Necky Chatham 18 or P&H Cetus?

-- Last Updated: Apr-01-10 1:54 PM EST --

Hi All,
I am relatively new to kayaking, but with some good training courses and recreation time. I am looking at getting myself a kayak that I won't grow out of too soon and which will be suitable for some swell plus flat water for 3-4 day camping trips as well as day trips.

I am most interested in a Necky Chatham 17 OR a P&H Cetus kayak. I had looked at the Looksha Elite by Necky, but decided I'd rather have a skeg since I've never used rudders of any kind.

I like the idea of the Cetus because it seems pretty long and slender for speed and also it has the day hatch on the deck which I would find very useful. The Chat17 also seems like a long thing with a great shape.

at the moment Im more drawn to the Cetus, but
I'd be really pleased to hear what people would suggest/prefer: cetus or chatham 17.

Edit: I made a mistake in the subject. I am referring to the Chatham 17 not 18.

more details: I am 6 foot tall and weigh 175 pounds. I have quite long legs and tend to get numb thighs/feet when kayaking for long periods.


more info and correction

– Last Updated: Apr-01-10 1:33 PM EST –

Edit: I made a mistake in the subject. I am referring to the Chatham 17 not 18.

more details: I am 6 foot tall and weigh 175 pounds. I have quite long legs and tend to get numb thighs/feet when kayaking for long periods.

gotta paddle 'em, Chatham 17 or 18?

– Last Updated: Apr-01-10 1:43 PM EST –

the Chatham 18 is a funny extension of the 16, low rocker and full waterline to the ends, huge cockpit. I'd prefer something with more rocker. My $.02 is that what it attempts in forward speed while maintaining its down wave handling it loses in hang out comfort. Honestly if you're looking for a fast kayak there are better choices. What this one has is an uncommonly tall cockpit which could be just the thing if you have long legs and big feet.
If you mean the 17 it's a better compromise than the 18 and the composite appears to have more storage room than the plastic version.

Others should correct me but my gut sense the Capella is a better comparison to the Chatham 17 than the Cetus

custom carve a seat
this is a recurring topic. With the Chatham it’s an easy option of removing the stock one and putting in a carved one.

Long-term test of P&H Cetus
Well here is link to the recent long-term test Doug Wilcox posted of the Cetus.

He is a far better sea kayaker than most of us here.

Doug Wilcox
Thanks for your comments. The Doug Wilcox article is a treat to read. Thank you, Doug.

I have owned my Cetus for a little over
two years now. I read the article to its conclusion and found it nearly spot on with my observations. The Cetus does many things VERY well, however as you can read in the long term review, the boat has some offwind tracking and handling issues. In short, the Cetus is not a good surf boat in my opinion and in the writers opinion. These issues are controlled with greater paddler input (skill) such as edge and stroke control, and staying high on the wave. I have yet to test my new and stiffer skeg on my Cetus and hope to get out this weekend. I also made the mistake of moving my seat forward by 1 inch which had a poor effect on tracking. When I have paddled the boat again in conditions I will re-post on the forum with my thoughts. The seat bottom without the pad is ideal in my opinion. The boat is supremely comfortable. The Cetus is fast, period. You pay for that speed when you surf(lack of rocker, bow form). My Cetus is currently posted in the classifieds on pnet, if my next paddle in it is satisfying I will remove the ad. Looking at it on my Talic kayak condo with my Nordkapp, Aqauanaut, and Skin boat, I must say it looks darn sexy. The side profile of that boat is really something of beauty. I will update if possible here. Search the Cetus post here and learn more from others. The long term review is accurate from my perspective. Bill

Big difference

– Last Updated: Apr-01-10 3:58 PM EST –

I'd say one big difference would be manuverability. I've paddled both and found the Chatham to track much better. The Cetus is skeg dependent and turns on a dime. It's really about what you prefer. I don't care for twisty turny kayaks that need constant corrective strokes. My sacrafice is straight trackers that are more work to turn. That's just me. Otherwise the Cetus seems like a really nice kayak. I liked the LV version especially.


sounds like
the Cetus is a faster boat than the Chatham 17 but not as forgiving down waves as the Chatham 17

thanks all
Thanks All. I like the look and sound of both kayaks. I guess I’ll have to arrange a test paddle for both! Both look great, but only a test will tell how they feel in the water. I would probably avoid large swell for the most part and stay out on calmer seas.

If you truely mean that, then buy the
Cetus. I think you will eventually find the sirens of the open water calling you though:) I am assuming you mean this comment for your paddling future and not the test paddle. If the later is true, please disregard my comment and continue to evaluate any boat you consider buying with a thorough paddle in the conditions you expect to paddle in. My beef with the Cetus is I don’t want to get caught in an ugly crossing in a boat that won’t cooperate. I hope to tame this beast, and I am sure there are more than a few who do not agree with my characterization of the surf behavior. Bill

the future paddle
Hi Bill – I mean for the future paddle not just the test.

I learned to kayak in a Necky Tahsis, which I absolutely loved being in. That was the only thing i’d ever been in though and have nothing to compare it to.

Cheers! Luke

How do you pack?
Depending on how heavy you pack, storage might be something worth considering. My Chatham 17 didn’t have a whole lot of storage, but was certainly suitable for a light packer.

going for the cetus
Well, I went to look at a cetus, tried it, loved it, i’m buying it! Thanks for the advice.