White Cap Sail Boat


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am a current new owner of a White Cap Day Sailor. I was wondering about the history of these sail boats. Can you tell me what years they were in production and approximately Old Towne White Caps were manufactured? Would you know of an association or list of owners that I could correspond with if there is a group?
Thank you
The Old Town Canoe Company's lapstrake sail boat was listed in the catalogs from 1940 to 1967. It was renamed the Whitecap in 1951. I have done some research about this boat and you might be interested in the results. About seven percent of the Old Town build records have been indexed into a database as described at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ but this can give you a rough idea of how many of each model was produced. The database shows 49 lapstrake sail boats and only four Whitecaps so this implies that about 757 of this model were produced.

You can get a complete set of*Old Town Canoe Company Catalogs on CD-ROM from http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web. The lapstrake sail boat page from the 1945 catalog is attached.

Whitecap sailboats became quite famous for a brief period during the 1960s after Robert Manry from Cleveland, Ohio sailed one called the Tinkerbell across the Atlantic alone. It was the smallest sail boat to ever cross at the time and his book about the trip has been very popular.

I don know of any current "association or list of owners" so you should start one! Let me know if this doesn't answer your questions.



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I'm the current owner of Whitecap s/n 153355 (or 153335, some confusion in my mind anyway). I'm in the process of indexing the lapstrake sailboat records. Been from 1938 through May 1944 and have around 490 boats shipped. Some interesting notes (a.k.a. useless trivia) so far: First s/n 127,129 shipped to Boston on April 6, 1939. 13 of the first 56 were returned for repair (paint and leaks), gradually switched to a new form (wider transom) in 1941, up to four in a day were taken off the form(s), 34 (7%) shipped to Maine locations, most went to New York 121 (25%), one dealer took 58 (12%).

I'd be willing to help set up an owners association, worse case we've got two members. I'm curious where you found the serial number; mine was (is) on the keelson almost at the transom.

Attached a few pictures of the boat with new sails, the original cotton sails came with the boat and are in reasonable shape.



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I bought this White Cap for my father. It was our summer neighbor's boat, and my father has wanted it for as long as I can remember (40+ years). It had been in the water every year until aobut ten years ago when the previous owner couldn't handle it anymore.

The serial number is 167593, and the registration listed the year built as 1957.

He's currently stripping the many layers of old paint, making some small repairs and refinishing the boat. The third picture shows the worst of the damage, best we can tell, the oil from the old outboard was the cause, everything else seems solid.

Jim Casagrande


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Hi All, I am new to this forum. Here is a picture of the boat I learned to sail on. I think it would be a gas to rebuild one. Cheers.

White Cap s/n 6 I684I8 info requested...deck material?

Hi everyone,

I just picked up a White Cap sailboat and it's MOSTLY all there. Hull is sound and all rigging is there. However the deck is shot. Somewhere along the line someone removed the canvas and had just a varnished plywood deck exposed to the elements. All rotten now. Framing didn't suffer much thankfully.

Question 1: Before I recanvas, what material should I use for the new decking, plywood or cedar like they use on a Beetle Cat?

I ask because I found the serial number on the keelson and it
reads: 6 I684I8 and I want to replace the decking with original stuff.

No idea why the leading 6 is removed from the rest of the number and I'm assuming the capital I's are intended as ones.

Question 2: Any idea on what year boat this is?

I'm excited about restoring this boat and look forward to any info.


~Dick D.
Re: Canvas deck

Hi Gil,

Thanks for responding. I was thinking that the boat was originally canvassed 1) because of the catalog ad posted by Jim C where it describes "Boat has 53 inch deck solidly built, also full length side decking and all covered with canvas finished in blue color." and I also found several pics on the web of White Caps with what looks to be a blue canvassed deck.

2) I also figured my boat is in the 1958 to 1960 range since another owner mentioned that their boat s/n 167593 was a 1957. But what does that have to do with anything...

Not exactly good detective work on my part. All a guess since I know NOTHING about these boats! Still, if it was just varnished plywood how does one keep water out of the center seam and the side seams near the stern? Those joints just beg to leak. How did they keep the water out in the pre-epoxy days?

Oh and thanks for the tip. I'll look again for remnants of the leading 13 on the keelson.

