Chatham 17

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by DarenN, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    [​IMG]

    i took the new Chatham 17 out for a paddle today. i like it. this is the first production boat that i have owned so take my review with as many grains of salt as you like.

    it's heavy. 65 pounds is more than twice what my skin on frame weighs. loading it on and off the car is not enjoyable. do-able but not fun.

    quality control at Necky could be better but the only complaint i have in that area is with the skeg. the screw that locks the cable in the skeg blade is too long and bottoms out before the blade is fully retracted. i can fix it easy enough. also, the skeg deploys about 5 degrees to one side of center. i can fix this too. i had thought that this angled deployment would cause the boat to turn. i don't know why but it doesn't.

    take the bad news first, right? well, that's it.

    the cockpit is real comfy. nice seat. good, adjustable backrest that gets totally out of the way on laybacks. good solid yakima style footpegs. the adjustable knee hooks could be a bit bigger but they are useful as is. the cockpit opening is quite large and allows you to lift your knees up into the spray skirt for a bit of a stretch. (i liked that part. i need to work on my hamstrings.)

    primary stability was stronger than i expected for a 21 inch boat. secondary was real good also.

    it's a fairly strong tracker even without the skeg. but it turns easily on edge, and responds very well to corrective strokes.

    as for speed. it's not a racing boat, but it gets up to hull speed very easily, and glides smooth and straight. it's faster than the Spring Run, but doesn't hold a candle to the King.

    it's a low volume boat but i suspect a three day trip woudn't be a problem to pack in it.

    i expect this boat to really shine at surfing. i caught a couple boat wakes absolutely effortlessly. the slightest ripple and it seemed to want to catch it. (i really like that part! :D )

    the high sweep of the bow and volume above the waterline not only looks really cool but makes for a fairly dry ride. i managed to get it to punch through a wave, but i had to nearly t-bone a real big boat to do it.

    well, that's about it. if i've forgotten anything, just ask. thanks go to Mary, Lynn, Dan, and the rest of the staff at Western Canoeing & Kayaking for great service and a good deal.

    DarenN......
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Paddler

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    Nice review Daren. Do you think this boat will be a keeper? It was sounding like you are going to build a King this winter?

    I sometimes wonder if I should just buy a production boat instead of screwing around for months on trying to build boats...

    Doug
     
  3. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    thanks Doug;
    yes, i will keep this boat. for a while anyways. yes, i am building another King this winter. i'm starting on that in a couple weeks, as soon as i'm finished my s&g. gotta go to White Rock and pick up some strips :D .

    build or buy? Hmmmm...... my opinion is go ahead and buy a production boat if you can find one that truly calls to you, and your finances allow. but the custom designed boat designs that are available will put most production boats to shame performance wise. all you need to do is figure out which design best suits your paddleing needs and skills. then you become the artist that makes the boat one of a kind and a personal accomplishment.

    DarenN......
     
  4. Doug

    Doug Paddler

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    ouch! a few jokes on that subject and you'll have to share a strip or two of your new 20'ers! :lol:
     
  5. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    Doug, all jokes aside, i might be able to help you out with some materials. i know i just barely beat you to the punch on that deal. PM me.

    DarenN.....
     
  6. ztar

    ztar Paddler

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    Daren's review put me in mind of a kayak purchase decision I'll be making within the next 6 months. I've been leaning towards the Necky Eskia, but over the past few months I've have heard more than a few disparaging remarks about that model (generally without specifics). Thus I've been seriously looking at other alternatives.

    Then, I was surprised to read that our German friend circumnavigated Vancouver Island in an Eskia. Along with his trip report and photos, I'd be interested in how his kayak performed.
     
  7. GordB

    GordB Paddler

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    Daren

    Keep an eye on the backrest/band strapping. I noticed this year that Necky was using a "porous" weave for the restraining strap. It causes the studs to rip through the webbing. I noticed this most on the Tasis so I'm not sure if it has the same setup as yours.

    Gord
     
  8. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    thanks for the heads up, Gord. i just went out to the shop and checked the system on my Chatham. at no point in the system is there a rivet though a strap. this is the racheting adjustment system. great for a boat that sees a bunch of different paddlers, but reduntant on a boat that is only paddled by one person.

    DarenN......
     
  9. Komatiq

    Komatiq Paddler

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    Certainly true for a lot of the offerings these days but if you look around there are more than a few production boats that shine in the performance department and would put quite a number of the "build your own" designs to shame so it's really a matter of what you are looking for.

    As far as paddling a boat you've made yourself it's MORE than worth the effort that goes in but again, do your home work and try to test paddle any design before you buy when possible.

    .... just my 2c's worth :wink:
     
  10. Duncan2

    Duncan2 Paddler

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    Skeg

    If you go backwards over shallow water with the skeg out, it can pop off. The darn thing sinks too. I tied some fishing line to the hole where the screw bites into the cable, and looped it around the spindle where it hinges on. That way at least I would drag it along rather than lose it.

    Also you can get a pebble wedged in there and the skeg won't open. It happened to me when I launched from a pebbly beach. You can pry it out usually though.
     
  11. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    I haven't had a problem with the skeg actually becoming dislocated from the boat, but mine is a bit different than most anyways, in that it's actuated by shock cord and a thin rope rather than a rigid cable. As for getting jammed with pebbles, that's a somewhat common occurence especially when launching through some surf on a pebble beach (ie a 'beach crawl'). But there's an easy fix if you paddle with others - drill a small hole near the bottom of the end of the skeg and secure a short length of thin rope or cable. That way a fellow paddler can simply reach under your boat and pull the skeg down, thereby freeing the pebbles and other obstructions from the skeg box.
     
  12. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Yep. That works.