Chatham 17 Poly VS Composite

I have a poly Chatham 17 that I am really happy with. I may be interested in a Chatham 17 composite. I know there is a difference in length but can anyone give me an accurate comparison between the two. We have a Necky dealer locally but they don’t have any Chathams. I cannot find a composite anywhere nearby to demo. I am particularly interested in the cockpit sizing and fit. Thanks

good luck finding one
I’ve only ever seen one in a store once and that was in Seattle, a kayaking mecca.

For what it’s worth, I was horrified by how much volume it appeared to have in the bow. But that was after I had sold my poly and crossed over to a Chatham 18. Anything may look high volume after that.

Saw one
hanging from rafters in a store - a Necky Chatham 17 in carbon - price is 2999 at Wiegel Franklin PA It is still available, i checked, but unfortunately not near you. I have seen up close and sat in a nice chatham carbon 17 that a paddler bought last year and i lust for it!!!

so there you go
I saw one, and she saw just1more

HA HA! funny!
A “creative” comedian in the group !!

My wife recently decided that the composite Chatham 17 was the boat for her; we live in the San Francisco area, we called all around the state looking for one, no luck, no luck in Oregon, we found two available in the Seattle area. We bought one of them. We’ll be making the drive up in couple of weeks to pick it up… We were told by several dealers that the wait for an order was 3 months or more, one dealer told me they have prepaid Chatham 17 orders that have been unfilled for more than 6 months.

I called The Kayak Center of RI, they said they have them in stock and they ship kayaks all the time…

Thanks anyway
not much info but it appears that there are very few Chathams out there. That is a shame because I believe the Chatham to be a very versatile boat for our area.

Kayak Centre in RI
I can vouch for the Kayak Centre in RI…I have bought gear there, attended classes there, etc. They are great!

paddled both
the composite one appears to have a bit more freeboard or deck height in the compartments than the poly version. In the poly version there’s hardly a hands width distance between the hull and the compass bulge forward of the hatch. On the composite version there’s about 3/4" more room between the compass bulge and hull. I don’t know if that translates to any different displacement capacity but it’s obvious the forward section of front compartment has more room.

There is one thing about the composite Chatham 17s that I saw a year and two ago was that bugged me was that the cockpit reinforcement using core material to provide stiffness wasn’t throughout the cockpit. For some inexplicable reason the wider Ch17 has less core material extending forward of the seat than the Ch18. The consequence being that the relatively flat section is a bit flexible like a drum. It’s bomb proof strong, the issue is that on short steep waves the pounding results in more of a whole hull ringing than the 16,18 or plastic 17. It’s something I could see in the deck as well as feel. This is mostly aesthetic and probably wouldn’t be as noticable if the hull was loaded with gear.

Poly vs Carbon Composite Chatham 17
After paddling a carbon composite version of the Chatham 17 for seven months now, I can say with confidence that there is no comparison between the two boats. Even the dimensions are significantly different. The composite, especially the carbon composite, is far superior in every respect - tracking, edging, secondary stability, speed, acceleration and of course, windage. The difference in acceleration between the poly and composite versions is especially striking as the poly version weighs in at 68 lbs while the carbon version weighs in at 48 lbs. But to me, the characteristic I am most fond of is that the carbon Chatham 17 is easier to roll than any other boat I’ve tried. Finally, the glide characteristic of the carbon version is sheer perfection. The poly version doesn’t come close. The only type of kayaking I will not do with my carbon version is rock gardening, and that is most likely obvious. Hope this helps.