Point 65 Crunch/group poly test: first report.^

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Douglas Wilcox
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Point 65 Crunch/group poly test: first report.^

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:07 pm

Tested the Point65 Crunch, Valley Avocet and Aquanaut, P&H Capella 166 in Solway
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and
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Loch Lomond.

All boats were 2005 and from the Knoydart and SPS demo fleets so should give some idea of what your own boat would be like after a year.

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All group testers need a trailer!

First day had flat water low tide at Carrick on the Solway. When the tide came in the sea got bumpy with a force 5 againt the tide. Speed tests were carried out at slack water in lee of Ardwall island. 2nd day was flat water force 0-3 on Loch Lomond.

Crunch looks good, it was lightest at 27 kg (Aquanaut was 31.5kg)

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Note how the sun shines through the thin plastic of the Crunch's bow.

The Crunch was the most flexible but that did not seem to affect performance in waves.


The Crunch's burst speed was fastest 11.3 km/hr (Avocet was 8.3 km/hr)

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Note the yellow Crunch bow which gives a long waterline length for speed.


The Crunch was least manouverable (unlike its composite sibs the XP and XRay) most manouverable was Avocet.

Despite the V bottom it had good primary stability but very little 2y stability (capella was most stable)
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The Capella is very stable on an edge.

Crunch was cheapest £846 (capella £990) but it does not have a skeg option and with the rudder costs £988

It was well finished but the Valley boats had best finish, Capelle the worst.

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The Avocet was very well finished.

The Sealline adjustable footrests on the Crunch rudder version performed faultlessly, despite frequent changeovers. The Yakima alloy tracks on the Valley boats and the Capella (6 tracks in all) seized up: junk bit of kit (I know the old, all plastic keepers track bent but they reamained adjustable.)

The rudder did make the Crunch more manouverable, it did not break but the back of the Crunch flexed a lot when turning hard at speed.


The Crunch seat was comfortable, but the back rest was the least comfortable. I do not like the new P&H seat in the composite boats but several beginners commented on the comfort it offered in the Capella. The Valley backrest was excellent for comfort and for rentries. The Capella seat back hindered wet reentries.

The knee position in the Crunch was the least comfortable.

The Valley boats rolled easiest (the Crunch rolled well but hurt my knee. The Capella was a dog to roll due to the very wide cockpit and the knee braces which were pretty ineffective.

The Crunch leaked quite badly through the rear two hatches, the new foam bulkheads did not leak, they held the water in. The Valley boats were bone dry but I broke my fingernails on the hatch covers. The Capella hatches were easy to get on and only let in a tiny dribble.
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Testing the waterproofnerss of the Avocet hatches.

Nothing broke on the Crunch. The Avocet skeg wire kinked above the skeg and at the contol end. The Capella skeg control fell to pieces before during and after the test.

I floated quite low in the Crunch, I would not care to overload it. The Capella took my weight + 30 kg of weight (quite a lot in total) with ease as did the Aquanaut.
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The Aquanaut loaded with paddler +30kg.
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Capella with 30kg of gear. Both the above had still plenty of freeboard left and a 10 stone paddler found both the Capella and Aquanaut blew about in a force 3 wind.
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and felt much more comfortable in an Avocet
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or Crunch

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Although the Aquanaut was bouyant, it was still very manouverable.
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and responded to edging to counteract weathercocking even in a fresh wind.

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The carrying handles on the Crunch are easily the best I have seen on a kayak and all boats should have them.


Full test to follow in Paddles, but if you want to have a poly boat, want the cheapest, want the fastest, want the lightest, dont like carrying anything in the boat, like carrying the boat and like going in straight lines get a Crunch!

Both the Aquanat and the Capella were poular with the bigger beginners. Some found the Capella more comfortable than the Aquanaut.

What about me? Well I actually liked the Avocet a lot! I paddled one this time last year courtesy of Jersey canoe club but found it hard trying to keep up with KevinM in his Jubilee! So perhaps I overlooked its other charms. I think it would make a great first boat to keep as a "rockhopper" once you got a glass expedition boat.

Thanks to Scottish Paddler Supplies and Knoydart for the demo boats.


