Submitted: 05-22-2001 by c2g
The Osprey is an exceptionally pleasant boat to paddle. Mine is fiberglass with ash trim and a sliding seat. Unlike one of the earlier posts, I don't find the weight to be a problem. I actually appreciate the heavier layup because it doesn't flex very much. However, most of my paddles are day paddles on local lakes, so portaging the extra ten pounds or so isn't something I'm concerned about.
The boat moves up to cruising speed quickly, and can be kept there quite easily. I paddled a 25-mile course the other day in around six hours, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who are stronger paddlers than I am.
The maneuverability is superb. If you have a good assortment of strokes, it will do anything you ask it to. The boat tracks reasonably well if you have good mechanics on your forward stroke, meaning that you will want to keep your paddle shaft vertical. I don't find it to be particularly good for sit-and-switch paddling, but I don't think it was designed to be.
Initial stability was a bit low for me, but I weigh about 200 lbs. My wife and son, who both weigh around 130, didn't find it to be a problem. I found the factory setup to be fine when the water was smooth, but when the waves kicked up, I was much more comfortable kneeling. I wound up dropping the seat 1" and adding a foot brace, and am now much more comfortable when things get a bit rough.
Secondary stability is superb. The boat rolls smoothly over to the shoulder on the tumblehome, then firms right up.
I think the sliding seat works fairly well, although it would be nice if Swift added some sort of stop to keep it from moving once you get it where you want it. The seat tends to slip rearward when you are kneeling, and does the same thing if you are using a foot brace. Initially I used a couple of spring clamps on the seat rails, but eventually made a new rail with notches cut into it for the seat to drop into.
I think the boat is superb the way it come from the factory, but think it would be even better if Swift added a foot brace and something to keep the adjustable seat from sliding.