Submitted: 07-01-2010 by rider604
I feel that by now I've had enough seat time in my Chatham 16(plastic) to review it.
The Good - as maneuverable as anything in it's class, built tough,and if one is so inclined, you can make your own,more aggressive thigh hooks for even better rolling and control. Speaking of rolling, I managed a hand roll in it on the first try.
The Bad - Hatch rims have a tendency to leak from the factory (screw holes must be re-aligned and rims resealed). This is my 2nd plastic Chatham and second leaker, but since fixed it's dry. The seat I am not crazy about, and I am not the only one - but it's a very personal preference item so just make sure it works for you for as long as you plan to be spending in the boat.
Performance - As expected with a boat in it's class, it's slow on flatwater, plows considerably when empty and more so loaded for a weekend trip.
Maneuvers very well.
Stability curve is something of a personal preference, it has a very strong primary but tipping point also comes a lot sooner than a Romany (which almost has no tipping point to speak of) Unlike the Romany, it seems to be meant for maneuvering without much edging, and edging doesn't really help much, as opposed to the Romany that lives to be put on edge.
Surfing - surfs with the best of the sea kayaks, but that being the key word.
In my opinion, Romany is a nicer,more fun and more playful hull, BUT, Necky makes a way better plastic boat. If it was to be fiberglass, I'd probably pick Romany first. The new coming P&H Delphin may be the best plastic sea playboat yet,but until that is proven, Chatham 16 is probably best money can buy in plastic playboats. Valley Avocet RM close but meant for a somewhat smaller paddler. I am 6'1 and 185 and C16 fits me well.