Sat in a Chatham 16 RM today.

-- Last Updated: Apr-16-04 9:29 PM EST --

What a BEAUTIFUL kayak! The bad news is the cockpit is about 1/2 inch to an inch too tight for me or I would have bought it right there. I didn't get to paddle it but it looks like a very playful boat. Necky is going to sell a ton of them.-----Rich

don’t worry
I just bought one,on order,Necky appears to be figuring that one out…the wider seat frame is optional. It’s something you’ll have to contact the general manager on as the dealer wasn’t familiar with the option. It’s kind of odd that Wilderness and Necky both put out nice hulls with too tight of fitting for the average sized paddler with the hip pads installed resulting in too tight of fit for average/wide hips without the pads. The Chatham hip pads are more of a problem as they concentrate the point pressure.

All of those kayaks out there with molded seats of roughly the same gross width don’t have the same problem because the seat sides and bottom curve together which reduces the point pressure and spreads out the pressure.

I liked how it paddled so I figured the seat was up to me to figure out.

That’s great news.
I’ll call Necky this week and ask about the seat. Thanks for the info.----Rich

which way is the cockpit too tight
for you, long narrow, how did it pinch you? How big are you.

The cockpit from the dimensions looks to be quite long. I think the question is probably what’s inside the cockpit too, like LeeG. The chatham 16 looks to be quite volumnious, so it would surprise me that an average sized person couldn’t get in the cockpit. Of course if the stock outfitting was a bit weird, that wouldn’t surprise me. More and more sea kayak manufacturers are trying to wisen up and offer more whitewater style outfitting options with ratcheted back bands like Pyranha, and P&H have done. But the results that I have seen so far have been mixed. The outfitting in the New capella from P&H for instance is quite terrible. I would have to start from scratch in that and remove the seat, the backband and the thigh braces. I am curious to try the chatham 18, but those pointy ends and the shape of the hull seem all for show. It’s hard to say yet.

funny stuff
the new kayaks have the feeling of too many chefs in the kitchen where the head chef says the dish HAS TO BE SO,but hasn’t tasted it, so there are some things that are perfect (for a $50 main course it should be) but some things are just plain off (ok,that’s too much radichio and shredded ginger with rasberry sauce)

Making a metal frame seat appears to be a decision across the line,but dropping a 15.5" metal hanger then tacking on hip pads that have no correlation to hip shape is one of them. Same with the Tempest and it’s hip pads that are useless in the bigger boat or the smaller boat for people with hips (women).

I’m stillwondering about a metal frame that concentrates a right angle against a rotomolded hull after it’s sat in 95degree heat for a few weeks,

My review was very short and not in much waves but it handled 15-20mph winds so well with my weight that it’s the boat I want and not my Express for being on the Chesapeake on windy days.

It is too tight right at the hips.
Lee had it right about the hip pads. The cockpit itself is not the problem.If I took the hip pads out it would be good to go I think.

I sat in it again on Sat. and with just pants it was very snug but doable. With my drysuit on it was just too tight. I’m going to call Necky today to ask about the wider seat. So you know, I’m 5’9" 210lbs 46" chest 30" inseam.—Rich

Cockpit size for Chatham vs. Tempest 170
I am following your posting with great interest. In about 2 weeks I am going to have the opportunity to sit in and paddle a Tempest 170. Am really curious about the cockpit fit. I looked at…but didn’t sit in the Chatham 16 and it looked way to small for me…guess I really need to go back and sit in the cockpit.

I am 5’10"…213 lbs. and dropping…should be about 205 as I begin to paddle again this spring.

I am really struck by the write-ups of both of these boats…and of course…the ‘bottom line’ is their fit/handling…so I cannot wait to test them out.

I will be looking for a plastic model. For those who are about 5’10" and 200-210lbs. who have had the opportunity to sit in and paddle both the Chatham 16 and the Tempest 170…I would really appreciate your thoughts about cockpit fit.

I surely know my fit is what is most important to me…but…the more data I have the better…

Many thanks…


I fit fine in the Tempest 170 cockpit
It was snug but not tight- the way you want it. However, the Tempest was too tight in the thighs and my legs were for the most part held straight out limiting the use of my knees for boat control. In fairness to the Tempest, although I did paddle it for a couple of hours, I was in a rush and did not have time to see if everything could be adjusted enough for my liking. I will paddle it again to be sure. You might also want to try the new VCP Aquanaut RM before making a decision. I haven’t tried the new plastic Aquanaut but I fit fine in the FG model. But getting back to the Chatham. The thing I like about the boat is that it looks very maneuverable.I’m happy to give up some tracking for a more playful boat and I think I might get that in the Chatham.—Rich

BTW…do you know if the VCP RM Aquanaut is yet available?

Many thanks…


Not that I know of.
They didn’t have one at Atlantic Kayak (Peekskill,NY) and I didn’t ask when they would get them in but I will next weekend.—Rich

two different boats
the T-170 is a good big boat and will fit fine without the hip pads for your size,the Ch-16 is lower volume AND the seat is lower in the hull so issues of stability/fit(thigh bracing) aren’t as complicated as the T-165. Once they get the wider seat hanger it’ll be just what the doctor ordered for decent footroom, stability and lower volume day boat for 200lb paddlers,but not until the wider seat hanger shows up. Actually it’s the manner of the straight sides that’s the problem,you can have the back of the frame 15-16"apart but where ones thighs angle forward if it was wider there that would make all the difference for fitting a range of paddlers. If you get 100 people and have them sit in the sand with their legs rotated out in a kayak position then had them move away you won’t find anyone with parallel thigh bone imprints. Rocket Science.

Well, I tried one on Sunday… :wink:
Although it wasn’t initially on my list, I tried out the Chatham 16 yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised! As a smaller paddler (5’5" 130#), I was quite pleased with the glovelike fit the highly configurable cockpit afforded me. The cockpit contact was just as good as some of the higher-end LV boats I tried with keyhole cockpits, and entry/exit was slightly easier. Nice outfitting overall, and a capable and fun boat to paddle. Well worth a test drive…

Spoke to Necky today.
They confirmed what LeeG said about the wider seat hanger for the Chatham. It’s going to be an inch wider which will accomodate a lot more people. They should use up their current stock of seats in 3-4 weeks of production and then switch over.—Rich