I attributed Tom’s note of the Chatham 17 so that it could be understood in that context. We all know that Tom mostly paddles an Explorer and often uses an Avocet for surf work.
Therefore, this ‘best’ would be informed by knowing that Tom is a very experienced paddler who ordinarily prefers to use an Explorer for most of his paddling.
Personally, I am less impressed with the Chathams than many other paddlers. I dislike the 18, as it is kicked around too much by quartering seas. Its stability points are more abrupt than I like. It is also too high decked and big cockpitted. I also dislike all the gadgetry of Chtatham outfitting. The 16 is an okay boat, but doesn’t feel as ‘sweet’ to me as a Romany or Avocet. The designer of the Chathams is particularly fond of this model as it is the closest to his otherwise favorite boat, the Romany. I’ve spent very little time in a 17 and cannot fairly give my own opinion.
I know the guys
very well and both have paddled many boats from many builders over the decades, the Romany being one. Yes it’s an excellent boat, as are many others. The Chatham 16 is quite different. I think the Coaster probably influenced the 16 hull more than the Romany You may know better? Good day.
Please dont take my posts as a hit at you, as that’s not my intent. I regard you as an avid enthusiast who’s just interested all round, and I think you ended up with a couple of great boats. I hope you understand my simple point. What works for you, is just what works for you, and same with me. Take ten expert ocean paddlers, and you’ll get ten different sets of ideas. I think the market is pretty full of excellent choices for people. Surfs up.
P&H is supposed to be producing a low volume Quest, a bit shorter & narrower with a lower deck.
You could also try out a second hand North Shore Mariner.
P&H now has several Capellas in composites 161, 163, 169, and 173. When people are talking about the high deck on the Capella they are probbaly talking about the 169. The 163 came out last summer and the 161 at the end of the summer. P&H doesn’t even have the specs on their website yet, but I have demoed this boat and purchased one. It does not have a high deck at all. I also own a Romany and used to own an Avocet and I would say that the deck high is closer to the Romany than the Avocet, but the boat is faster.
The 161 and 163 are well over a foot shorter than the Explorer and pretty far out of it’s category. The Capella 169 and 173 and Quest all have high decks.
As far as the Capella not tracking well, I have not had that experience at all. We are talking about a boat with a pretty good amount of rocker and it isn’t going to track like a Nordkapp. It’s versatility comes from the fact that in spite of the rocker, with the skeg down it does track quite well. Plus it has good speed along with the handling characteristics of a rockered boat. It’s got a pretty good measure of everything, and that’s what I like about it.
"Please dont take my posts as a hit at you, as that’s not my intent."
Understood, thank you.
“What works for you, is just what works for you, and same with me.”
I try to be clear that I am giving my or attributed others’ opinions, unless I am giving statistics, in which case I usually try to attribute them as well.
I have benefitted greatly from other paddler’s experience and resulting views. I not only enjoy sharing mine, but appreciate the refinement or change my observations experience through exchange with other paddlers.
Regarding the Chatham 16 and Romany. In an email exchange with the designer of the Chatham, who at the time was concerned about the Sea Kayaker review, he noted that his personal favorite boat was the Romany and that it was the boat whose characteristics he most had in mind when designing the Chatham 16. A conversation with Tom Bergh, who is a long time friend of the designer, reinforced the Romany - Chatham 16 relationship. BTW, Tom likes the 16 as well as the 17, simply noted that he thought the 17 hull was the most successful from his viewpoint.
I own a Capella and it tracks great. I have heard quite the opposite…most owners say that it it’s an excellent tracking boat.
There were two designers of the CH16. The Romany was one of the designers favorite boat “within that class of boats”. That was until the CH was completed, which he now prefers. Romany was given to a young couple he knows. There were several boats that influenced the CH 16 equally. I know both designers (heck they were both at my wedding) and know that they have high regard for a lot of what is out there. The designers wanted to pull attributes from various boats that they liked into one hull with an emphasis on rough water, high wind performance. The result is another excellent choice in that class that is 100% it’s own boat.
BTW, the head designer was born in England and paddled for England, so that should appeal to the Brit nostalgia. Good day, And, truth is most designers paddle ugly prototypes:)
P & H Kayaks.
There are three possible boats but I’d try paddling them before making a decisions.
and possibly the new Bahiya (the only one I have not paddled yet)
You will find all three kayaks handle very well and have good straight line tracking.
As for cockpit height/deck height, they range from 13" to 14" and I’ve never found this height to be a problem and I’m not exactly the tallest paddler in the world.
Try a P&H Kayak before you buy anything, you will be missing out if you don’t at least test one.
the head designer was born in England
I thought he was born in Scotland and surfed boats extensively?
