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Capella 163 vs 167 vs Cetus


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Caveat. I have been paddling a long time, but don't have the tech vocabulary or experience in the variety of other sea kayaks that many of you have. Hope you have many grains of salt.

I tried the 163, 167 and Cetus at Osprey today. Flat water with a solid wind.

163 - Love the fit, love the solid feel. While paddling, the boat seemed solid and heavy (heavy good as in solid) but it paddled lightly. Turned well, and for its size, it tracked well and was fast and efficient. Managed to skin one shin getting out and I am only 5'7", so this is not just a problem for the tall guys. On investigations, I think what is causing the problem is a rounded ridge which is an inch or two below the deck around the cockpit opening in the front.

167 - I was really surprised how similar and how different this boat was. It again fit very well. The cockpit is a bit bigger, but I still felt as if I was wearing the boat (I like this), however, no more shin skinning. While paddling, the boat seem solid and heavy (heavy good as in solid) but it paddled lightly. It tracked on a rail, but did not turn as well as I had hoped it would. Of course it is not suppose to turn as well as the 163, but I felt as if I would not have fun in the rocks with this boat. Is it me?

Cetus - Other's comments are right on. Doesn't feel like such a long boat. Felt lighter, quicker than the others. The carry weight was fine, it turned quickly and was fast straight ahead. Everone I think is saying the same thing about wind effects. Seems squirrelly but you have to learn how to do things differently in this boat. Carl use those terms. He also said that with just his normal day gear in the bow, the boat did handle much better. Still does not track like an explorer, but does other things better. I hope to go down again soon and try it in waves and wind with a bit of ballast in the front.

One other note about the Cetus. Love the 4th hatch, but the tube created for it under the deck does make it harder to take your feet off the pegs and stretch them out in the middle of the boat. With a little bit of experimentation, I found I had enough room for this, but I have a very short lower torso (29" inseam). Maybe P&H should put a hatch in the tube (under the deck) so you can stretch your logs through it - just kidding.

Conclusion: Cetus is an intriguing boat as all have said. A boat that it seems good paddlers want to own right away. I want to learn how to make it work for me. Want one.


Al Coons

Eddyline Nighthawk


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Hi Al,

Haven't seen you in quite a while.

I was surprised at how lifeless the 167 felt...with a decided discontinuity between edging and response. And I skinned shins pretty badly.

I hope the Cetus doesn't weathercock as badly as my old LookshaIV, but for short-moderate distances in non-gale conditions I trust that I'll love it. It'll be interesting to see if I keep my Force 5 for day-long outings on windy days...if I can ever get a comfortable seat installed!

Note that P&H/Piranha is quoting 4-5mos delivery as of yesterday.

So I'll probably not get mine until after the turkey shoot at best. Sigh....


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Hi Ern.

Sorry I have not been at Mystic on Tuesdays. This spring has been very different for me.

Suz Hutchinson was kind enough to let some of us experiment with the 163, 167, and Cetus off Pavillion beach right after the storm last night.

I tied the 167 again and I think it turned fine. Must have been something I ate that day.

I added some weight (filled water bottles) to the bow of the Cetus. However it was the first time I had had it in waves - the wind was pretty low. The bow did seemed to stay down. It still turns and spins incrediably quickly. Suz ( and the others) were very helpful and patient as I trying to learn how to paddle the Cetus. Not sure if I need the weight or not.

In fact, I learned that as soon as it begins to turn I need to stop edging or it will turn too far. It is definitely different than what I am use to. Those that paddled it like it. It is different. I think I will stop making generalizations because the others that paddled it are far more expert than I am.

However, I just picked up new red cetus at Charles River so the search is over and the real learning begins.

Thanks to Osprey, Charles River, and Suz and the others paddlers last night (Peter, Werner, and Bill). Cannot imagine a more helpful and supportive group.


Eddyline Nighthawk


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