Help me choose a solo stripper

Pretty sure I’m going to try my hand at building a cedar strip canoe this winter and am trying to settle on one to build. I’m thinking of starting with a relatively short solo for my starter boat (less space, less wood, less sanding).

I’m looking at the Winter’s designed Osprey and Nortwest Canoe’s “Northwest passage solo”. I’ve already got a Bell Magic for a flatwater tripper but would like something a little more maneuverable that could handle mild white water (pretty rare), lazy rivers, and flatwater.

The majority of my paddling will be day trips with one or two week long trips during the year. I’m 6’1" and 165 pounds and will probably never be without my 20lb. dog. I usually sit and switch with a bent shaft but am not opposed to kneeling with a straight shaft J stroke but my knees won’t take it all day, or even half.

Any thoughts on these two hulls or any other boat would be much appreciated. I notice the Osprey hull built by Swift is a little different (less rocker and sheer) than the wood strip plan.



If you contemplate occasional
whitewater use, you have to choose rivers, and judge your own ability, so that you don’t hit rocks. Rock impacts and scrapes will quickly break your heart when you see what it does to the outer fiberglass layer.

Some whitewater canoes are still prototyped in woodstrip, and I have even seen them raced on the Nantahala, but the stiffness of a stripper hull means it can’t flex with blows as well as a composite or Royalex boat. That means more damage. It won’t necessarily break the hull, but it will damage that glass outer layer.

My advice would be to build your solo stripper for twisty streams, but for whitewater, look for a composite or Royalex used boat.

Longer skinnier is actually much easier to build (strip), curves are easier the longer and skinner they are. Also the football (pointy rounded shape in the middle of the bottom) that takes all the time to fill gets smaller. Difference in sanding and wood price is very minor.

Bill H.

Looking at the plans
The passage seems like a shortened version of the magic.

the rocker is designed 1/4 more bow and stern then the magic. I suspect and hope it handles like a shorter Magic.

planning a bachelor party?

A local person
Alan, Have you spoken with Jim Dodd in Dakota City? He builds strippers and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Not to far of a drive if you want to meet.


I hae built a Merlin
from the Northwest canoe shop. 15’6" Great boat for the

“big water” we get on Lake Norman with its Miami vice

Cigarette boats and oblivious idiots in boats that should be on the intercoastal water way. It has no rocker but I has never had a problem turning it. If you get down here I am sure the guy who owns it now would let you try it.

I use my Swift Osprey much as you described. She’s one of the most versatile boats I own.

I have heard that the tumblehome can be difficult to strip.

I’m glad to hear that, I’m really leaning towards the Osprey.

How does it handle in comparison to the Magic (I’m thinking you own one of those too).



That’s good to know, I’ve been wondering how a cedar strip would hold up to hard hits.

Whitewater will be few and far between and class II max. I’m thinking of a 165 mile river trip I did this spring that had a fair number of easy class I and maybe some class II, but probably not due to low water levels. 99% of the trip was flat and easy. That’s really all I need it to handle as far as whitewater goes.


Thanks for the contact, Brian. I might have to look him up.



– Last Updated: Oct-29-10 11:05 PM EST –

A few years ago I demoed a strip Osprey in mild lake whitecap conditions. Don't remember much about the handling except that I had fun and that it felt very stable kneeling -- I'd have no qualms about a 20-pound dog as a passenger.

At 5'9" it felt a bit wide for me. Probably fine for you. If I built one for myself I'd be tempted to scale it down just a bit.

I ended up building a S&G Osprey. It's a very different hull shape, and also a bit wide for me, but has turned out to be a great big-dog solo.

The low freeboard took some getting used to, but I've been out with the dog trying to bite the top off the whitecaps and stayed dry.

Did you see the Kite on the Green Valley homepage? Looks like an Osprey with Bell tumblehome.