The Osprey is a fast, exciting boat to sail. The Osprey relies on the traditional values of boat design to achieve its speed. The Osprey is fast upwind and down, whereas many competitor boats are heavily optimised to favour downwind sailing at the expense of upwind.
The Osprey’s 17 foot 6 inch length gives it a longer waterline length than almost any dinghy class, and hence a higher maximum speed in displacement mode. Upwind performance is reinforced by the Osprey’s large over-lapping Genoa, whereas off-wind speed is generated by the large spinnaker emerging from the ‘chute.
Downwind, the helm and crew can choose their angles to the wind, and the boat is equally at home running straight before the wind, or heating up on broad reaches. Its character is quite different to asymmetric classes, which always have to zigzag downwind to generate boat speed. In the Osprey, you choose your angle according to the wind strength and tactical considerations, making the downwind legs much more interesting. And of course it handles three sail reaches with aplomb.
In many classes, good helms and crews can find themselves off the pace through being either too heavy or light.
The Osprey class has a breadth of crew weights which other classes cannot match. Larger crews may use stiff alloy spars, or may straighten their carbon masts, while lighter crews usually opt for carbon spars, using more mast bend. Either way, combinations at either end of the weight range can be very competitive. Most Ospreys come with fully adjustable rigs, with rake, shrouds and mast strut all adjustable on the water.
The Osprey is a big boat, hence a bit heavier than smaller competitors, and it has great natural stability. It is a perfect boat on which to learn to trapeze, and it is a fulfilling boat to crew, with a generous spinnaker to enjoy. The Osprey can easily carry a crew of three, though is raced by pairs. It is also a great boat for long distance races or for cruising.