SAILing Old Town 50's, Buying ???'s


GANG: I finally got some U.S. Snail mail pics of the early 50's OLD TOWN Sailing canoe I have been offered about 200 miles away. . My info /is very close to the 47 OTCA thread below on a possible purchase, based on current owner comments , repairs, etc, ?? He is asking about $750 range at this time.
.. Here is direct link to image .
. Got a few scaned into a album & will add below. This seems to be a two owner canoe , always in the same shipped town. Orig cotton sail slight weathered rip now . I have never sailed one before, but seems to have all the correct brass hardware fittings from the dealer.? Is this a OLD TOWN mast .? I sort of like the light green paint , but is this orig O.T. Green .?
3rd) Light Gray paint inside original .? Read about stripping before , & woiuld do this next winter.(?) Would the paint actually help preserve the inside wood .?
4) There seems to be Two cracked ribs , that have a small metal strap now. I have a local wood teacher friend that could help in a restoration if I persue.
5) BIGGIE. & like many ads, owner says there is glass patch on bottom.?? In pics I see about 3 rib area on inside, prior work somebody ? On outside bottom there is a small hole patch from some sort FiberGlass fix. or how does a buyer know if entire outside has been re-glassed.?? Seems quite original & seller not sure if outsides is the original canvass.??
ADVICE Please . I have more closeup damage pics. "K" helped run the serial.
Sailing Old Town 50's

For what it's worth, my 1940 OT Yankee that I've been working on getting back on the water has vestiges of what appears to be the same shade of grey paint in it's interior, but I have no idea whether it was original or not.
It looks OK to me

The setup looks right to me. The only thing I noticed was that the mast was entirely too short. Try to figure out the square footage of the sail and then the needed height of the mast can be determined. Measure the length of the spars, their length can be used to determine the sail area also. Post those dimensions here and someone will tell you the size of the sail and hence the required height/length of the mast. The other components look Old Town correct. It is not unusual to find a canoe with a fiberglass patch over a hole in the canvas. If the entire hull is fiberglassed it will be very easy to tell when you inspect the thing. I'm not sure how successfull you will be stripping out the gary paint without screwing up the canvas. The stripper will seep between the planking and mess up the filler. I doubt it came from Old Town with gray paint.

Assuming it is still in canvas, not entirely fiberglassed, $750 is a decent price for the canoe alone, the sail rig, even if you have to make a new mast is iceing on the cake.

Just my 2 cents,

Post the serial number and somene will look it up and then we will know how it left the factory.

Jim C.
The mast may be fine. It varies, but I've come across a few when building replacement sails which seemed to be original spars and their masts were quite short. There is no hard and fast rule governing just how far forward or aft the mast has to cross the boom and yard on a lateen rig. Shifting those intersections forward on the sail allows the use of a pretty short mast and moves the sail's CE aft. You lose a bit of halyard leverage, but on such a small rig, that's really not a problem.

As long as you keep the sail fairly low (which is how the originals were usually set up - and which works best for sailing stability anyway) you can still hang up a pretty respectable amount of sail area from a mast that's less than 6' tall.


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You usually would have no problem telling fiberglass from canvas when seeing the canoe in person -- although people not familiar with w/c canoes often have no idea what they have.

If the sail rig is not original OT (though it looks like it is from the couple of pictures that I can see), it is nonetheless a pretty good looking rig. I have been watching out for a rig for a while, and just the rig in the condition this one seems to be in would be worth some hundreds of dollars. (Take a look at what Bob Ross is asking just for the hardware from an OTsailing rig). So I concur that the $750 is a pretty decent price -- if the covering is canvas.

Stripping paint off anything is a messy proposition -- I don't see how it could be done without affecting the exterior paint and/or the filler. And I wondor how cleanly paint would strip from soft, porous cedar -- and my wondering is not just academic, because I have a canoe with a painted interior that I would like to strip, if practicable, at some time in the future. I would like to hear from anyone who has actually stripped a painted interior. In any event, leaving the paint alone for a while (or even giving it another coat) will not harm anything, and it will protect the wood by blocking UV, and by providing the same sort of wear barrier that varnish would.
sail rig


I have an OT rig I have been thinking about selling. It is complete, and I even have a set of gudgeons I'd throw in. If you are interested, send me a PM.
SAIL ,Mast , Pic

THANKS guys for the support. .Here is the one good mast pic I got scaned in . Seller believes original , slight weathered tear.(?)
. Have a close up of the mast thwart, looks like the front seat gets un-screwed. Not sure if a adult could sit on the cross brace . Will ask in next phone call about front seat & any period paddles included. . Rear seat seems to have good cane pattern.
Serial # showed as 1953, but sail acc pkg installed at dealer (?). Not always shipped with canoe from Maine. (?)
OLd Town rig dimensions

I would certainly follow Todds advice above. You would be well advised to purchase Todd's book which is available through the WCHA online store. All questions will be answered in there. However I think your original question was whether the sail rig and in particular the mast height matched Old Town equipment. Benson Gray posted the following thread which lists the length of the spars and masts for several size sails offered by Old Town.

From this you should be able to figure it out.