Sailing canoe question


Curious about Wooden Canoes
About thirty years ago I bought what the owner told me was an Old Town sailing canoe. He was in his eighties and he and his wife had bought it when they were first married. After about a year of messing around with it I put it in my attic and only recently brought it out. I have often thought about restoring it but just have not gotten around to it yet.

Well this morning, I came across this web site and my intrest has been renewed! I had not been able to find such a rich resource before.

I'm no longer sure this is an Old Town. I have found the location of the serial numbers but they don't seem to conform with what Dan at Dragonfly indicates. What I have on the fore and aft stem appears to be as follows:

183 L (or maybe 1) 17

The long spaces are on the stem which is about 3/4" square.

The canoe has a removable pair of dagger boards, very round shaped. and a three piece mast that was mounted in the bow, about 14" to 16" back and was a sort of Ketch type rigging.

It is 17" long with a 34" beam, 13" deep. It has two cane seats and three thwarts.

Thanks for any information any one can supply for me.
How about posting a photo (especially showing the deck). We may be able to quickly determine what type of canoe you have and work with the SN from there...

Thanks for the quick reply. I have some pictures from right after I got it. Red canvas. I'll pull them out and see if I can figure out how to post them. Maybe scan, copy and paste. Not very technologically advanced!

The Old Town canoe with serial number 183117 is a 16 foot long Wahoo model fiberglass sailing canoe so that probably isn't yours. Post the pictures, take another look at the serial numbers, and let us know what you find.

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Thanks for your interest in the canoe. It is a pretty nice wood canoe, no damage to the planking or the ribs. The gunnels were somewhat damaged from rot but no rot to the planking. I'm pretty confident about the numbers. the 17 would definitely indicate the length, it measures 17'. I'm trying to get some help posting pictures and look forward to responses without you folks having to guess!

Thanks again,
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I am still trying to post pictures but in the process of double checking the serial numbers I found that the number is 18351 17.

Thanks, Alan
The Old Town canoe with serial number 18351 is a 17 foot long, CS grade, Charles River model with Western red cedar planking, closed spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash trim, spruce finish rails, a middle thwart, a slat back, and two number two grade spruce paddles. It was built between July(?) and August, 1911. The original exterior paint color was bright red. It shipped on August 15th, 1911 to Littleton, New Jersey(?). A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

This scans was created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you will join or contribute to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

The sailing rig was not mentioned on the original build record so it was probably added after this canoe left the factory. More information about sailing rigs can be found at and on the web. Todd Bradshaw's book "Canoe Rig - The Essence and the Art" from is another excellent resource. Canoe sailing parts are available at as well as and occasionally.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck with your restoration.



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