Submitted: 09-10-2007 by polkadottie55
A few reviews I have read about the Chatham 18 indicate that it cannot be ordered without the forward bulkhead installed. Good thing I didn't know that when I ordered mine, because they sent mine without the bulkhead or footpeg tracks installed and I had that done at my local shop. I moved the bulkhead back about 14 inches, gained a huge amount of storage in the hatch, and most importantly, with the aft repositioning of the forward bulkhead, I get less water in the cockpit to pump out if I wet exit. But funny thing about water in the cockpit, I have paddled and rolled it with water up to the seat, (as much as gets in when you reenter and roll), and it doesn't seem to lose much stability, at least compared to my last boat.
I love the primary stability. I can sit on top of my kayak and still launch through small waves. The secondary stability is so positive that I feel like I am learning each time I paddle. It feels like there is a moment when the boat says "okay, here's your chance to recover", a pause when a little hip flick will bring me back up.
This kayak dances over the waves. It feels wonderful even in 5 foot confused seas, and handles it all beautifully. I haven't had the chance to compare it to many other kayaks, mostly because I get in others, and say "not for me" because I can't get a close enough fit.
This boat fits me (5'4" 135 lb woman) perfectly, contact from outside of knee to thigh, to bum. Back band for me is perfect, and about three inches from the coaming. Every movement is translated to the boat. Very intuitive feel. I can do "kayak crunches" with this boat!