Chatham Composite 17 vs 18

Has anyone paddled these two Necky’s ? I would like to hear a comparison between them. Although maybe too early as the new composite 17 has not been available until resently (?)

Thanks, Mike

I have paddled both during a 2 day long kayak demo as well as the Chatham 16. Being an “advanced beginner” or a “low end intermediate paddle” depending on your preferance. 5ft 10 in. 215lbs. The Chatham 17 has noticably more initial stability and is more manuverable IMO. The Chatham 18 was faster going in a straight line but I did find it a little tippy and more difficult to turn quickly and sharply. At that demo the 17 was only available in poly while the 18 was a carbon kevlar model. I would look forward to hearing if anyone has spent time in the new composite 17. The foot room in the poly 17 is a little tight for 11+1/2 paddling boots. I assume it would be atleast a little better in the composite version. Thye 16 composite was rock solid but to tight in the cockpit left to right dimension for me.

Hope this helps.


can’t figure that one out
the Chatham16 waterplane and cockpit can easily fit a 200lb paddler,but some reason the coaming is narrow enough that the metal back band guides remove a lot of paddlers who can fit the hull. If you get rid of those metal guides and fit a lower back band to the aluminum seat frame there’s more room for thighs.

I have a Chatham 18 in glass and have paddled a plastic and carbon/glass Chatham 17 in mild conditions on the Chesapeake. The 17 is more of a boat you could hang out with butt balancing in waves but the 18 needs a blade in the water. Basically you’d pick the 17 because you want more stability for unladen paddling, the 18 if you’re paddling at a higher touring pace with a loaded boat.

I think with that hull shape you lose more “hangng out” comfort as the hull gets longer. There isn’t much rocker to either hull.

Aesthetically the proportions look better in the 17. For paddling in high winds the 17 is as good as the 16 although not as maneuverable.

Agreed with one addition
The 16 is noticeably slower on flat water than the 17. Once your paddling in swells, heavy chop or a following sea the additional rocker and shorter length of the 16 is nice. Hopefully the new Chatham 16s will have a better cockpit fit. Has anyone seen a 2006 ?

I’ve got a plastic Chatham 16 too,sometimes I think of selling them both and getting a composite 16. It’s such a comfortable boat (in the water), the outfitting is fixable and offer much flexibility for custom seats. The 16,17 or 18 don’t have much rocker.