Serial Number Request for OT Octa # 131111-16


New Member
I have found an Old Town Octa 16 foot sailing canoe that I am considering purchasing. Its serial number is 131111-16. From the data on my Old Town Canoe catalog collection CD, it appears that it was made about 1941. The canoe may have been originally delivered to the Maryland area. I am most interested if the delivery record shows what equipment it was delivered with. The canoe was restored about 1980 and may be missing some of the original accessories.


Thomas M. Lee
Welcome, the Old Town canoe with serial number 131111 is a 16 foot long, CS (common sense or middle) grade, Otca model with open spruce gunwales, birch decks, birch thwarts, birch seats, oval outside finish rails, a keel, and a brass P. R. (painter ring?) in the bow stem. It was built between December, 1940 and February, 1941. The original exterior paint color was bright red. It shipped on February 24th, 1941 to New York City. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

This scan and several hundred thousand others were 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 renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

It is possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. The records from this era often lack the sort of detailed information about additional accessories that were often included in the earlier records. A sail rig is not mentioned so that was probably added after it originally left the factory. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck with the decision,



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Thank you for the information about the canoe. I bought it and will rejoin WCHA as I have let my membership lapse since I first began to search for an OT sailing canoe.

The canoe was as described in the delivery document with one exception; the painter ring was missing. There is no hole for it in the bow so the bow wood must have been replaced in 1980. (Photo 1: the bow with metal tag) There was an Abercrombie & Fitch tag when the seller bought it but it went missing after the canoe's 1980 recanvassing and repaired. The sailing equipment must have been purchased after the canoe was delivered as you indicated since the mast step is smaller/ shorter than the ones shown in the 1941 era catalogs and there is no cane canoe seat but a mast bar with the fittings to attach it the the thwarts.

The canoe was purchased from a farm auction on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1980. At that time, the canvas was clearly unserviceable and the seller had it recanvassed and repaired locally by 'Stape Shield' as indicated in the brass plate installed by the serial number. (Photo 2: The Shield tag) (Photo 3: The OT serial number)

I have not yet measured the sail and the mast to determine the size. The lee boards with fittings are present as is the rudder. The only missing components are the gudgeons which the owner had for years but did not mount to the canoe for some unknown reason. And when he moved the canoe to Florida the gudgeons were discarded with a pail fulls of brass and copper fittings. So I have to find a pair of gudgeons and screws. The sail appears to be serviceable but the wood parts of the sailing rig need to be refinished before use.

There are some cracks in the paint but the finish is not yet spidered. The keel needs to be resealed too. I have ordered Bradshaw's book to refresh me on the finer details of working on a canvas canoe again since it has been some years since I did so.

I hope that with some minor work right now I will enable me to use it locally until I can get the boat to Temagami where I can use it for a summer and then have some friends in the business of canoe restoration recanvass and repair it properly.

The add-on mahogany mast step is not as long than the one shown in the 1941 era catalog for factory equipped sailing canoes. I suppose that it is just as functional as the original? My working assumption is that the larger factory installed mast step was overbuilt and when the sailing ad-on kit was developed, Old Town concluded that such a large step was unnecessary. Is there any feedback on the comparative functioning of either? If there is some advantage to the larger /longer step, I could have one made and installed when the canoe gets recanvased.



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