Swift Osprey???

Okay I am an admitted boat whore so please take that into account in responding…

I posted a message a couple of weeks ago about looking for a good river tripping boat.

I want a boat primarily for tripping but also for day trips, that will be maneuverable enough and capable enough for up to Class II+ whitewater with a light load (I am a backpacker) but that will be fast enough and comfortable/efficient enough paddled in the sitting position to be reasonably fast on the flats which can be long on some of the rivers I paddle on. On the flats I woudl be using a bent shaft paddle and probably paddling sit and switch.

The above is a bit of a stretch I realize because in order to have sufficient maneuverability you usually lose enough tracking to make it stink when paddled sit and switch…adn in order to have enough volume to be good in whitewater you usually lose the ability to maintain a good straight paddle shaft when paddled sitting.

I had considered the Merlin, the Rendezvous, and the Osprey.

I have eliminated the Merlin as I don’t think it has the maneuverability or WW capability, and I have found a used Osprey so I am thinking of going with that.

I had an Osprey for a short while and recall it being very maneuverable and fairly fast, but recall it’s tracking was not the greatest. I did not paddle it sit and switch much as I was not used to that style of paddling when I had it, but did paddle it a bit with one knee down and using a bent shaft with a J stroke and recall it was reasonably fast paddled like that.

How do you think the Osprey woudl fit this bill?

The one I found it used and unfortunately is NOT the expedition kevlar.

It has a gel coat outer layer and is one of their older hybrid layups of kevlar and fiberglass. I am also a bit dubious about the strength of the layup and its ability to be used in rocky rivers.

How about the WW capability? I had not used my in WW, but had used it in some pretty windy days win big wind waves and was impressed with its ability to take big waves on open water so I would think it would do okay in up to Class II +.

Just curious for your thoughts.

I will probalby go with it. I did really like the Osprey and it is one boat I regret selling.



I’ve never owned an Osprey but it is one of two boats that prompts me to ask myself why I don’t have one every time I paddle it (the other is the Wenonah Advantage).

The paddling I have done in an Osprey has been on flat water and it seems to me to paddle quite efficiently for a boat that retains quite a bit of maneuverability and flare for dryness. Maybe not the fastest or hardest tracking but very pleasant to cruise along in slackwater.

I think that composite fiberglass/Kevlar boats are fine to use on rocky streams, up to a limit. I obviously wouldn’t take one on a very steep creek and might be reluctant to use one in very technical, shallow, rocky Class II+ rapids. Most cracks can be repaired easily enough if they don’t involve the foam core.

Putting off the inevitable…

– Last Updated: May-07-10 12:11 PM EST –

I was not at all surprised to see your name as the initiator of this thread.

My only real reason for responding at all; I'm putting off the inevitable........I should be outside doing some lawn mowing & weed eating, not sitting at this keyboard.

I see that you are now prefacing your comments with,
"Hi! I'm bowler1, and I'm a boat whore". That's good; the first step in problem solving is to admit you have a problem, and identify the problem.
For you; that is not enough.
You have to admit that your problem is two fold.
You are not just a "boat whore"; you are also a "grail quester".
There is a difference; it is blatantly obvious when you are capable of reading between the lines of your post(2 key words: tracking/manueverability). I am capable; it takes one grail quester to know another one. I am a "reformed grail quester"; now just a common boat whore.
I know what I'm talking about.
You know what I'm talking about too.
You ain't gonna find the grail!

My opinion.........you made a good decision dropping the Merlin II from you list of possibiles. In it's place (based on your particular grail quest) I suggest you add the Hemlock SRT. Keep the Osprey on the list. Rendezvous is a definite maybe.

It would be fun to waste this day away with you. We'd load up the Osprey, SRT, MR Guide, and MR Courier/composite version(it's a possible). I have all 4 available. You bring a Rendezvous, a Merlin II, and a Swift Raven(possibiltiy?).
We could make a day out of it; boat whoring & grail questing..........

Be a lot more fun than mowing & weed eating.


P.S. Yanoer would be fun to have present; he's another boat whoring, grail quester.

I’ll bet if you work on your catch and
early pressure, you can get that Osprey to track better without having to “J” very often. Bent shaft paddles don’t J that well, anyway. You’re s’posed to be hitting and switching. If the Osprey doesn’t track well enough for that, are you too light for the boat? Start bringing along more gear, like a trimmer and mower.

