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   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Blackhawk Ariel vs Swift Osprey     
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distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/09/2020 11:23AM  
Wondering if the collective solo brain trust can give me some performance/paddling perspectives in comparing a Blackhawk Ariel and Swift Osprey?
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distinguished member(1251)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/09/2020 11:34PM  
I'm confused (not unusual)
The title says Blackhawk Ariel, the post talks about Blackwater Ariel...
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/10/2020 09:57AM  
Ha. Fair enough. Edited to say blackhawk ariel.
06/11/2020 07:52AM  
You may not get a lot of responses based on the 2 chosen boats. The Ariel has been out of production since the early 90's. Small company out of Janesville, Wi. Somewhat unique, hand built boats. Not many made. They were a paddlers boat although built with enough quality to be used for tripping. Maybe more of a learning curve to get use to them. 3 boats in that series...Starship, Ariel, Zephyr. There is a handful of people on the site that own them.
The Osprey.....probably more popular out east. Has its roots in Canadian waters so is maybe more "robust" for tripping and probably an easier boat to get familiar with.
Two fine solo hulls.....but not ones you see much of around here for 2 different reasons.
Could be tough to find someone who has paddled both and can give you great comparisons.
06/11/2020 10:21AM  
Probably more likely to find/get information on
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/11/2020 11:27AM  
Thanks for the responses. Here's my situation. I own and paddle an Osprey, which I like very much and which I use as my lake tripper. Also own a Mohawk Odyssey that I use for rivers, especially rocky/shallow ones.
I've always liked the look of the Ariel and have long wanted to try one. My financial situation is such that I likely can't afford/get approval from my wife to buy another solo, so if I were to buy an Ariel I'd probably have to get rid of the Osprey or Odyssey.

I can use the Osprey as a river tripper, up to a point, so I'm curious about the Ariel as a BWCA tripper. I don't want to buy a new (to me) canoe, sell a current canoe, and end up with less paddling functionality, so to speak.

distinguished member (229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/11/2020 09:21PM  
I had a Blackhawk zephyr for a while and really enjoyed it. At 180lbs I was on the heavy side for that boat. Something different came along and I let it go, in part due to my weight, other parts due to the ICS adjustable position and tractor seat I never loved, and the shallow v hull that was stable on edge but not flat, Particularly at rest. It was a cool boat. Popped up to speed very fast and plenty maneuverable for even small twisty rivers, with symmetrical/decent rocker, IIRC. Slightly fish form hull design.

I generally prefer a shallow arch hull profile to the shallow V, and Swede form vs fish form. Still, I’ve always kept my eyes out for an aerial, thinking it would be a great boat. Love the fit and finish on those Blackhawk canoes.

If you decide to sell your odyssey, please let me know. That’s one that has been on my get it list for a while.
06/12/2020 06:08AM  
My Starship is for sale in the thread here at this site.
distinguished member (362)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/26/2020 08:09AM  
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I apologize for not responding sooner tomo, I just saw your post. I've owned both an Ariel and Osprey (at same time). In my view both are by nice boats, I still have an Osprey and I'd be tempted by an Ariel. Ariel likes to have a load in it's tummy. I loved mine when carrying a dog...the glide and momentum are better than an Osprey in that situation. Empty it felt like there was a little too much volume in the middle. You can lean it over and spin it...but you can do that with an Osprey too. Personally I'd prefer the Osprey for spinning in circles on a quiet pond. The Ariel will be much less affected by serious wind than an has a lower profile and the stern is in the water. Along the same lines it is a shallow vee hull so it carves turns gracefully and has a different feel than an Osprey which sort of skids on top of the water. At the end of the day their performance is not too different but they have a much different feel. Again in a loaded boat I think the Ariel may be more satisfying for cruising although the Osprey cruises well and I'd give the edge for maneuverability to the Osprey but the Ariel also runs well. I like Blackhawks and have had 5 or 6 over the years. They are generally very well made with nice details like fitted thwarts, sometimes some mahogany trim and sometimes countoured seats. They seem to stay nice and tight. I often paddle with a dog and the front thwart on the Ariel is quite far rearward so the space for a dog is more limited than most Osprey has a sliding seat which helps make a lot of room for the pup.
distinguished member (229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/01/2020 04:43PM  
Any resolution to your hunt? Not sure where you’re located but I would be interested in either an Odyssey or an osprey!
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/01/2020 05:10PM  
Well, I kept the Osprey (and Odyssey). I still would like an Ariel (there's one for sale in Madison), but I'm hard pressed to buy another solo at the moment. Kona, I'll let you know if I ever want to part with the Osprey or Odyssey. I'm in Duluth. There was an Osprey for sale in the twin cities a few weeks back for a very reasonable price....
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/01/2020 05:13PM  
Thanks, justpaddlin'. Though now I want an Ariel more than ever.
distinguished member (229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/03/2020 11:19PM  
Thanks Tomo, please do.

I saw that osprey, actually connected a friend with the seller and he was able to buy it. Turns out he’d been looking for an osprey for a while. After a short test paddle I know why!
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