To provide some idea of what I am using as my base for comparison, my other boats are an a 12.5ft Necky Cruiser SOT, a 14.5ft Wilderness Pamlico,a 18ft Cobra Expedition and an 18ft QCC 700 Kevlar/Carbon Sea Kayak.
I compared the Capri to the Necky Manitou, the Current Design Kestral, the Perception Acadia, the Walden Vista and the Dagger Blackwaters 11.5 & 12.5. All of these are in the same class by length, weight and price. The weights go from 37lbs to 53. Each is just different enough to attract a paddler who is primarily interested in slightly different things as most important.
For the reviewer below, the double line running in the cockpit fore to the bow, is intended to allow easy placement and retrieval of storage or float bags in the bow. It’s a simplified pulley rig.
I agree that no kayak should ever be purchased without paddling it first. Also, several similar boats should be paddled before a decision to buy is made. Sometimes this means going to several different shops because each carries only a few manufacturers. Also, local paddling clubs provide a wide variety of craft owned by their members on every paddle they schedule. Paddlers are nearly always willing to let you try their boat for a spin.
What sold me on the Capri were in the order of their importance to me:
Narrow boat less than 25" wide;
Narrow fore and aft for more streamline shape;
Smaller cockpit, just enough to do a cowboy entry and exit or pull the knees up to rest on long paddles;
Hatch that can be opened while sitting in the boat for calm rivers without firm banks and having a leisurely lunch;
Greenland style that has most of the length of boat in the water and not wasted on attractive upsweeps in bow and stern that add little but wind resistance;
The multichined hull, though I am not sure how much this added to the control of the boats stability.
In ten minutes on the water, I knew that this boat was a good fit for me both physically sitting in it and in the way it handled. I recommend this to anyone seeking a 12ft plastic boat. Try it, you may like it.
The boat travelled by truck from Wis. to Florida in less than 48 hours. It arrived undamaged and as described; long, slender and beautiful. The 700 now has a new hatch gasket that is a flat rubber strip surrounging the hatch combing, gone are the pedestal gaskets that seemed to be reported as leaking small amounts of water on rolls. Gone also are the velcro hatch stap fasteners, now replaced with plastic clips. I suspect the folks at QCC are listening to their customers and improving areas that reported less than perfect.
I am a middle age paddler weighing 170 lbs and not in the best shape. I have been paddling regularly for the last 4 years. This is my 5th boat purchased and the 4th in my fleet. Each with a different purpose depending the type of water I am on and type of trip. I was very comfortable in my 23" wide and had some concern about stability in the 700 at 21".
I am very impressed with the primary and secondary stability. Balance is comfortable. The seat is comfortable as well and I really like the foot rest adjustments on the SmartTrack rudder. Adjustments can be made while on the water very easily.
The 700 is long. It is longer than my car. When I unloaded it alone the first time from my roof rack, I was concerned about balance. I lifted it at the cockpit and to my great surprise neither bow or stern dipped to the ground. I was impressed that I could load and unload it easily by myself.
As I paddle it over the coming months, I will develop a sense of what the boat does on the water and will add to my assessment in an effort to assist others in making a decision on what is the best boat for them. So far, I am very impressed.
There is little in this class for competition. The Expedition is long and thin and very fast. I can keep up with the best and often lead. For its size it is very light and therefore as easy to handle as my fiberglass Endeavor. Storage is plentiful and the unusual hatch closurers for a kayak are just fine. I did add a couple of handles at the midpoint for one person loading and unloading. I also added some deck rigging for ease in reboarding from deep water; the external rudder lines are not great for anything except not being inside to foul on something. The rudder is fine though the foot control bar will not fit on all the indented foot holders that you think it would, its too short for the furthest, so tall paddlers should check for comfort length. The boat runs straight and true and the rudder only has come into play on my boat with strong current or high wind. The boat has a nice low profile for wind.
That nice low profile is also the reason it takes lots of water in anything but quiet seas. I like others rating this boat find its only real drawback being what it does or more aptly, does not do with the water that enters the cockpit. The venturi works fine when moving along but when stopped or moving slow, even after closing the valve when boat had no water, water arrives and has no good place to go. On the positive side, most of the water stays below seat level so you do not feel like your sitting in a bathtub; unless seas are running. But it is after all a sit on top. It runs sluggish when the cockpit is filled with water, but balance is ok even then. For a long, narrow and fast SOT, the Cobra Expedition is the boat.
Remarkably it is the dryist SOT I have ever paddled. You sit up higher than in any other but dryer is the trade. The fore and aft hatches do fine for all my day trip needs including a small cooler.
I am 5'9" and 170 lbs and most of my paddling keeps the built in sponsons high. This gives me reasonable speed and tracking with the more aerodynamic hull in the water. The sponsons provide amazing stability anytime you need it. I have a rudder but rarely use it. The boat is short and wide but that lower hull design and how high I ride in the water, lets me maneuver in technical faster water just fine.
Necky has a new model out in this length now, and I have not had a chance to see one first hand to look at the design changes. For my money, in short, stable SOTs, this is the boat.