storage room, and be able to learn a great deal from using the boat.


Yeah… Large
The 15 foot version would probably be a better fit. Paddle some boats before you buy.

I’d suggest Cape Horn 15
As another suggested, I’d go with the Cape Horn 15 in this series. It matches your size better. It was my first kayak. I still paddle it often when loaning my 18 foot fiberglass kayak to friends, and I still like it. Good combination of stability, reasonable speed, and maneuverability. You can feel stable from the beginning, but as you go along you can also learn to edge, brace, and roll. Mine has a rudder (I think most do) but I literally never used it. It has a little built-in keel which acts like a skeg.

Cape Horn
is a good old style great for beginners. Those who have them can rightfully hold onto and enjoy them.

Wilderness Systems discontinued the Cape Horn series for the Tsunamis - but IMO someone who wants a full on seakayak would be better off looking past the Tsunamis, which are a transitional style (albeit one many people enjoy, and come in a wide range of sizes)

So if you like the Cape Horn style and you are looking around for a great first boat, take Kudzu’s advice & try a bunch.

There are other kayaks that will fit you better and be quicker (assuming you get a good forward stroke).

A boat 14-16 feet makes sense for twisty creeks and the well appointed ones will get you out & safely back on big water.

Used plastic boats that you might like to try are the Necky Chatham 16, the Dagger Alchemy 140L (14 feet, newer model, harder to find used), the P&H Capella 16, the Hurricane Aquasports Tracer at 16’5" or the Tampico 140S (the one w. thighbraces). Eddyline makes a really nice do all boat at 15’3" - the Fathom LV. Current Designs Squall is another classic design that may fit you and your intended paddling very well.

Valley Avocet in roto is a well liked boat by outfitters for students and a very popular first seakayak (16 feet). Also in this category is the P&H Easky series, particularly the 13 & 15. The newer Scorpio LV from P&H also belongs on your list.

Look around also for a WS Zephyr 15, a P&H Scorpio LV or a Dagger 140L all newer to the market, and harder to find used, but worth consideration.

IMO the easiest of those boats to find used (& reasonable, about the same as the Cape Horn or less) are the Squall, Chatham, Capell Valley Avocet. Any one of the ones listed above are worth a drive to try, and other folks will jump in w. more suggestions too.

The boat that initially feels a little tippy is a boat you can grow with. Leave room for your paddle skills to improve and “paddle up to” the boat’s potential.

Look for paddle shops in your area that have demo days.

Take a class w. an outfitter. Join an area paddle club.

All great quickstarts for a new paddler & easy way to find out about/try diff boats - as well as essential gear like paddles, pfds, pumps and drybags, good paddling clothing for your area, and good-to-have stuff like kayak carts and rack systems.

Take your time and enjoy the process of demoing and you’ll have a boat you can enjoy and learn with for many seasons.