This boat is a paradox in that it is very, very stable. I have heard one reviewer describe the Cetus line as being "dumb" stable -- so stable that you might think that it is not agile. Well, here is the paradox. While it is stable, it is also very agile. It leans very well with the result that you get great curved turns. It responds effortlessly to hip flicks. This is a fun boat that seems to be at ease in almost any weather condition.
Of all my boats, this is the one in which I have the highest level of confidence. Well built, stable, agile, fun -- that is why it rates as high as it does.
A good boat but there are better out there (e.g., VCP Aquanaut, P&H Cetus).
First, the new cockpit design does not work for me. It is too big. With the old design, I could use the same sprayskirt on multiple boats. For the new design, I had to go from a 1.4 seal to a 1.7 seal. Second, the new rudder system is a real trade-off. On one hand, the pegs don't move. On the other hand, I have difficulty in centering the rudder when I retract it. Finally, for some reason, the boat feels big. It has become large, stable, and not as easy to move around.
In short, the boat, for me, became boring to paddle.
For many paddlers, this will be a great boat; for me, it no longer works. As I said previously, it has been sold.
I have only two criticisms.
First, the back band does not sit properly for me.
Second, you have to get used to the two step system for adjusting the skeg - first pinch and push and then adjust. This has been corrected in this year's model.
Finally, how do you spell the Capella 167 - simple -- F-U-N.
First of all, the kayak is designed for exercise. Fine, however, that does not excuse certain design features. For example, there is no rigging in front of the cockpit. This rigging would have been useful for storing hydration packs. Even having a day hatch a la Cletus would have been useful. Second, the boat has very low primary stability. This is unusual given that the boat has a 23 inch beam. I have paddled boats with 21 inch beams that have far better primary stability. Third, this boat needs either a skeg or a rudder. This boat has an extremely bad tendency to weathercock in any form of wind or wave.
During a recent paddle in very moderate waves and wind (something that my other boats would have handled well), the boat wanted to go its own. I simply gave up paddling just to see what it would do. Well, it swung around -- driven by the wind and waves. Lets see -- poor design, poor primary stability, excessive windcocking -- not good. That's why this boat rates a 6.
Okay, having identified the weaknesses of the Java, lets talk about what makes this boat so neat. It is so simple to use; it is just plain fun. With a regular kayak, there is a "protocol" -- you put on the sprayskirt; you put on the PFD; you ensure that you have a paddle float available. This takes time. With the Java, you grab your PFD and your paddle. Attach the paddle to the lash and get in the water. The boat moves well; the turning of the boat is amazing; the boat is stable (even when the water is not). Even though it is a wet ride, it is a fun ride. This boat introduces you to kayaking in its simplest form.
A fun boat and one that I am glad that I got.
My only ding -- I have the boat with the sailing modification. The assembly was a real pain in the a** -- more so than it should have been. Highly recommended.