In a re-branding move by the conglomerate that owns P&H Custom Sea Kayaks, Venture Kayaks, Feel Free Sit-on-tops, and Pyranha Whitewater Kayaks the Capella RM moved from the P&H brand over to the Venture Kayaks line-up as of the 2012 paddling season. The move is fairly logical when you consider that P&H specializes in custom composite sea kayaks with only a few roto-molded models (Scorpio, Delphin, ect) while Venture Kayaks deals exclusively in roto-molded sea kayaks. Despite this logic, the move leaves the future quality of the Capella RM in danger. Here’s why:
P&H Custom Sea Kayaks takes pride in the craftsmanship that goes into their boats and I’ve never had an issue with any of their products that they weren’t willing to fix right away. They revolutionized the quality of roto-molded plastic construction when they introduced the three-layer sandwich layup with the Capella RM. This three-layer plastic sandwich provided a stiffer, stronger, and more scratch-resistant hull than seen on most other single-layer plastic sea kayaks. The P&H Capella RM was a plastic expedition sea kayak at the head of the class!
Venture Kayaks, although a sister company under the same ownership, has shown lapses in the quality of their kayaks over the years. Recently, we received a shipment of Venture Flex kayaks at the kayak shop that had been processed incorrectly and were so far out of spec that the hatch covers wouldn’t fit on the hatch rims. Calls to their rep yielded fruitless discussions about how we must not be putting the hatch covers on correctly and they still haven’t remedied the situation weeks after they were notified of the quality issues. This is not acceptable.
Don’t get me wrong, Venture Kayaks produces some great boats including the Flex, Easky 13 and Easky 15. The recent issue that we had with our shipment was probably a batch issue which will likely be resolved. However, one of the trademarks of Venture Kayaks is the use of a single-layer plastic layup for their boats. This layup is far less stiff than the three-layer sandwich that was employed by P&H for use in the Capella RM. It’s my hope that Venture Kayaks will decide to continue using the three-layer sandwich layup and maintain the high quality of the Capella RM rather than standardize it by changing to the single-layer layup used across their brand.
My message to Venture Kayaks is this: Don’t mess with the high quality of the P&H Capella RM!