Swift Osprey Canoe Love it!

Took my Osprey on it’s first down river trip. Saturday.

Had so much fun I took her out on some easy Class II whitewater Sunday.

She’s no play boat but I do like a fast hull in the rapids and attaining was never so easy!

So she’s good in the wind and open water. Likes the easy rapids at least and I got the idea Saturday that she might even pole.

She’s starting to look like the do all canoe!

Hmm… guess I’ll have to see if she will carry a load.

that’s one of the two designs I’m considering for a cedar strip build to begin in August.

The other contender is Bear Mountain’s Freedom Solo, 15’-3" version.

Thanks for the post.


I’ve also been looking at the Osprey
for awhile. Thanks for the report.

Well then I guess I ought to add
It’s a funny boat. Every time I take it out I learn a little more about it.

You might want to try to paddle one before you put a lot of effort into building.

Doesn’t seem to respond to edging like most other solos I’ve paddled. Doesn’t track. (I don’t much care for hard tracking boats.) So you really have to pay attention to your heading and control it with the paddle.

But it’s easy to control with the paddle and it’s easy to move.

one of my favorites

– Last Updated: Jul-17-06 5:19 PM EST –

The Osprey is one of my favorite canoes, and I've paddled a good percentage of the solos (except for the strictly whitewater boats). It's one of the very few boats that I think does well on both moving water and flatwater. An old Swift catalog that I used to have showed it as being designed for 50% moving water use and 50% flatwater use.

I paddled mine both sit-and-switch (gotta have decent technique) with a bent shaft and with various straight shafts. Once I had a good chunk of time in it, it got to where it responded so well to what I wanted it to do that it was almost like it could read my mind. Okay, so that wouldn't be much of an accomplishement - kind of like reading a comic strip written for pre-schoolers - but it was still a pretty neat feeling.

not recommended

– Last Updated: Jul-17-06 7:42 PM EST –

Given your size and the amount of time it took you to get used to the relatively low stability of the Voyager, I don't think the Osprey would be a good choice for you. At a minimum, get some seat time in one before you add it to your "must procure" list.

Mine should be down here in Maryland in the next 2-3 weeks, and I'd be glad to try to find some time to get together with you so you could try it out.

If you are looking for something shorter and more maneuverable than the Voyager, you might consider keeping your eyes open for a used Wenonah Solitude. It's a reasonably efficient 15' solo with good primary stability and pretty decent maneuverability. I like it better than any of the small solos (Sandpiper, Vagabond, Argosy) that Wenonah has in their current lineup.

The new canoe will
be primarily a recreational boat used on a lazy river. Nothing bigger than C-Is with an occasional C-II.

I’m a straight paddle J-stroker and tracking isn’t a high priority for me though I’m not looking for a WW hull!

Having built a cedar strip kayak, I’d like to replace my plastic Sandpipers/Vagabonds with a nice wood core canoe.


stripper slightly bigger than Osprey
Wood stripper in the similar size as the BM Freedom Solo. I recently bought stripper plans for the John Winters Shearwater. I got them through Martin Step at greenval.com

is my favorite solo. The secondary stability is outstanding. The boat is a hoot to paddle. Although I use it mostly on cypress lined narrow rivers or the Everglades, I have use it in coastal estaurine habitats where wind and waves prove problematic for other craft. Tracking is nice and loose as you mentioned but the smmoth feel attained is the joy of this boat. The sliding seat helps for the trim sensitive nature of the boat.