Merrimack Osprey as a solo?

In my search for a solo canoe with substantial initial stability to be used on flat water and slow rivers, primarily for just screwing around and fishing, I came across a Merrimack Osprey. I know its shallow of me, but I love the looks, the 40ish lbs in carbon/kevlar/wood layup, and, what I’m told, is the toughness/durability of that layup over regular carbon/kevlar canoes. But its clearly designed as a tandem despite being only 13’

Anyviews on how the Osprey would handle as a solo? Anything I could do to improve its solo handling? Or do I have to move the seats to put one more center and then is it simply too wide to paddle?

Any views on the Osprey in general?


The quick and dirty answer is that the boat is too wide to effectively solo. You do need to be near the middle of a boat, either on a seat or a kneeling thwart, to have good control when solo. In this boat you would need to move too far to one side or the other to reach the water.


Unfortunately, that is what I expected. I appreciate the info. Too bad, it is really a beauty. I’ll continue the search. Again, thanks.

You can look at the reviews on this site to get some insight into boats that have been reviewed.

Merrimacks are nice boats. You might consider the Baboosic solo…it’s a bit wider than many current solos so it’s pretty friendly.

It’s hard to recommend canoes to other people given the wide range of people’s priorities and the wide range of ways the boats get used.

That Osprey sounds ideal for you once you are anchored and fishing but if you have to paddle against any wind or current you might quickly decide you don’t like it.

If you can afford a premium boat and appreciate quality, take a look at the Hemlock Eaglet or Colden Starfire. Both are small tandems that are also intended to be soloed and they are narrow for tandems but still very stable as solos. Both have superb construction quality. The Eaglet is more lake oriented and Starfire is better on rivers but both are super versatile. I think the Eaglet might fit your needs best.

Thanks Tom. I did read the reviews here and anything else on the Osprey that came up in google before I posted – but didn’t see any reports of guys who paddled it solo, which was the focus of my request.

And to the extent the Osprey appears to be sort of a random shot/tangent from the search you all have been so helpful on - its because I saw the Osprey used near me for a good price. I’m still in my $1000 price range, or, hopefully, less for a used canoe. So, while the Eaglet and Starfire look like great canoes, at more than $3K they are non-starters for me. Now, if I see a used one at a grand, I’ll be asking you guys all about it!!

Thanks again for the feedback.

Not sure if it’s suitable for you but the Canadians like to paddle fairly wide canoes solo. They heel it to one side and strokes are all (mostly?) on that side.

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thanks. Very interesting video. But I don’t think I’m ready to commit to Canadian style soloing at this beginner stage - even for a beautiful boat like the Osprey

Good post by rival51. Good paddlers heel boats over if they are beamy.
My brother has paddled a Loon 16 for years, often solo. Great boat.

Totally agree. But I’m not a “good paddler.” I’m a relative beginner who wants a beginner-friendly canoe. And you guys have helped me conclude that an Osprey solo is not beginner-friendly.