Necky Chatham 16????

Wondering if any of you had any experience with this boat and would like to hear your feedback. I am now considering one of these after finding some things out about the Elaho and Avatar that I did not like during a test paddle.



I bought a plastic one after test paddling a composite one. The outfitting has some quirks, unless they’ve changed the seat frame, but it’s an excellent high wind kayak.

Only paddled one for about 15 minutes
on flat water, gusts to 20mph. With my big thighs I just took the thigh hooks out. Still a tight fit for me though but my thighs are huge. I liked the boat; but other than praising it’s ease of rolling, and balance in wind on flat water have nothing much to say. Decent stability with nice and easy transitino between primary and secondary.

Good handling
Trialed a RM in Lake Michigan this fall (a couple of hours). I was comparing as many boats in this size class as I could. I couldn’t find anything about it that totally turned me off, but didn’t feel that it was the boat for me either. I didn’t like the skeg cable crossing the rear hatch - difficult to get things in and out. It appeared to be very low volume although you would have to check the specs and compare them to other boats that you are considering. I am a small paddler and didn’t want high volume, but…

After trialing about five different 16 footers, I ended up with a CD Caribou S. When paddling that boat in Lake Michigan, I got the “this boat is for me” feeling.

Good luck.

hip thigh fitting
the funny part about the cockpit fitting is that the already narrow coaming is narrowed further at the hips/thigh fold by the metal back band guide. The metal bracket is longer than in the composite boat so it intrudes further forward into ones thighs,move the frame all the way back then put in minicell between the frame and hull for side thigh bracing.

It’s bizarre if you think about it. The coaming is designed to fit those angle brackets because it’s flat in that area but they take out another 3/4" with a metal corner intruding into the thighs. Maybe it’s “what everyone uses” in whitewater kayaks but I bet those kayaks don’t have 15.5" wide coamings with the metal bracket cutting that down to almost 14" corner to corner.

I tossed the backband ratchets,the metal backband guides which were the real culprit and then the metal thigh braces. The coaming is narrow enough for my 31" inseam legs to fit comfortabley for rolling/bracing and if I HAD to have a snug fit can put them back in. But remmoving the ratchet backband guides and moving the seat frame all the way back (but not the seat) made all the difference.

Two other options…
I’ve paddled the Chatham 16 and many other kayaks of that size and style. Although I thought the Chatham was a nice kayak, I prefer the fit and feel of the VCP Avocet RM and the P&H Capella RM over the Chatham.

Chatham 16 - Avocet
I’ve test paddled both composite and plastic Chatham 16s. Both are nice boats - though I do not like the outfitting. Too much metal and too many parts. That being said, it is a reasonably responsive boat and I have met a few Chatham owners who truly love their boats.

I found the Avocet more to my liking. I found it more responsive and it felt more as if my butt was the center of the boat. It may be slightly quicker and possibly a bit faster as well.

If you like the Chatham 16, it would probably be worthwhile for you to try a Romany and an Avocet. They are the preceeding boats to which the Chatham is likely most closely related.

Matt, I would offer to let you try my

– Last Updated: Jan-10-05 6:57 PM EST –

avocet, but I have the foot pegs removed and have foam in front of the bulkhead, so I am the only one that can paddle mine. Riptides and Rapids will let you rent one and they're great.They are in Mountain View, and it's where WSK holds their monthly meetings. Chuck has a romany, and you can test paddle a romany through Riptides and Rapids as well.

I believe that Michael, one of the staff at Kayak Connection, has paddled a chatham, and he may have one. I belive you can test paddle a chatham through either MBK or Kayak Connection.

What were the things you liked and didn't like about the avatar and the elaho?


Elaho and Avocet…
To answer you question…I could not really deal with the fit of the Avocet 15.5 or 16. The 15.5 was way to small for me, and the 16 just was not the fit I am looking for. I could fit in the boat okay, but really did not like the way that the thigh braces fit me.

The Elaho was very nice. I really liked the boat. I took it out in the open water in the wind and swell on Saturday (stormy weather) and it did great with the skeg deployed. HOWEVER…I landed on the beach for while and went back out. This time though, I could not get the skeg to deploy no matter what I did.

Once I got out in the open water in the wind and swell, the boat was VERY hard to control without the skeg. The Elaho has great handling, but what good is it if you can’t really use the boat without the skeg? This could actually be potentially dangerous if the conditions kick up and you can’t get the skeg down.

One selling point of the Chatham is that it has a mechanically engaged skeg, rather than the gravity skeg on the Elaho.


I never found the skeg on the Elaho that effective in balancing for weathercocking,the hull just doesn’t allow for it,on the other hand the Chatham could have a non-functional skeg and still be manageable in high winds.

Avocet, not Avatar

– Last Updated: Jan-10-05 10:00 PM EST –

Why not check out the P&H Capela or the Impex Montauk on Bask

rope skeg
If you find the Elaho’s skeg hard to use, you’re not alone. I didn’t like it too much either. For that same reason, I didn’t like the Romany either. However, there’re plenty of people who swear by it and they all keep saying you’ll eventually “get the hang of it”. So keep both side of the arguement in mind when you test paddle.

If you’re going down to Kayak Connection, you may want to try their Tempest 165 or 170. It’s another Avocet/Romany imitator that a lot of people like. I quite like it. Though there’s been some small whisper of quality issues. I don’t know how true that is.

Matt did you mean to post that you

– Last Updated: Jan-11-05 12:20 PM EST –

test paddled the avatar and didn't like the fit? You wrote about the avocet, but I know MBK does not sell VCP boats.

I think Chuck's suggestion is a good one. He has a knack for finding really nice used boats, at affordable prices. You can always test paddle a bunch of boats, and then start looking for what you want used. It shouldn't be that hard to do in the Bay Area, as there are many paddlers, and quite a few will be selling boats that locals like to paddle in the waters you will be paddling in. Since you are in the market for a nice touring boat, and not some obscure specialty boat, chances are you will be able to find one within a couple of months at most.