I generally do not write on blogs, but I’ve been so disappointed that I just have to share. From the first time in the water, the boat has always tracked to the right, and when sitting flat in the water, it leans to one side. One of my first trips with it was on Lake Superior, and I had to fight to keep it going straight even with the Skeg down and in relatively calm conditions. All summer, the boat has been a frustration, and with a brand new Capella 160, it should have been the best summer ever. Each time I paddled, I thought to myself "you just have to endure this boat for a couple of years until you save up enough money to upgrade out of a plastic boat." Prior to that, my plan was to eventually get a non-plastic boat in addition to the Capella.
Anyway, I kept hoping the problem was with me and continued to work hard on technique. When I attended the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium, I had one of the instructors try it, and he told me the problem was not me but that the boat was faulty. When I got home, I had a couple of experts from my local paddling group look at it, and they discovered a defective seat. They thought that Venture surely must have put out a recall by now. I took the boat back to the place where I purchased it (a four hour drive round trip), and the store employees had me leave it so they could call the vendor about a new seat. Venture did not respond to them, and they tried to fix the seat for me by shaving it off on one side and reinstalling it. When I went back to pick up my boat (another four hour drive), I looked at the other brand new Venture Capella 160 that was on the showroom floor. It had exactly the same problem with the seat as mine and was just sitting there waiting for another unsuspecting customer to put through hell.
When I got my "fixed" boat home, it still tracked to the right, and I let the store know. Finally the stores paddling manager did reach someone at Pyranha and was told that if I wasn't satisfied that Venture would stand behind the boat and replace it. I was told that Venture wanted me to be happy with my purchase. I still had problems so I requested that that Venture send a new non-defective boat. When the paddling manager called Pyranha with the request, Venture went back on their word. Venture told the paddling manager that they will not replace my boat. Venture also told him that they didn't know the seats were defective. Now maybe it's just me, but I find it very hard to believe that I am the only person in the world that has noticed the problem of defective seats on Venture Capella 160s that were produced in the first half of 2013; and I've personally found it on two different boats all within a few months to boot. I mean, really?
Anyway, Pyranha now told him that they would not stand behind the boat. They said they'll send a new seat but not replace the boat. They compared it to shoes and said that if your shoe lace broke, you would not replace the shoe. Well, I'll tell you this, if I purchased a $1500.00 pair of shoes, and the shoe lace was broken before I even left the store with the shoes, I would definitely get those shoes replaced. The analogy is laughable. And really, how many times have you purchased shoes that have broken laces before you even put the shoes on your feet? I should also mention that I've used Ventures website to contact the customer service department twice and have heard nothing back even though the website states "Customer Service is a top priority here at Venture." They also didn't respond to a question I posted on Facebook. All I wanted is what I purchased in good faith in the first place; a new non-defective Venture Capella 160 that I could enjoy for years to come. I don't think that was asking too much.
One additional side note, perhaps I should have been more leery when I got my new Venture Capella 160 home and discovered that it did not have its Serial Number etched into the hull. The Serial Number was on the paperwork but not on the boat. I asked several people about it and was assured that it happens sometimes and that it wasn’t a big deal. I now wonder if Venture was trying not to take ownership for having produced a defective sea kayak; though I’m sure that’s probably stretching it on my part.
I'm a 200lb, 6' long time ww and surf kayaker but new to sea kayaks and distance.
Demo'd the Capella versus several other 16' playful class kayaks, Chatham and Tempest, etc. Capella seemed faster and better tracking, but then also was super comfortable leaned on edge for turns either at speed or rest. Other boats seemed quite twitchy on edge. Other boats spun faster when flat but seemed to suffer in speed and tracking. Edged turns reminded me on my english gate practice back in the old dancer style boats. Best of both worlds.
Did some roll, reentry and roll, paddle float entry practice. Rolling was way easy skirt or not. First outing, paddled 8 miles in wind, fog and chop, comfortably going 1/2 mile offshore solo. Got some light surfing in. 2nd outing paddled 12 miles in 3 hours on the river and decided no feather might be nicer on the wrists. 3rd outing, explored double overhead bowling offshore reef breaks in 14 sec surf after tiring in the surf boat. Hmm, yes, must surf them soon in the finned boat. Super comfortable and confidence inspiring boat. Maybe overconfidence inspiring, so I put in a foot operated bilge pump just in case I ever dump it off shore in the long cold water season we have in the NE.
Happy with the boat but unfortunately I've now gotten the go-fast bug and can't stop looking at paddles and surf skis.