Tall, Large Feet-Chatham 18 vs. Cetus MV

Looking for some feedback on leg and foot room and general cockpit fit and comfort from tall and big-footed paddlers, who have used the Chatham 18 and the Cetus MV.

I’m 6’4" with size 15 feet, just under 200lb before gear. I’ve test-paddled the Cetus (“classic”, MV, and LV). If I remember right the MV fit me OK, though the bigger one was even roomier and with higher deck, which felt good but the MV was more connected. I was closer to 180lb back then, but same size otherwise. I liked how it paddled, did not like how heavy it was.

Never paddled the Chatham 18, but from what I read it has a high front deck for long legs and large feet.

Thoughts on fit mainly?



– Last Updated: Oct-12-16 5:24 PM EST –

At your height and foot size you're an HV not Classic or MV Cetus. At 18'3" the Brit FG layup is going to be 64lbs. No way around it unless you want to lay claim to the next Carbon Kevlar one due in December-January timeframe. That construction trims 10lbs. off the weight.

Someone will have to contribute on the Necky front. Last of those I had experience with was a Thasis.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

I am about your dimensions. I fit in the Chatham, but not in the Cetus.

Thank you both! I don’t recall being crammed in the MV, but I’m pretty sure I was barefoot when I paddled it and that I won’t fit in it with paddling footwear.

Hopefully will get a chance to sit in a Chatham next week and might just get it if it feels good. I won’t be paddling it too frequently, will likely never load anything more than a day trip’s worth of stuff, so I’m mostly going for cockpit comfort and overall weight and price on this purchase :wink: The Chatham is advertised at 53lb, which is about as heavy as I’d want to go these days for a day-paddle boat - my sub-30lb surfski has spoiled me in this regards…

Cetus HV
I am 6’4", 225 with size 14 feet and I own an HV-very nice boat. I can shoe horn into an MV, but would not want to spend any real time in it-to snug.

It fits me :slight_smile:
Bought a used Chatham 18 today because it fits me very well, and the price was right. These are built for tall people with large feet indeed. I estimate I will fit fine with paddling boots, plenty of space barefoot. This is only the second kayak I’ve sat in, in which I don’t have to fully extend the foot pegs. And with the backband relaxed I don’t scrape off my shins but it is close - another inch length in the center of the cockpit would not hurt… The thigh braces are in the right spot too. Contrary to some reviews, the rear coaming is not in the way of layback at all - probaby that person who had issues had the seat moved all the way back.

Now I need to try it on the water …

Interested to hear your impressions
This boat has been on my radar since I started paddling and I’ve never had a chance to paddle one. I had a plastic Chatham 17 that fit me pretty well, the Necky outfitting is fairly minimalist but very effective. The hull itself wasn’t great in rough water, didn’t have enough volume to float me, and kind of turned into a submarine when things picked up. It was an extremely wind neutral boat and had a great skeg system.

I need another boat like I need a hole in my head, but I’m always kind of looking for a big boys fast skegged touring/expedition boat. Or maybe I should look at something with a rudder as well. Would like to hear how it works out for you.

fast for big boys
Try Current Designs Nomad.

I had the Nomad …
I had the Nomad a while ago. Nice boat, and indeed good for long legs and big feet. The seat and cockpit width at the seat might not be accommodating to really wide hips and waist lines, and the rear deck was a bit too high for my liking. Very good construction, not too heavy, fast, and good in rough water. The original rudder was not very good on mine, replaced with FastTrack - much better.

First Impressions
Posted my first impressions to an old thread, but it does not show on the top of the forum, so I’ll paste here again. The old thread is here:


This is what I posted:

Just got my new to me '05 Chatham 18 and took it out on the water for a first time today. The fit is good for me at 6’4" and 200lb, 36" waist, size 15 US feet. The boat I have did not come with hip pads and I would estimate I only have probably 1/2" at the most on each side, probably less, between my hips and the vertical seat supports. Similarly, there isn’t a whole lot of extra space to the side of my thighs, so this boat is great for tall people, but I would not necessarily think anyone with a waist size much more than 42" would be comfortable in it. But that’s hard to tell as individual body types and preferences vary a lot.

The front deck does not feel tall at all for me, even for use with a low-angle stroke and a Greenland paddle.

The stability profile is very friendly: well-defined primary stability (boat is not twitchy just sitting in it) and a nice, supportive secondary (can sit the boat on edge and it will stay there). Granted, this is a 20" boat so there is only so much it can offer in final stability, but it won’t take you by surprise and will give plenty of warning.

I did not find it exceptionally maneuverable, but probably more on the “maneuverable” side of things as long boats go (it is not stiff tracking). It responds nicely to edging for course corrections and turns, but I don’t think the ends released for me unless I put it pretty much at a 90 degree to the water. So it won’t “spin” for me without an unreasonably strong edging.

The bow pushes water to the sides and makes noses and splashing after a certain paddling speed is achieved, and creates lift even on flat water. The boat does not feel slow, but does not reward power with speed like more streamlined designs do. Feels efficient to paddle below certain speeds though.

The Valley hatches had all dry-rotted and lost integrity, despite being maintained with 303 and looking brand new inside and out (i.e., smooth and shiny but weak). They are unsafe to use on the water - as I was closing the rear one, a huge crack (6") opened in it and it could not be taped with duct tape due to the non-stick surface from the 303 applications (both inside and out). I will be replacing them with Sealect hatches (I think).

The deck rigging does not allow a spare Euro paddle to be stowed on the rear deck. My particular boat may have had its deck rigging changed and it is missing a large loop across the deck behind the seat (only has short diagonal loops, too narrow to fit a blade under them).

The seat and backband are comfortable for me. I like the ratcheting mechanism, but apparently the plastic on this ages - one of the release knobs broke on my first try at adjusting them. Will need to replace.

The footpegs could be mounted higher and closer - I have them only 2/3 of the way out on the rails (10 or 11 notches are empty towards me on the rails).

The thigh braces are nice, but somewhat prevent knees together paddling. On the other hand, even with knees under them, my legs are not too splayed out - a quite comfortable position for me.

Hope to take it in some lumpier conditions soon :slight_smile:


– Last Updated: Oct-14-16 7:27 PM EST –

I'm 235 lb. & 38" waist and 6 feet tall and put Current Designs wide base seat in the boat. You can order all CD boats with the wider seat if ordering new or retro fit it with some glass work. The seat is wider just below the combing and is very comfortable for me vs. standard seat. I think it is 17" wide vs. 15.5 for standard seat. Wider seat lets nm rotate easier. I just bought another Nomad / Extreme ( exactly the same hull and deck) in HV model with 3/4" higher deck as the trim the hull higher. The CD seat I put in is also lowered more than factory. Never had a smart track rudder but like standard one. Smart tract sticks up unlike standard when not in use. Bracket on Smart trac drags in water also.

I had one over twelve yrs ago
What surprised me was how much room was forward of the footbraces to the bulkhead, I cut out the glass bulkhead and put in a minicell bulkhead with extra blocks for full footbraces.

I might do that too.
I probably won’t bother moving the bulkhead, but I will likely do some thing about the foot braces, maybe add a cross-bar between them that would also give me some height above where they are currently mounted. I could stuff some minicell or an airbag is front of them to fill the space to minimize the amount of water that will accumulate in a rescue situation. But I don’t cate for lots of storage, so I’m fine as it is.

I need to redo some of the deck rigging though - one of the knots is in the way of my paddle and there is no room for a spare 2-piece euro blade on the rear. I am not quite happy with how a GP fits on the front deck either, so I might need to do something there as well.