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Osprey 155

by Old Town Canoe and Kayak

Reviews

I bought an Osprey 155 new in 2003. Got a great…

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I bought an Osprey 155 new in 2003. Got a great deal on a 2002 model in the camo pattern. I've used it pretty heavily in RI and CT in both fresh and salt water. Last summer had a great day clamming in one of the salt ponds with my wife, two kids and a full load of beach and clamming gear. Wind and waves really kicked up in the afternoon, and wound up riding a tail wind and surfing most of the way home. Not something that I would really like to make a habit of, but the boat performed beautifully. Just got it registered today so that I can put a trolling motor on it and really extend our range this season.

After 9 seasons, the boat still looks new. I keep it covered when not using it. There are a bunch of scratches in both ends from rocky beaches, but it actually blends in pretty well with the camo pattern. The limited woodwork has stood up to the salt water well. I'll probably add some kevlar skid pads to the bow and stern this year just to protect the hull.

Just an update to my earlier review. Having had a chance to…

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Just an update to my earlier review.
Having had a chance to row this boat a few times now, I figured I'd pass on some thoughts. The Osprey 155 comes with 4 oarlocks that can be set up either side of the center seat. If you sit facing aft in the center seat, the aft oarlocks are positioned about 12" behind the leading edge of your/center seat. If you turn around to row, the forward oarlocks are about 15" from the seat. I found rowing from the 12" position tight and limiting in stroke length (note: the oarlocks are low as compared to a traditional rowing boat.) However, in the latter position, it's much more comfortable and less restrictive. It also allowed me (@ 5'8 or so) to rest my feet on the front seat edge as kind of a foot brace. In this position, the 155 moves like you would expect from a properly trimmed 15+' double stem boat. i.e. efficiently and quickly. With a set of 6.5' aluminum oars, a light stroke pushes the boat nearly a whole boat length without loosing momentum and with no tracking issues ( even with a light/mod crosswind.) There is no doubt that of the traditional paddling, double paddling and rowing I've done in this craft, the oars will give you twice the speed at 1/2 the effort. The only downside to rowing the boat is that you need a good 10-12' of clear water width to move the boat. This could be an issue if you frequent tight/turning creeks and streams where there are obstructions.

I've had my Osprey 155 for two years now. It is my…

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I've had my Osprey 155 for two years now. It is my second canoe, the first being a Coleman. I use it exclusively for fishing in it and I love it. Rowing from the center seat allows me to go way out in the Long Island Sound by myself. I almost always took a partner to paddle with before. I never paddle anymore, only row, even when there's two of us. I'll just face the paddler. It just flies when rowed. I can troll all over and now drifting for fluke is more feasible as well. Covering miles is a snap and the wind is less of an issue but of course, on the Sound, one must always be heads up. When trolling, I can get to a rod to take a hit real quick because I can just let go of an oar; it's not going anywhere thanks to the oarlock. It seems to be the right combination of stable and fast. It has taken the four foot wake of some big barges no problem.

First let me say that this isn’t my first canoe. In fact…

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First let me say that this isn’t my first canoe. In fact, I’ve had around 20 to date and still collecting. Recently, I craved another mid-sized fishing canoe that might double for some occasional mild river running. That meant something stable, maneuverable, keel less, durable(!) and friendly to both solo/tandem paddling (My Stowe Mansfield does all this very well but is just too nice to punish in some of these places). Based on this list, and the fact that stumbled onto a heck of a deal, I picked up a (used) Osprey 155 .

Given I haven’t seen a lot of detailed reviews on this canoe yet, I’m going to do a in depth general and solo fishing review here and follow up on it latter. I figure most looking at this boat want it for "sporting canoe" anyway.

First off, it is tough! On purchasing the boat, the seller dropped the bow onto asphalt from my trucks roof rack. It landed square on the side of the bow and had no notable damage/scratches to show for it! I’ve since hit & slid across and grounded on several underwater rocks. The keel less Royalex hull, seemed to slide right over most with little deflection or scratching.

As for weight: At 68# (for this middles seat rowing version), this canoe is lighter than most in the 16’ class and nearly 20# lighter than those 14’ "sporting" canoes / pool toys sold @ sporting goods stores. This makes out of water handling more manageable. (A note on car topping here. IMHO, extra length in a canoe makes car topping easier. Rather than lifting the whole boat up, you just get one end up onto the racks and then lift & slide the other end into position. Much easier IMHO than fully lifting short canoes ovwerhead.)

So how does it paddle? Well as expected, it’s not a rocket ship but it does move decently for a hull of this width and fullness. Largely I think because OT hit it right with the combination of the stiffer Royalex, arched hull and longer length. The arched floor flattened out when in the water but it hardly “oil canned” when stood in and there was almost no speed robbing flexing when underway. Cross wind can be a nuisance in this boat but I think that true of any keel less, shallow draft canoe and not overly unique or problematic in this boat. (It’s the tradeoff for maneuverability and fast water safety vs tracking.) For Solo paddling, sitting (210#) in the front seat and facing the stern, the boat trimmed out nicely with only a 15# anchor tucked up forward. This is important since wetting the entire 15’+ of hull aids in tracking and stability. A relaxed J stroke is all that was needed to keep it on track with a 5 knot quartering wind. BTW, I found that a slightly wider 7.5" paddle (and later a 240cm kayak paddle) aided greatly in speed, tracking and maneuvering of this full figured boat.

Other observations: While I haven’t rowed the canoe yet, I think it’s a nice option that will allow me to cover long distances quickly. Knowing a bit about row boat design, I think this hull should perform really scoot under oar. More importantly though, the center seat option (vs center portage thwart) is a great addition to the fisherman. It allows you to lay (up to 10’) rods flat across all three seats & well below the gunnels keeping them protected and at right hand. The center seat is also only arms length from the "solo"/front seat so it can be used as a table for your gear, depth sounder, etc. Seat height was good too. Low enough to feel comfortable and aid stability but high enough to allow my size 10s to slide under for keeling (which I sometimes do.)

While we are talking seats, this is my only (minor) gripe in the boat. I do like that they are the traditional flat woven style but these have NARROW seating areas that have you resting on wood all the way around. I would think they could do better on a $1000+ canoe. (My 03’ OT Discovery Sport has much wider/nicer seats.) (Whatever canoe you buy, consider the type of seat carefully. Molded seats have their place but don’t allow aftermarket backrests and /or reverse seating for passengers/solo paddling.) HTH, I’ll try to update as I use the Osprey 155 in other ways...

I would agree. A pretty good boat. I've owned it…

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I would agree. A pretty good boat. I've owned it for 4 years. Light enough to throw on top of the car without busting my hump. Not the fastest, doesn't hold the most gear, but great for plunkin’ around on small lakes or easy rivers.

This is a great recreational boat for fishing, running rivers, and just…

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This is a great recreational boat for fishing, running rivers, and just plain horsing around. The stability of the boat is fantastic. It's not the fastest boat on the water, but hey what's the hurry anyways. The boat has plenty of room for gear and stretching your legs. I can't think of too many other canoes that offer asmuch as this one and at this price. Great boat for any user.