Douglas.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:17 pm

I keep reading these comments about Capella skegs, and I'm baffled.

We have a Capella which has seen serious use, and there have been no problems with any of the quality or construction at all. After over a year and several big trips I re-sealed the bulkheads with sealant stuff as they had begun to seep, that's the only work that's been needed.

What exactly went wrong?
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Douglas Wilcox
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Capella skeg contol

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:52 pm

Hello Mark,

the first thing to happen was the stainless rod that supports the black slider pushed back into its rearmost mount, leaving the front floating free. I managed to push it back forward through some thick black sealant which you can see sticking to the rod. The next thing was the slider's grub screw loosened off and because I did not have my Quest with tool kit, I did not have an Allen key of the right size. Then when we lifted the boat out the water the skeg fell out. draging the cable out of its front hole. As the end was frayed we could not push it back in.

The cable run itself was working very freely as demonstrated by the fact the skeg fell out under its own weight.

Speaking to others this only seems to be a problem with recent Capellas.

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Nothing that cant be easily fixed but not what you would expect on a nearly new boat costing nearly a grand.

Also notice the bent Avocet wire in the foreground.

Douglas

JW

Post by JW » Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:17 pm

People may have seen my previous post on the Capella skeg problems, when 3 out of 4 boats had unworkable skegs from new. Well, they were fixed by Pyranha in the end, but...

the boats have been used for just one weekend since at a 'mini symposium' and 2 out of 4 now have broken skegs again.

I can't say for sure that they weren't damaged by the paddlers, but 2 paddling days between failures is not good!

JW

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:23 pm

Not good! "Fit for purpose" comes to mind - - -

john campbell
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Poly boats

Post by john campbell » Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:52 pm

For any larger paddlers out there who are looking for a poly boat it might be worth checking out the Prijon fleet - a new Kodiak (minus rudder, circa £110) will cost you just over £700 from Joel Watersports.

Happy paddling
John

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The Capella

Post by craigr » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:16 pm

Hello--I'm a little disappointed..I own a Capella 160 RM and have really enjoyed it with no skeg problems. I, too had some issues with the thigh braces, but adjusted them back a little and it solved the rolling issue for the most part. Anyway, I was thinking about buying the 166 at a local dealer, but after reading here, I'm not so sure! I'm not huge (6'1") but the boat seemed a good fit fo me....any thoughts?

By the way, I'm new on this forum, and live in the US.

Thanks,

Craig

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:18 pm

We currently have a 2006 spec Capella on test. We will look closely at the skeg issue and let you know what we think.
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craigr
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Capella

Post by craigr » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:53 pm

Thanks..

any other comments welcome.
Craig

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:54 pm

Hello Craig,

I spoke to Cam Allan, UK Sales manager of Pyranha, at the recent Scottish show in Perth. He told me there had been skeg problems with a small number of boats but the design had now been changed.

Personally I found the Capella to be my favourite of the group in terms of performance and handling for my weight (85kg) . Despite their apparent similarities these 4 poly boats had considerable ergonomic differences, so it would pay to test before you buy.

If you test the skeg in the store or a demo and it is working, it is unlikely to cause you any problem in the future. With the test boat I had, the problem was one of assembly and not of design. From discussions on this board and elsewhere it sounds like poor assembly was the common factor to the other faulty skegs.

A friend on the Solway bought a 2005 Capella 166 on my recommendation and both he and I have enjoyed paddling it, it is an excellent boat.

Douglas.

craigr
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The Capella

Post by craigr » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:43 pm

Thanks, Douglas.

As I mentioned before, I do have a Capella 160 RM and the skeg operation seems to be fine. For the moment (child on way to university!) I'm going to stay with less expensive boats, although I also have an older 'glass boat that needs a little work. That's why the second Capella would work really well for me, that is the 166 version. I should be able to get my hands on one here, new, for a great price. Above all, I'm proud to paddle a British boat, and really think it's some of the most fun I've had since I started paddling 8 years ago.

I'm not an expert (I do teach inetrmidiates locally), but I have a decent roll and some bracing skills and paddle on small lakes to large rivers to the Great Lakes (Erie) so a stong, reliable boat is important to me, even in the Mid-Western US.