I hope my Lawn Boy starts today. The grass is getting high.

Oh yeah!

– Last Updated: May-07-10 1:04 PM EST –

If a paddler works on their skill's perfection, it lengthens the list of boat model rationalizatons; the list of possible "grail boats" gets "longer".

I have no proof, but I am almost certain, based on written word evidence(pnet post responses)that g2d & pblanc are both reformed "grail questers".
Now they just "boat whore" on rare occasions; seeking cheap thrills. In the morning they feel guilty, and swear it's the last time.


I want to fondle & smell a composite Wildfire so bad ........
I nearly had her last month, but some other boat whore got there first! He won't treat you like I would have baby! You know the guy who took you has no class baby; he's from Illinois!

Who are you calling reformed!?!
Actually, I prefer old boats. They make me feel young.

Tommorow, I’m going to take a look at both a Perception Pirouette and a Whitesell Piranha. You may see both at the Ozark Rendezvous.

My, my, my …a grail quester …
I am sorry…never in my imagination did I think it would come to this.

I regretfully admit being an enabler. I sold Matt a Bell Magic and even encouraged him by allowing him to see my humble fleet … boat whore I could understand but … grail quester. sigh.

On the bright side after reading the entirety of Bob’s post I realized this term (grail quester) did not involve livestock of any type or animal husbandry.

Grail seeker….mmmm……perhaps yes and perhaps no.

I don’t think there is a grail out there, but there is a “set” of boats for each paddler that make up his “grail.”

I know that boats are all about trade-offs but to me it is a matter of truly defining the roles and situations in which you will paddle and defining your preferences as a paddler and then finding the right “mix” of boats that will best meet your needs and your preferences.

Searching for “the grail” and assuming it would be one boat would be like a golfer searching for that one golf club that could do it all and where he wouldn’t need to lug around a bag full of clubs.

Well to me you do need more than one, but the ones you choose have to be carefully chosen for your application you choose to use it for.

And it’s a delicate balance….changing one boat in the fleet may mean having to make multiple re-adjustments to establish the new perfect fleet. I’m still working on figuring out what will best meet my needs and desires.

I have a small fleet. Wes had a nice fleet in his garage. I liked his choice of boats and my fleet actually resembles his fairly closely.

Bob though……he has more like a marina or a flotilla……

What water do you like paddling best?

I know what I like and my boat selection reflects that kind of water. I like class II, II+ and I’m trying to work my way up to being solid on III. I’ve also got some extra boats thrown in there because I’ve got kids too.

For me, it’s water selection first, and then boat selection follows naturally.

I think its more than just the class of water, but also the character of the rivers you paddle.

I paddle flat water, windy open water that develops pretty decent windwaves and paddle on days up to about 20mph winds, solid Class III, and Class I / II streams that may involve lots of rocks and obstacles to avoid. That really requires a mix of different boats and no one boat can fill the niche.

For this particular boat I would use it for Class I to II+ day and multi-day trips. The multi-day trips often involve long stretches of flat straight sections which make me desire a boat that has a reasonable cruising speed as well and that is good for sit and switch as kneeling through those sections sucks. But the rapids may involve enough obstacles that something like the Magic can’t really handle.

I have a Magic that covers the open water well, and a MR Guide that is great in up to Class III but slow on the straight aways.

Utlimately for my solo fleet I would want to keep the Magic and the Guide and then use this boat to bridge the gap between them for river trips.

Keep the Magic, get an Osprey

… and bring the Guide out out to Western PA for the WPA Solo Canoe Rendevous (June 12) and Paddling on the Slippery Rock Creek. It’s good fun.


– Last Updated: May-07-10 5:17 PM EST –

A boat whore has many boats; he may even have 2 of the "same" boat. One is a "spare". They can never "get enough". They want them all, and they want them now! They are "not" pure of heart. They don't attempt to explain themselves; they don't believe any explanation is necessary. Their attitude is screw you; they're all mine!

A "grail quester" (think King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table)may also have many boats. But the "grail quester" is noble,and pure of heart, like Sir Galahad. He is seeking the "grail"; he is on a holy mission.
The holy of holy; the boat that will do everything well, from class I through class II+/III.