Salty, I don’t know the designer(s) of the Chathams as you do. I apologize if any of my comments appeared presumptuous.
And he is a champion kayak surfer. Also, one of the finest humans I’ve ever met… Just as there are a lot of great products from excellent suppliers out there, there are a lot of very cool people in the industry. Cheers.
I own a Capella 169 in glass
and have zero experience in other Brit boats. My experience is for flat water paddling every other boat I have ever paddled tracked straighter on flat water. I have the rudder and it stays down for that use.
This summer I paddled an 8 mile open water crossing, fully loaded for a comfort camping trip and the boat travelled wonderfully in chop to 5 foot waves. It rode quite dry and the hatches stayed bone dry even after some rolling fun. The deck (both front and rear) sit a little higher than I would like, but a greenland paddle propels the boat nicely and at 5 feet 11 inches I can manage a pretty good layback. When I bought the boat I asked a bunch of folks and more than one of them said “If I could have only one boat it would be the Capella”.
After a year in the saddle I wouldn’t second guess them.
I wonder if the difference you are speaking of is the relative lack of rocker in the Chathams compared to the VCP boats. I’m not an intuitive learner/bracer in kayaks but I’ve become accustomed to the shifting stability points you speak of. It’s noticable hanging out and entering into waves but the action going down wave is marketdly more secure for me than the rockered boats once a surfing speed is hit.
I think the Chatham17 works very well as a work horse kayak, while not as slippery/efficient as some it provides a wide handling envelope to play or learn in, especially regarding beam winds and down wave surfing.
I have only paddled a 17 once at GOMSKS. I think each of the Chathams has a different personality
The apsect of stability I dislike in the Chatham 18 is the suddenness with which it is there and not there as the boat heels. I think this has more to do with hull profile in section than rocker.
My Aquanaut has very little rocker - probably not much different from the 18 in that aspect. The 'naut seems fluid as it heels with a feeling of increasing security as the boat heels to around 40-45 degrees. I think the rounder chining combined with slight flare above the waterline account for this. Unlike an Explorer or Romany, the 'naut's secondary is pronounced in a manner that when rolling the boat will stall on its way up if your hip snap is weak or your follow through feeble.
a combination of all of the above
it really doesn’t take much to make a difference,especially as the waterline gets longer and the chines are an important part of the hull shape.
"Unlike an Explorer or Romany, the 'naut's secondary is pronounced in a manner that the boat will stall on its way up if your hip snap is weak or your follow through feeble."
I suppose this could mean you find the VCP boat will not right itself at a certain degree of heel as easily as the NDK boats when doing a roll. That would suggest it has less secondary stability in terms of righting moment at a given angle. I suppose it could also sugget more force was required to get it to an angle of heel to the left of the apex which means it does have a higher secondary stability. Would be interesting to see the stability curves on the boats and if those curves show any meaningful differences. I also suspect the VCP boat would be easier to rotate as that was my experience between these boats. I greatly prefer the ease of rotation that the Avocet/Pintal derived VCP boats have, but that is due to my frame of reference due to experiences in the NightHawk. This is where the concept of secondary stability is, to me, hopelessly vague. Some boats have great reputations as rough water boats, but have almost no righting moment at all which means they will lie over and come back with almost no force applied at all. Boats which are not good rough water boats often have huge righting moments. So to most paddlers, I suspect the concept of secondary stability is not directly related to righting moments shown on stability curves. Rather I suspect it is more related to the flatness of the curve and where its peak is located in terms of angle of heel. Still, the feeling of that firm shoulder is a big part and that is a reflection of the righting moment.
Hmmm. I think winter gives us too much time to think about this stuff.
I feel the Aquanaut has higher/more pronouced secondary than the Explorer or Romany. It likes roll onto its side and seems to feel more solid as it does so. It seems up to about 40-45 degrees of heel it just keeps getting more solid. The boat rights itself easily. Also, the tipping point does not seem sudden.
My Romany will roll up as long as I initiate the roll and do not get in the way. I have a number of rolls in the Romany that would not have been sucessful in the Aquanaut. When rolling in the 'naut, the boat will come up only to a certain point from initiating the roll. It will stall there if my follow through is poor. Some, or maybe most, of this is the difference in volume. Though at least two fellow paddlers (who have Explorers) have noted these characteristics --(though mostly they comment on how solidly the 'naut edges well over.)
These are just my observations and experiences. They are subjective.
The stability curves are not very different between the Aquanaut and Explorer acording to Sea Kayaker. As I recall, the difference seemed to reflect the sense that the Explorer has higher primary and the Aquauanut has slightly higher secondary.