Chatham Waterline

Anybody know the waterline lengths of the Chatham 17 and 18?

Back to the top…
…That’s where I thought I would bring this question after I asked Johnson Outdoor that question today and the answer was “We don’t have that information”. I asked them if they thought that was embarrassing but got no reply…

So back the top and maybe someone who knows the answer or who knows someone at Necky who would be embarrassed by the response I got today will respond.

Chatham 18: My guess is about 15’ LWL, maybe less (looks closer to 14’ 8"). Short enough to cut the top end speed - and make it not something marketing would want posted in specs - even though many rough water folks would be fine with that.

Chatham 17: Also about 15’ LWL. Compare the side images from Necky’s site. Either the 18 has more sweeping ends and more overhang, or their photos suck.

Maybe this BS speculation will draw out some real numbers for you! L

For $1000 I will get you the info
Due to the design I would think that it would vary. Give me a thousand bucks and I will do the testing. :slight_smile:

Given enough wieght in the kayak the waterline could be closer to 16.5 feet.

What’s the next question?

Can I put a rudder on it?


Usually not available
It is rare for makers to provide meaningul hydrostatic data for their kayaks. Even simple stuff like waterline length. Those who produce kits and handbuilt wood composites are much better about providing these details. Otherwise it tends to be available only when SK does a review.

Chatham Waterline

– Last Updated: May-03-06 4:08 PM EST –;p=Boston%20Harbor%20-%20Part%202%208-20-05%20(Nelson's%20Photos);i=1;img=002-dave-boat.jpg

(Skip to the second picture.)
This is an 18, the waterline is about that long with a 175 lb paddler. (16 feet sounds around right.)

good guessing
a glass CHatham 17 sitting on the floor, measuring to a spot on the ends where the keel turns up and is about 3" from the floor,I’m guessing that’s the waterline. 15’4"

and for non-racing kayaks
isn’t that useful bit of data anyway

If I were interested in these boats…
I would rather know the length of the cockpits…

Going off photos it actually looked like 15’ 3-4" for the CH17 and 14’ 8-9" for the CH 18 (aasuming a displacement to set them nicely on their lines - which can be eyeballed/ignored in 2D). Figured that either had to be wrong (distorted photos) or would start some stupid debate so I rounded one down and the other up and threw in the disclaimer about the overhangs! L

I just like the way it floats real good.

I’ll check the 18 tomorrow

Seakayaker Magazine…
Here’s a link to some info on the 16’ Chatham on Seakayaker Magazines website:

SeaKayaker Website:

I did not see any info. on the other models.


roughly 15’

Thanks Lee.

Great mystery
for many manufacturers. Or at least the buyer. I tried to get info on waterline length for the Necky Elaho and ran into the same issue. On the other hand, really good canoe manufacturers such as Bell, Swift, Wenonah and Hemlock have this info up front. QCC is pretty forthcoming with their kayak stats. Info on resins can also be a bit hidden. Good companies will note vinylester or epoxy, others will obscure this.

which Elaho?
Sea Kayaker did a review of the original Elaho (drop skeg poly)therefore those waterline numbers are available. If you are looking for the numbers on the revised Elaho (ruddered, longer) then these would not apply.

Revised Elaho
I wanted to compare to a Seaward Cosma which I purchased for my wife. The construction on the Seaward boats is superior and if you must have a rudder theirs is a solid device.

Revised Elaho
The designer at Necky who did the revisions to the Elaho posts here. As I recall, he is one of the two guys responsible for the Chatham series designs.