Warm regards,

Craig

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Post by active4seasons » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:47 pm

Regarding skeg problems,
why can't a manufacturer use a cable with two stainless steel rods at each end, for the bits that are not supported by the outer cable. The central portion (enclosed in the outer) should have a greese nipple in to prevent water ingress and we may all be happy.
I would trademark this idea but can't be bothered - just give me some free cables once it has been developed for my fleet of 6 plastic boats.
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Post by mikeybaby » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:09 pm

Very Intersting reading.

Any thoughts on how the new poly nordkapp would fair against the group?

MC

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Post by ManxKayaker » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:44 pm

My kajaksport Viviane has a rod instead of a cable and it works a treat.

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Post by jurgenk » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:20 am

Purchased a 2005 Capella 166 RM from Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC)in Vancouver about six months ago and the problem that I had with the skeg was that the poly tubing that the skeg cable ran in would flex as it was not attached to the inner seam (except by a small plastic clip in the day and rear compartments). The force applied to the control would then be lost in this flex and the skeg would not deploy fully. I contacted MEC about this and when the person I talked to tried the skegs on new boats he found the same problem. Pyranha was contacted and they sent me a new skeg and cable and I have still to Sikaflex the poly tubing to the inner seam to counteract the problem.

Love the boat (for plastic I think it a good choice) and would buy one again but the design of the skeg cable needs some work. Nice review Douglas as it is rare where you see the poly boats compared to each other.
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Post by DaveB » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:23 pm

I have a second hand plastic Capella (2 hatches only so that means it is about 4 years old?). The thigh grips are made of fairly bendy black plastic and make rolling unreliable. I have padded the inside of the hull around the thigh area to improve the fit but since weight/force must still come on the thigh grip as the boat rotates I think there is still a chance that my knee/thigh will pop out of place. Pyranha/P and H say that the fitted grips are the only type they supply. Has anybody any suggestions for stiffening the grips in any way?
On a separate point, how far should the skeg drop when fully deployed? Should it go vertical below the hull or just point diagonally downwards?

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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:43 pm

Hi Dave the skeg sould only come down with the leading edge about 40 degrees from horizontal. When paddling with the bow away from the wind only pull it down enough to stop the bow swinging into the wind as you paddle.

Most paddlers find thigh grips are never quite suited to their anatomy, experiment with some ethafoam, evostic and duct tape!

Douglas

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Post by active4seasons » Tue Jan 17, 2006 7:12 pm

Dave, don't tape yourself in just the extra carrymat etc!

Not sure you should be bracing that hard when bringing up a sea kayak, it should be a nice slow roll and doesn't require a big hip flick which might unseat you. Sometimes it makes sense to slide your hands along the shaft a bit to give you more leaverage - head down waiting for traditionalists abuse!
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Post by DaveB » Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:35 am

Thanks for the last two tips. Acombination of extra padding and an adjustment to my roll technique seem to be in order.

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Post by active4seasons » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:25 pm

No problem, hope to see you out there some time,
Ollie
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Post by mattouthere » Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:58 pm

Save youself all the hassles and get a Wilderness Sytems Tempest. Expensive at £1100-£1200 for a plastic boat but the most comfortable, adjustable and highest quality ive paddled.

Only my opinion though.

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Post by runswick2000 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:54 am

MarkR wrote:We currently have a 2006 spec Capella on test. We will look closely at the skeg issue and let you know what we think.
I paddled this boat yesterday in an offshore wind with some swell coming from the opposite direction. Allthough a novice these seemed to be reasonably testing conditions for a skeg. I have to say it performed faultlessly and did exactly what it should have done in terms of aiding directional stability. At one point, approaching St Aldhelm's head, the sea was reasonably confused and though the boat felt lively, it always felt stable. As a newcomer to the sport this was reassuring!

Incidentally, from what I can see the thigh pads have also been significantly improved and were very comfortable and really helped when edging the boat.

Alltogether, I was very impressed and this boat has gone straight to the top of my list. It may not be the most exciting thing around......however it seems to do everything an improver needs the boat to do and was very comfortable to boot (in my book this is hugely important).
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