One of the psychological tools used by the grail quester with great skill is rationalization.
They have convinced themselves that their quest is noble. Gradually, over time, their verbal skills improve. They can quote canoe specs & technical terms like a preacher quoting bible verse.
At some point in time they become masters of rationalization.
They can actually convince others that there is merit in their rationalization for owning 10, 15, or 20 canoes.

I speak from experience.
I started on a quest. When the boat count hit 21 I knew I had failed.I was just another boat whore.
I was not noble, nor was I pure of heart; I had failed.
But........there is something to be said for whoring..........it's fun.

You go for it Matt!
Maybe you'll succeed where so many have failed.
Remember, you have to be noble & pure of heart to succeed on a "grail quest".


Hemlock SRT

“I want a boat primarily for tripping but also for day trips, that will be maneuverable enough and capable enough for up to Class II+ whitewater with a light load (I am a backpacker) but that will be fast enough and comfortable/efficient enough paddled in the sitting position to be reasonably fast on the flats which can be long on some of the rivers I paddle on. On the flats I woudl be using a bent shaft paddle and probably paddling sit and switch.”

I bought the SRT for these reasons. I believe it satisfies these requirements very well.

I also like the Osprey a lot and think it would do the trick also. The SRT can carry a much heavier Grail than the Osprey, however.

Have you been nipping at the bug dope again?

Carry a heavier grail…

– Last Updated: May-07-10 5:31 PM EST –

Funny Glenn!

I know exactly what you mean.......
I got the Osprey first.
Then I got an SRT too.

I knew then that I was not noble or pure.
My quest was a sham.......
I didn't even shed a tear; I was too busy looking for that next boat.

On a serious note; I believe you are correct.

Either the Osprey or the SRT would be suitable, but you could probably go with a little heavier load in an SRT, and perhaps have a little dryer
ride too?
I am most definitely a fan of the SRT.
Both are very well made, and both are beautiful canoes.


The relationship is more one of
gathering a harem, not of being a “boat whore.” In the latter case, to whom would I sell my favors? And what would they be? What would Bob expect for himself from a boat whore?

A prudent man does not paddle a boat that is better-looking than himself.

Yes, good doctor, but …

– Last Updated: May-07-10 7:44 PM EST –

...even a hanndsome fella like yourself must occasionally enlist the assistance of a bad good plastic (or composite) surgeon to help by hook-n-crook-n-rock-scissors-scapel-n-paddle obtain his-or-her preference to remain the prettier one.

Meanin' the bad side of that surgeon runs a few dermabrasion experiments on their lovely, so as to bolster the upsider's mug into the lesser craggy countenance.

All you keepers of the canoe concubines (the whole whorey or hoary sultanate lot of ya) ply me with envy. Why, just the other day I was subjected to the affeared madame's count of my own measely Chicken Ranch ("one red, two red, three red, four red, FIVE! THOMASSSSSSSS!" - neighbor Don's red Royalex Rendezvous still inhabited my van's roof racks nearby the backyard harem heap).

Just imagine the Scheherezade and hairhimhadn't if She Who Must Be Obeyed espied a shiny red SRT and Kill(the husband)arney Green Osprey on those same said racks next to the red Voyager!

All the kings horses and all the king's surgeons...Oiy!

Living vicariously through you gentlemen and your exquisite collections of exceptional hulls,


Paddling with Prudence…
She won’t have anything to do with me. :wink:

I think we both have missed that mark.

So Matt, with the sage advise
I’ll give my $.02 with no editorial comment. Sorry but the Bob just put me in contemplative thought earlier.

Paddled the Osprey a little bit. Influenced me to get the Shearwater. Likely will never part with it willingly. Shearwater is a big boat, love it for big multi day river trips up to mild CII.

Busted the heck out of the Shearwater last year on the New River in nasty bony CII and one low CIII. At low water and loaded the Shearwater was just too much boat for me to wrestle thru tight twisty turning shelves and eddies. YMMV.

The Osprey being a bit shorter and a little more rocker may have fared better but I would take the MR Guide in a heart beat for that same trip.

The Shearwater is repaired and resting in the garage.

Take Clarions advice and figger out the real water you want to run, that is the way to choose a boat.