Chatham 17 arrives soon....

A good friend/paddling buddy just put down a deposit on a new fiberglass Chatham 17. He paddled the RM at one of the paddling festivals last summer. Sounds like a boat with great dimensions and paddling characteristics.

The Chatham 16 was too small for my frame. I enjoyed paddling the Chatham 18, but was too much boat for what I was looking for. Am looking forward to demoing it this spring.

Have any of you spent time in this boat? What are your impressions?


Chatham 17 is a sleeper !
Like many other 5ft 10inch 200 plus lb relatively new paddlers I too squeezed into the original Chatham 16 cockpit and had a couple of demo sessions in it. Great boat but not well thought out in regards to cockpit fit verses overall boat capacity (wieght wise). Then more promo and hype about the Chatham 18. Again I thought it was a great design but not for me. While attending the GOMSKS last July I was able to paddle the proto Chatham 17 in poly for 3 days on and off. In my opion Necky should have come out with this one first. Its just perfect for me anyway. Comfortable. faster than the 16 and much more primary and secondary than the 18. The rocker was less than the 16 but more than the 18. All I am trying to say is that for those of you that started out dealing with a high center of gravity and want to catch up quicker in skills to those skinny paddlers..... Give this puppy a try, dont let all the previous Chatham hype discourage you. I am awaiting mine in glass. My search is over, PS: I don`t work for Necky but if they want to send me a commision I could use the money.


At 5-10 205 lbs. I have to pad a Chatham 16 out to achieve a snug fit. I think the 16 has the best cockpit of the three for demanding paddling. Diversity I guess.

Chatham 17 vs. Tempest 170?
Good points Portabloke and Spray!

At 215 and 5’10" I could barely squeeze into a Chatham 16 and had difficutly extricating myself out onto the shop floor. The Tempest 170 fit me perfectly, though I was told by many that I needed a Tempest 180 for a good fit…interesting.

At this weight…it is ALL in the body frame. I have large thighs that helped out when playing fullback in soccer…but I suspect the guys on the line would fit easily into a Chatham 16.

I am curious however. For those who have paddled the Tempest 170 and have had a chance to demo the Chatham 17 as Portabloke has…how would you compare the two?


Thank you for that thoughtfull response. The Chatham 16 is a great kayak and I`m glad you need to pad it out. I loved the front to back design of the cockpit but found the side to side rim and cheek plates were way to tight. I have heard this was changed somewhat. At anyrate I wanted to simply share my personel experiance with the Chatham 17 as requested in the original post.

I’d like to blame my hip size

– Last Updated: Feb-26-05 7:09 PM EST –

on the fact I've had two kids, but my wife says "nice try, but I can't take any credit or blame it on that." I sat in a Poly 17 (with hip pads removed) at Kittery Trading Post over the winter, but my hips weren't a good fit. Is the 17 cockpit suppose to be bigger then the 16? I see they list it as an inch bigger, but unfortunately felt too tight for me. Is the composite cockpit exactly the same size to the poly one?

Tempest 180
I’m 6’+ and 225+, but found the 180 a really big boat. In my mind it would be for the 250 and up group or those who want to go long distance with a lot of gear.

Cockpit on the 17 composite
From what I am told the only change from the poly proto last summer is a little additional volume in the stern, For me the extra inch from side to side was perfect with the pads in. What I really like is the fact that the 17 is only 21 inchs wide compared to the 22inch Chatham16,.however the cockpit is 1 inch bigger side to side. That fact plus the added waterline make it faster and track better. Sounds like skeletal size is very differce when you hit the heavy weight catagory. I know for me my frame is medium… I just plain need to lose 20lbs around the middle and would probably need to pad it out like Spray.

either way

– Last Updated: Feb-28-05 11:19 AM EST –

a tempest 170 would fit you fine, capacity wise unless you like a B I G boat and need extra room. I personally us a 180 for tripping/guiding in the San Juans and Columbia river where carrying alot of guide gear is necessary. with hip pads and adjustable thighs i can dial my fit in. I'm 5-10 and 175.

someone else will have to give you a performance comparison. ;-)


Frame of referrence
I too have very big thighs, and a heavy frame, though low body fat. I think a lot of this has to do with what your used to. I’m used to taking a minute to cram myself into Nordkapps, Romany’s etc., as well as small surf boats. So I like a super snug fit, and find that to be actually more relaxing. So the 16 is great for me, even though I have to enter one leg at a time. They did widen the seat frame a lot on that boat. The 17 is a very loose fit for me, but again, my idea of good is not the norm. I want to be able to stay in the boat after being pitch poled in surf etc. No good or bad here, just differences, and there are many good choices out there from many companies. Buy what feels right to you after paddling several boats, and trust your instincts.

Well said and right on the money Spray. It occurs to me that having a dependable roll would make one feel a lot more comfortable with a snug fit.My roll is in its infancy. Im determined to get it down this season…

And a snug fit will enhance your roll learning. Sort of like a ski boot…A loose boot doesn’t allow for the transfer of input from the leg to the ski as well as a snug, but comfy boot. Have fun! I think beginners have a valid fear of entrapment, and it is vital as you pad any boat out to meake sure you can wet exit easily. My experience is that even with the tightest fitting boats I can easily exit when instructing etc. Good luck with your search.