One more comparison..PEREGRINE vs OSPREY

-- Last Updated: Sep-15-05 11:40 AM EST --

And not the birds! But, those of you that can compare the Hemlock Peregrine to the Swift Osprey I'd appreciate it...I know the specs on both but I can't paddle either at this time. So, how do they compare in handling both lakes and rivers, weekend tripping, stability [initial and secondary], speed, tracking and turning. By the way I'm ~ 200lbs +/-. Thanks!

I recently bought a Peregrine and have only paddled about 30 miles so far in big and small lakes and small streams. I haven’t paddled the Osprey but was paddling a Shearwater right next to one in a solo handling class. The Osprey handled MUCH better than the Shearwater in turning maneuvers. The Peregrine is probably better suited to larger paddlers. The Osprey may be more maneuverable in tight turns than the Peregrine, too. That said, the Peregrine handled very well in slow small streams with and without leaning. I think overall you should look at how much you plan to carry. I would think that carrying any sort of a load at all would lead you more toward the Peregrine, considering your own size. As always, it would be great if you could give them each a try.

I’ve never paddled a Peregrine so I can’t compare either.

I’ve paddled the Osprey on small streams, some with moderate current, lakes and protected ocean. I’ve been happy with it in all of those venues.

I’d say the Osprey has Ok primary and excellent secondary stability, turns easily, holds a line (tracks?)Ok, and feels very responsive. It is sensitive to trim when the wind blows but with the sliding seat that is easy to deal with.

I weigh 195 and have not loaded it up much but I did pick up a 30lb bag of trash some dork left on an island. With that behind the seat, paddling down stream in a moderate current, the boat felt quite solid.

What else can I say? I like it.


I have paddled both boats
I took an Osprey out for a test paddle last year at the Swift shop on Georgia Bay in Waubaushene, ON. Later in the fall I had an opportunity to paddle the Hemlock Peregrine, ordered one and have been paddling it this year, mostly lake paddling.

I can’t quite find my test paddle notes, but here is what I remember. The Osprey is a bit wider than the typical solo boat. I think that this is preferred by the Canadians. The day that I paddled, it was quite windly on an shallow exposed section of bay. I was very surprised at how well I could control the Osprey in the wind and waves. It had reasonable speed of a solo boat and good stability and turned fast. I liked its handling characteristics. It seemed to be designed to able to handle both lake and river paddling. What I didn’t like was the weight, the price and the greater distance to travel to get one. (I knew that I wanted to see some other boats before I made a decision.)

Also there have been some concerns here on regarding quality and customer service from Swift. I was very impressed with the salesperson at the Swift store. However, I had a some follow up questions which he had me send to Bill Swift, who did a really poor job of having someone answer. It took two letters and a couple phone calls to get some basic information.

In comparison, the Peregrine is narrower, longer, lighter and faster on flatwater. I think that it is a bit less suitable for river use than the Osprey. The Peregrine’s bow is much more pointy compared to the blunt Ospret bow. I raced the Peregrine in in a race and it was fast and seaworthy in wind and waves. Similarly equiped, the Hemlock Peregrine cost less, was closer for me to pick up, and I’ve really enjoyed dealing with Dave Curtis.


They are really quite different. I put many miles on my Osprey…no longer have it but would but another in a minute.

Osprey is a smaller and more responsive boat and also more versatile…signifantly more at home on moving water (rivers). Also way more capable for freestyle…my Osprey was one of my all time favorites for messing around with freestyle moves. Osprey also cruises just fine on lakes…but the pace will not be as fast as a Peregrine for same efforts and you would not want to challenge a Perergine in a race. My Osprey’s performance fell off noticeably with the dog…the boat was super hot with just me (200) but starts to bog down with 275. Peregrine handles 275 pounds effortlessly and feels lightly loaded. Initial stability is higher in the Peregrine.

The Peregrine is a lake boat that happens to work just fine on slow moving rivers, and the Osprey is a boat made for both lakes and rivers that actually does a fine job at both.

If you get an Osprey my take is - avoid the kevlar skid plates if you can…they make the bow a bit noisy. Canoes should be silent.

Swift skid plates…
To ad a few more thoughts on those Swift skid plates that whitewaterweenie mentioned…

I had it explained to me as follows (by a guy who used to work for Swift). The Osprey and Shearwater hull designs require two part molds. Due to this molding process a jagged mold mark is left at the stems. The builder typically covers these mold marks with skid plates as a cost effective cosmetic fix. I did have success (eventually) in having Swift build me a hull without the skid plates and they did a fine job of feathering the seam marks. But they were reluctant to build it that way. Unless something has changed recently chances are slim that a person will find an Osprey or Shearwater without skid plates ready-to-go on the dealer’s sales floor, skids are standard fare on those models.

As skid plates go I would have to say Swift’s are narrower than most and seem very thick and durable. But they do gurgle – no doubt about that. My personal opinion on skid plates is that they’re something one should have put on a new canoe only if you’re planning on very serious rock bashing. They can always be added latter and you might go for years and years without incident – and without those annoying gurgling sounds.

As always when considering a Swift boat be sure to inspect very closely for hull quality & overall workmanship. A safe bet is to assume nothing about that builder’s quality control standards…

Boo – you asked about comparisons between the Swift Osprey and the Hemlock Peregrine. I’ve never paddled a Peregrine, but I can say I have never once heard a negative word about Dave Curtis’ quality. From what I’ve heard and seen he builds to the highest standards and is universally acclaimed as an honest guy who builds first rate canoes.

My 2 Cents
I love my Peregrine. The boat is a masterpiece of design and construction. Mine is the premium + hull and weighs in at an honest 34 lbs. It is an asymmetric hull with differential rocker and a low shear line. It excels in flatwater with good speed and glide, but also is excellent for rivers providing they are not too technical or contain greater than CII WW. Because of the low shear, it behaves well in wind and has no difficulty in waves or chop.

I have limited experience with the Osprey, but am building a stripper version. I have paddled my friend’s Osprey (also a stripper) and it seems to be a boat better suited to moving water. There is a bit more rocker and a higher shear line, so it would do better in WW.

Both are great designs, but you can’t beat Hemlock quality. If you plan to do a lot of river paddling, you might also want to consider the Hemlock SRT. That is going to be my next boat.