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Submitted: 10-27-2008 by pianopix
I've had a plastic Chatham 16 for about half a season now, and absolutely love it. I'm about 5'5" and 135 lbs, and the cockpit fits beautifully. The seat and thigh braces are all adjustable to fit you just right. Mine has straps and buckles, not ratchets, to adjust the seat back, so there's nothing to rust. This boat handles beautifully in any conditions, whether calm water, bashing into the waves, quartering seas, or surfing. It is hardly affected by wind at all, and I've hardly ever felt a need to drop the skeg to help tracking. It has superior initial and secondary tracking.
As others have noted, it does give you a 'wet ride' for sure, and it does seem to ride up over and then drop down hard over big waves, unlike some other boats that seem to slice through the waves. However, this seems to add to the fun, rather than being a detriment.
Also, and unfortunately, the hatches do seem to leak unnecessarily. It's not like the compartments are flooded after a day in the surf, but they do seem to take on water where I would not have expected it. Also, and as others have noted, it is a relatively low volume boat; so it may not have the storage for touring as other boats may have.
However, this is probably why it's such a great day tripping boat for smaller paddlers like me. I've tested many different boats, plastic and 'glass, and find this boat to be one of the finest I've tested. I'm thrilled to own it and use it. I love how it handles, and how it looks. Highly recommended for a test drive if you're in the market for this kind of boat.
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