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Submitted: 02-08-2007 by Phil Johnson

Several months ago I purchased the Merrimack "Osprey" 13ft canoe. I am somewhat of a purist so the Merrimack construction process of combining traditional materials such as cherry and ash wood along with modern materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, kevlar and resins apealed to me. I discovered Merrimack Canoe on the internet and was impressed. When I learned that their sales office was only a few hundred miles from home I just had to see them in person. I was not dissapointed. The Merrimack canoes are simply beautiful! The design, materials and construction reminded me of a beautiful sculpture.

Working with Jim Watkins the owner of Merrimack Canoes was a pleasure. The canoes are still made by hand, in Tennessee by the same people who started the company 50 years ago. Only about 100 canoes are made each year.

Based upon the type of canoeing I would be doing I selected a beautiful green Osprey. Transporting the 13 ft conoe the 200 miles back home was a snap. A rooftop carryiny kit consisting of several foam blocks attached to the canoe gunwales and a few nylon straps quickly secured my canoe to the roof of my Acura sedan.

Now the fun part. The beauty of my Osprey was only surpassed by the fun I have experienced. I live in the Pensacola Florida area. Near my home is a creek that feeds a bayou that runs into a bay. Even though it is winter there have been enough good days that have allowed me to enjoy my Osprey. It is easy to paddle, tracks great and is very stable. I am 57 years old and both my wife and grown daughter have enjoyed outings down the bayou. Since it is so easy to transport the canoe on the roof of my car my next adventure will be to the Austin Texas "hill country" where my daughter and son in law live. We plan on using my Merrimack Osprey to paddle down the numerous streams and rivers and fly fish for trout and bass this spring.

I would highly recommend the Merrimack to anyone looking for a traditional high quality canoe. Is it a little more expensive? Yes. It is worth the difference. Anyone who has compared a high quality fly rod with a cheap rod knows what I am talking about. Happy canoeing!

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