John Lockwood took the hull of our Osprey Double and fashioned a new, 3 cockpit deck. We call her the OSPREY TRIPLE. She's quick and easy to handle at a mere 62 pounds! Plastic and fiberglass doubles weigh 95-110 pounds. Each cockpit measures 33" x 17", for comfortable paddling and easy entries and exits. You may have seen our 2-part construction article featured in WoodenBoat Magazine, issues No. 131 and 132 (summer and fall of 1996). Click here to see our magazine articles.
Excellent for One, Two or Three Paddlers:
The chief advantage of the Osprey Triple lies in her versatility. Two people can paddle her, or if one paddler wants to go out by themselves--to fish, watch wildlife, or just have some solo time--simply paddle the boat as a single from the middle. This enables you to center your weight in the boat for a balanced paddle, with the hull in good trim. Her 20' length, and 30" inch beam give the Triple excellent stability for carrying a load of even three adults, paddling in synch. To fit 3 cockpits on a kayak requires the holes be set quite close together. The Osprey Triple can be paddled by three people with full-sized kayak paddles. This option requires the people to paddle in synch to avoid clacking blades. When two people paddle from the fore and aft positions, their blades do not touch or clack, even when out of synch.
Great for Families:
A child, or even two small children can sit in the center cockpit while two adults paddle the boat from the fore and aft positions. One day, they'll want to bump an adult out of the fore or aft paddle position and use their young muscles paddling full time. We do not guarantee an eventual free ride for the parents--but it's a possibility!
Kayaking with a Dog:
Some people have pets they like to take on the water, but can't quite all fit in the usual double or single. A large dog can be a comfortable paddling companion when he/she has room to stretch out in the spacious middle cockpit (see video above).
A Touch of History:
Historically, the Arctic peoples used single kayaks for hunting sea mammals. Women (usually) paddled large, beamy, open boats called "umiaks" to transport families and goods, and to go fishing. The triple kayak arrived on the scene relatively late in Arctic history. Russia claimed Alaska as their territory in the 1700's and established fur trading sites along the coastal areas where sea otter flourished. The Russians essentially enslaved the Aleuts in their fur gathering system. They had Aleuts construct 3 cockpit kayaks for the express purpose of transporting a non-paddling Russian between the two expert Native paddlers. These beamy hulls also had a fair amount of room for carrying furs. Now days, triples carry camping gear and fulfill multiple paddling needs.
Read and submit reviews for the Osprey Triple Kit.
This is a big boat and I do not think you would ever consider it as a functional single. The pygmy site implies that the boat is light and versatile. I find that it is light enough for two to carry but not far. Racking it takes some strong lifting and if your partner is petite you will need to develop a strategy and not have a high vehicle. I think a couple who were looking for a casual bird watching or picnicking boat would find the boat too heavy and difficult to load and unload to use frequently.
However the use that I put our boat to is wilderness trips off the B.C. coast. So far my partner and I have done a 6 day Broken Island trip and two 10 day trips south of Bella Bella. This is where the capacity to haul gear and water, handle coastal swells, and move at 4 mph for several hours of sustained paddling are a great match for our needs. The boat can handle much rougher water than I care to paddle in. Our last trip had us doing three exposed coastal stretches where the swells would completely hide the other boat in our group and would crash against the rocks with large amounts of spray and deep booms. Add to this the chaotic back wash and rebound and I would find myself concentrating very hard and glad to get back into the protected areas. Great boat, good paddler in the bow, mediocre paddler in the stern.
We have developed a particular gear loading sequence that keeps the heavy stuff centered sideways and lengthwise, a slight miss loading will start to irritate me after an hour or two of leaning. We try to keep the deck load to a minimum but I have rigged a cargo lacing system over the center hatch to make securing extra gear there easy.
If I were building this boat I would make the rear cockpit opening longer so I could get my legs in more easily. I did this on my Coho single that I built last year and found a few inches of length help a lot.
The only negative I note is that the center hatch moves the bow seat location forward. When driving into waves they will often break on the bow deck and wash back and hit the bow paddler in the chest. I will try to set an angled course to waves where possible. I will certainly turn for big power boat wakes. I do not know how other doubles compare but I would guess it would be similar. My single kayak is extremely buoyant in the bow by comparison.
These boats really cover ground and are difficult to the boat allows a petite and large paddler to stay together in pace and allows a more experienced paddler to fill in for lack of technique and endurance of a newer paddler and also allows one paddler to be able to ferry a sick or injured paddler safely. We had some nausea issues on our last trip that could have been more serious if we had been in singles.
Though I do like working with my hands, I am not particularly skilled in the area of woodworking and I had no previous experience constructing watercraft. Materials were of high quality. Building instructions were adequate, but I think that Pygmy could improve them quite a bit by reformatting the manual and updating the content based on the questions received from builders like myself. Like many others, I recommend that builders read the construction manual several times for each and every step.
Contact with Pygmy staff, to ask questions not covered entirely in the manual, was usually helpful and informative.
I am grateful to Pygmy and John Lockwood, its founder, for providing an opportunity to create something that has history and character and that gives humans a special way to appreciate and interact with the natural world.
It's wonderful that it is so light -- super easy to put on the car compared to our old canoe. It's great to be in the same boat as my wife, so if I feel like paddling more than she does, we don't get separated; we stay on the same trip! And, no concern at all for paddle clacking. Great to dump gear (or a 3rd person) in the middle cockpit. I have a rudder and consider that a must for such a long boat, and no downsides.
I have fair experience with glass/wood and mine came out right on 64lbs all up with seats and rudder. Squeegee all that excess epoxy out! (an old credit card works very well) I will soon carve out time to make either a Tern 14 to play in the waves, or the soon to be released Murrelet speed skate. Tough decision!
I've camped with it once and we took way more stuff than I thought could ever fit in a kayak. It's great having the triple even if you never put people in the middle. I got a neoprene cockpit cover for the middle, the nylon got drips that weighed it down and started a puddle.
Not sure what another reviewer meant by "fits 3 adults". I'm 6'3" and there is no way anyone is sitting in the middle seat if I'm in the rear. I'd say it's two moderate sized adults and a small adult/kid in the middle if you're doing 3 people.
As a wood boat, it does need more protection from the elements than fiberglass.
It is a strong boat and it was fun to build. I chose this boat over the double so I could solo paddle it if I needed. It has a little rocker to it so from the center cockpit the boat turns really well for a 20' boat. With two paddlers in the boat is is really a fast boat.