Readers of this august publication are no doubt familiar with the fishing prowess of the osprey, that coastal raptor with the distinctive black band across its eyes. What they might not know, however, are similar qualities in a boat bearing the fish-hawk's name. Osprey Boat Company, a semi-custom builder in the Pacific Northwest, has quietly been producing fish-cruisers for more than 12 years. And the newest addition to its line - the Osprey 30 Extended Cabin - is sure to generate serious interest elsewhere in the country.
The Osprey XC is made for hardcore fishing, starting with the immense 64-square-foot cockpit. The transom door is standard, as is the 360-quart, in-deck fishbox, a pair of flush-mount rod holders, twin horizontal rod racks and removable coaming bolsters. Our test boat was equipped with the optional macerated 35-gallon transom live well and cabin rocket launcher, while the cockpit sole (with aggressive non-skid) was painted gray to eliminate glare. Other options include the flying bridge and cockpit control station.
The 30XC reflects Osprey's Northwest heritage, where the waters of Puget Sound and Alaska can offer challenging sea conditions. The boat's keel is constructed with 12 layers of fiberglass mat, and the stringer system is made of layered fiberglass, too. The flotation and insulation is closed-cell foam. There's no wood anywhere in the hull, but the boat is designed so that 70 percent of the total weight is below the waterline. This feature, along with the 18-degree deadrise and unitized handcrafted construction, provides stability and a smooth, dry ride.
Our test boat, powered by 188-hp Volvo turbodiesels, topped the 40-mph mark. However, the boat's sweet spot is 3200 rpm, where it burns five gallons per hour per engine while cruising at 30.5 mph, according to company president Tim Sims. Add in the optional 330-gallon fuel tanks and you've got a 500-mile range. Skinny water is also an option with the Osprey; with the outdrives up, it only draws 17 inches of water.
Besides the Volvos, the Osprey is available with several power options, including other diesel and gas engines, plus bracket-mounted outboards. Maintenance is easy due to the well-designed engine spaces. An integral genset mounting pad is standard, and Osprey uses quality components, such as Bennett trim tabs, Guest battery chargers and Teleflex hydraulic steering, for dependability.
From the pilothouse helm, the Osprey affords an excellent 360-degree field of vision. The Mathers electronic controls, Bentley helm and complete Faria instrumentation make long runs a pleasure, but the comfort level only increases once you drop the hook.
"Sixty percent of our boats are sold to families," Sims explained, "because of our smooth ride, reputation for safety and comfort, yet these are still serious fishing boats. And we can basically do whatever the customer wants, such as a custom galley or flat-screen television or swim platform."
True to form, the finish of the Osprey rivals that of most custom yacht builders, as evidenced by the standard teak-and-holly cabin sole and teak cabinets. The optional diamond-glaze cabin door and windows, along with ample lighting, give the cabin and vee-berth a bright look. The extended cabin design means greater vee-berth room, and the dinette converts into a berth as well. With another smaller berth under the helm, there's plenty of room for family or crew, plus there are storage compartments galore. The well-equipped galley with refrigerator, microwave, gas/electric stove and sink is standard, as is the stand-up head with shower and 30-gallon hot-water system. An air-conditioning unit and 3.5 kW diesel generator are handy options for warm-weather climes.
Overall, the Osprey 30 Extended Cabin soars with quality and value. Add tackle and you'll be ready to fly off to your favorite fishing hole. Osprey Boat Company, Sedro-Woolley, WA; (360) 855-1274;