Has anyone seen an OT with wide outwales like this?


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Stumbled across this canoe. Owner says its an OT 1932 OT. Would love any info. I am waiting on serial number. The outwales and the thwarts don't look anything like my 34 OT yankee. Was there a sailing canoe model?


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Was there a sailing canoe model?

Old Town made a variety of different sailing canoes including one described at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=3994 with a bronze centerboard. The modern Molitor model has unusually wide outside gunwales since it has no thwarts. I agree that these pictures don't look very much like an Old Town but the serial number and build record should provide some answers.

Thanks Benson,

If I can get the serial number or any other photos, I will post those up as well.

My canoe now

I just bought this canoe yesterday. Serial #111482. It is a 18' Old Town HW CS grade with 16" Birch decks, half ribs, outside stems and a full sail rig. The build sheet shows the gunwales as "open spruce 2 1/2" which I presume to be "double gunwales." I do not have the canoe at my place yet but when I do I'll post some more pictures. The canoe was built in 1932 but not shipped until 1938. I bought it from the original owners family. It came from Old Town set up for sailing. I tried to attached the tif file of the build sheet provided by the seller but it seems to be balled up somehow.

More later,

Jim Clearwater, proud owner of yet another Old Town

Nice Canoe. I have been trying to contact the seller. Glad someone on here got it....even if it wasn't me. I would love to see more pics when you get it. It is very neat. I love the wide gunwales.

The build record for this canoe is attached below. The gunwales described as "open spruce 2 1/2" are double wide but this is different from their Mahogany Double Gunwale construction. It looks like an interesting canoe and please post more information about the sailing rig when you get it. Thanks,



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Benson, thank you for posting the build record. I will certainly post pictures when I get it home. Maybe I'll rig it up in the yard and take a picture or two. I bought it from the original owner who bought it directly from Old Town in 1938. It spent it's entire life on Lake Nebo near Ft. Ann, NY. The seats were removed so they could be re-caned. The diamond head bolds were missplaced so I'll have to send for replacements. Other than that it's all there.

Stay tuned,
OK, here's the deal

I picked up the canoe yesterday. Attached are a few pictures. The sail looks like standard equipment from the pirate ship "Black Pearl" but measures up for a 55 Sq.Ft. sail. Spars are 12'2.5" long, mast is 8', leeboards are 44"x9", leeboard bracket is complete with all hardware and is the extra long size. Rudder is the teardrop shape. Tee top curves to the rear. Rudder, leeboards and leeboard bracket are birch or maple. Spars and mast are spruce. The canoe is a CS grade HW with birch decks, thwarts and seats. It has half ribs and OS stems. The inwales are standard size. The spruce outwales are 2.5" wide at the center of the canoe and taper to the points. They are attached with screws through every other rib from the inside until you get near the ends where they are attached from the outside in the standard manner. The total width of the gunwale (inwale, ribs & outwale) measure 3.5". The thwarts are wider than standard. The center thwart especially, nearly 5" wide. Two diamond head bolts at both ends through all three thwarts. The seats were removed by the seller to refinish so they are not shown in the pics. There appear to be six broken ribs but no tip rot.


Jim C.


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I think that is a beautiful canoe. It has wonderful character and such a unique look. Congrats on getting it. Please post more pics as you restore it.
Additional thoughts

In looking at the build record and the canoe, now that I have it home, I'm thinking that it was originally built without seats. That is why the thwarts are so wide. After the order was placed the seats, mast step and rudder were added and the notation on the build sheet "no seats" was crossed off. The numbers at the top of the sheet, 33 through 37 are the years the canoe showed up when the yearly inventory was taken before it was sold in 1938.

It's all just speculation on my part but it seems logical. Maybe Benson has a better insight into it.

I will post pictures when it's restored but you're going to have to wait a couple years. Working, kids and the affairs or general living are a thief of my free time.

I agree that this canoe was probably built without seats and that they were added just before it shipped. A canoe without seats would have been more difficult to sell so this may help explain why it spent such a long time in inventory. The multiple inventory numbers for several years were not unusual in the 1930s. A simple "X" in the upper right hand corner appears to have been used when they had less inventory left over from prior years.

The one build record note which doesn't make sense is the reference to sixteen inch decks since yours appear to be the regular twelve inch ones.

Thank you Benson

for your replys and insight. Regarding the gunwales, were extra wide gunwales an option offered regularly or was this a "one off" special order requested by a customer? Other than cosmetics the only benifit I can see them serving would be to help reduce the amount of water splashing into the boat when it is healed over while under sail. The extra wide center thwart also provides no benifit that a standard thwart couldn't do. My other 18' HW has a standard center thwart with wingnuts alowing its removal when more center space is needed suggesting that even that thwart has little added value under most conditions.

The extra width of the thwarts and the outside gunwales were probably a "one off" special order for this canoe since I have never seen this on an Old Town before. Spray can be a problem when sailing fast but the extra rail width would probably have a very small benefit. Most of the Old Towns of this period had wing nuts on the center thwart to simplify their removal for courting. Have fun with the restoration,

Would the extra-wide gunwales allow a sailor to sit on the gunwales to balance the canoe while sailing in a stiff breeze?
Would the extra-wide gunwales allow a sailor to sit on the gunwales to balance the canoe while sailing in a stiff breeze?

I have never had any difficulty sitting on the standard gunwales but the extra width would make it more comfortable.

The extra width of the thwarts and the outside gunwales were probably a "one off" special order for this canoe since I have never seen this on an Old Town before.


A 20' Old Town built for the Sheepshead Bay canoe club has gunwales just like this - there is a photo of it in the "Mystic Seaport Watercraft" book. I wouldn't be surprised if they did a number of these for "A" class sailing.