Chatham 16 vs. Tempest 165

I am planning to purchase a RM boat this spring/fall. I was considering the Avocet but am rather sure it will be too small for me. Although I will look at the Chatham 17/18 or Tempest 170/180 in terms of my size, given that the Chatham 16 and Tempest 165 are now available, it would be really helpful to hear some comparisons from seasoned paddlers. I have read a few reviews of each boat, but no real comparisons yet.

Many thanks…


What is your size?
You note that you are considering 16’ boats because of your size. Without stating that size (and your intended uses), it is difficult for paddlers to make recommendations or informed comment.

I should have been clearer.

I know that the Chatham 17 or 18…or the Tempest 170 or 180 will be the correct size boats for me and that I surely need to sit in them and paddle them as the FIRST step to see if either of these will be the ‘right boat’ for me…and to determine the size IF I like them. That will come as I have the time and place to check out these boats (and others).

At this point…I am just really curious about the similarities and differences between the two boats. It is apparent that both WS and Necky have wisely identified a market for this type of boat. I have read many of Steve’s (Tempest) responses and one review by Joe O’Blenis(Chatham)and Paul Stivers (Tempest). I have read comments on both the WS and Necky Forums. All comments are enthusiastic about the boats. Though…in fairness, there is some expected bias by some of the reviewers. These folks are (and should be) thrilled about their new boats.

I am looking for a good review…or comments by those who have had the opportunity to paddle both boats…am really curious.

Thanks for pointing out the lack of clarity on my part.


Still need your height/weight.

height: 5’ 10"

weight: 210 lb.

inseam: 28"

tight fit
in either C-16 or T-165.

The C-18 and T-170 would work well with enough room and the T-180 will be roomy.

There is quite a difference between the C-16 and 18. They are named the same but quite different in design/ performance.

The Tempests are very close to the same across the size range, in performance, speed, look, etc.

I’ll let someone else describe the performance of the Chathams. :wink: and I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the T!


Have never tried the Chatham…
but I own 2 Necky boats,Zoar Sport and Looksha Sport, and I like them both very much for different uses. From what I could learn of the Chatham, it looks very sweet and is definitely worth test paddling but the 20" beam might be a little tight for you and I don’t think this boat is going to be generally available for awhile.

At your height/weight you could go with either the Tempest 165 or the 170 -go for the 170 if you are going to use it for extended camping trips. The 165 might be a better fit for daytrips without much baggage adding extra weight.—Rich

Chatham 16 beam is
22’ and should be very stable. Even the 18’ at a 20" beam seemed stable but then again I’m used to some pretty “Unstable” kayaks.

A good point was mentioned in one of the above responses…each kayak will have its share of good reviews…with a bit of bias thrown in by some of the reviewers.

I’ve never paddled the Tempest but I have paddled some other nice boats from WS such as the old Sealutions and the Cape Horns. I’ll have to try out these Tempests some day!

I already know I like the Chatham…alot…but again the bias part comes into play right? (Necky is my kayak sponsor right now).

Honestly i expect that both are good kayaks and I’m just happy to see both companies getting into this growing part of the market!

good luck.

Joe O’

At 22" beam it should be doable.
I’m going to have to try the 16’Chatham before I get a new boat. I don’t think I would fit in a 20" boat.

I was leaning toward the T170 which I fit in pretty nicely (5’9" 210Lbs 30"inseam) but I’m going to need to try the T165 (21.5") before I decide.—Rich

like I told the OP
who’s close to your size, it’ll be tight in either. Tho, I would give 'em a try.

The C-16 and T-165 are in the same genre, along with the Avocet, Rom 16, Aqua (or Argo??)naught and (sorta) Capella. Call it the smallish, friendly, balanced and maneuverable hull form. The C-18’s a different cat.


you’re looking to be at the upper limits to those boats. Comparing beam measurments is a waste of time,it’s where your thighs will say whether you fit or not. I’m with steve on this,check out the capella if you don’t want a big boat but need to fit. I’m a tad smaller than you and the t-165 is too small with the existing seat/thigh braces.

I hear that WS is marketing the ALTO under another name for some big sporting goods store,that would be a good deal if it happens. They shouldn’t have got rid of that model.

I’ve been in the T170 and …
it was snug but fine. Getting in and out was no problem. I would like to try a Capella but the nearest dealer is about 2 hours away ( on a good day through Long Island, NY traffic) and I haven’t been willing to do that yet. I REALLY hate traffic.

I’m going to take a 170 out on the Sound in a week or two and I’ll pass along my thoughts (for what they’re worth) then.—Rich

I’m biased
as the Chatham doesn’t quite fit me in the first place. I did paddle it for a short bit.

But I would check the tracking and ease of turning on both boats. I don’t think the hull rocker profiles are the same. I know the Tempest turns very nice, but still tacks well, and is a well balanced hull.

I’ll be posting a follow-up review on the T180 this weekend. You’re right to realize that reviews are somewhat biased and that it’s good to get a direct comparison from experienced people who have paddled both, and a direct comparison by paddling both yourself, preferably for hours on multiple days/conditions. Most shops will apply up to two days rental fees toward the price of a new boat, should you decide to make a purchase.

As and aside, in my biased view, my reviews of the T180 are both honest and encouraging :^).

Paul S.

The weight range
for the capella is quite broad in the sense that alot of people can fit into it quite well, but it is by no means the longest of the bunch, in fact it is the shortest of the ones mentioned. It does have substantial depth and a decent beam at 22".

The Avocet and the P&H Capella are two of the nicest RM sea kayaks out there. Beware though, Valley is going to put out an RM version of the Aquanaut very soon, and at 17’6" and 21.5 " in beam that could be a really, really, nice poly kayak.

I don’t want to take anything away from the tempest, or the Chatham but these kayaks have their own advocates.

My personal recommendation is the Capella. There are very few people who have paddled one, or buy one, who say gee I wish I’d gotten a Perception Eclipse…

The trick is
Earlier today I wrote “Your’re right to realize that reviews are somewhat biased and that it’s good to get a direct comparison from experienced people who have paddled both…” Come to think of it, the trick is to find an experienced person who ISN’T biased :^).

The Capella is a kayak I’ve paddle alot in the past and it is still probably the nicest plastic kayak I’ve ever paddled. I’ve only paddled the Chatham in composite so far. If you get a Capella though, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

Lots of them
Try to find instructor / guides who paddle a variety of brands. Avoid people who work for kayak manufacturers. Of course they will push their stuff! The cool ones I know do not, and would never use a public forum to do so.

Never Paddled a Chatham
I preferred the Tempest over the Capella, however. I found it more comfortable. I preferred the T165 over the T170. It handled better and just felt better but I only weigh 165 pounds.

You just gotta paddle the boats and tell us what you buy!

(I am not in the boat business)

165 = 165
how conveinient! =:-0)

almost like someone was destine to be in a 165? glad you like her.


Hey Steve,

which boat for a 167.5 lb paddler then? The 165 or 170? :wink:

Just kidding ya!

Cheers…Joe O’