~Dick D.
It's a 1959, serial card attached. I suspect the 'bright' decks appeared in the summer of 1957 around Whitecap serial number 165478 with the transition to a natural finish inside the boat. This was no doubt an effort to pick up sales which collapsed about the same time. 36 Whitecaps came off the forms in 1955 and these were still in factory inventory as late as 1957. The only four Whitecaps off the forms in 1956 had a green deck prior to the conversion to a 'bright' finish.

There are pages attached from the 1956-8 Old Town Catalog which support the trivia I've dug out of the serial number files.

We have a 1949, serial number 153,335, in the fleet along with a couple of sailing canoes. I agree with Gil's comments, it's a great boat and the centerboard trunk leaked like a sieve prior to repair.


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Thanks so much Bill. That was a super quick response!

1959 had varnished decks as opposed to canvas...Good to know. All that brightwork will look great against the white hull.

I've only had the boat for 3 days now and have found myself sitting at the tiller with my daughter half a dozen times. Love the lines and size of this boat. When I went to pull it out of the weeds on Friday the tarp was off the boat. Had about a weeks worth of rain in it and the ground underneath was dry as a bone. Can't say the same for the decks, soaked and rotten. But I've already peeled back quite a bit and framing looks damp here or there, but otherwise good and solid and passed the awl test. Bailed her out and drove the bumpy 15 miles or so home. Not much scraping left to do. I left most of the paint in my wake.

I'll post a pic of the boat in the next couple of days.

Thanks again for the great info...
Just a side note, but Bill, your red mainsail should have longer battens. Standard rule of thumb for batten length is about three times the width of the leech roach at that spot on the sail (leech roach is anything hanging out aft of a straight line between the head and clew corners). This will prevent the hinging along the forward ends of the battens that is visible up and down the sail in the photos above. These battens may be the same length as those on the original sail, but the originals had little or no roach added and could get away with it. Any time the roach is increased, the batten lengths should increase proportonally. With proper length battens, the sail will both last longer and perform a lot better, especially in light air.
Last March I acquired White Cap Sailboat S/N 133625. It's not in terrible shape, but part of the deck will need replaced along with several ribs and some of the planks (it sat on a trailer for toooo long). I do have all of the hardware, and the mast, boom and sails are in pretty good shape. I think this is a 1941. I'm hoping to get started on a restoration late this summer. I know I will need to build a new rudder and a new centerboard. Is there anything I should know before I start? I'm just looking for any info I can find. TIA.
Build Record

The first thing to get your hands on is the build record-- as a point of historical (and sometimes hysterical) interest. You may already have this, as you know it's a '41. OT 133625 is a 13 1/2 foot lapstrake sailboat, built in October 1941 and shipped that month, on October 27th, 1941, to Fall River, MA. Because it was finished in such rapid order, it appears to me to have been a special order. Maybe the boat was ordered by someone anticipating WWII, who wanted to have a bit o fun before the action began... j/k, but I do find it interesting when a ship-date is so close to an important time in history.

The little sailboat was painted a snappy combination of colors: white, blue and gray on top and red on the bottom... any trace of that? Sounds like a sweet little boat! Have fun bringing her back to life, and post pictures!



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If that scan doesn't open, let me know. I'm trying to get used to Windows Vista, and don't have access to the talents of a thirteen-year-old. I'll try attaching again-- this time as a jpg-- and see what happens...


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White Cap Sailboat

Thank you Kathryn. I did not have the build sheet, just info from the guy I bought it from. It had set in a garage on a trailer for almost 7 years before I got it. All of the colors are there, but pretty faded. I've just retired and I should have time to work on it soon. I'm headed to Wooden Boat late this week and I plan to start on it after that.

Thanks again for the info. I will definitely post photos as it progresses.
White Cap boat

I own an old towne whitecap boat that my grandfather had purchased in the 60's. I know this post is older, but was looking for more information on the boats. Has anyone started an owners association?
1965 oldtown whitecap

I bought this sailboat from a good friend in atlanta, Bob Genchi of wooden boat works. He restored it, and it was his personal boat for years. He and Shirley sailed it up the west coast of Florida a few years ago. The boat is in great shape, and we sail it on small lakes in SW ohio.
George palm
Has anyone started an owners association?

Bill Lovejoy talked about starting an owners association at one point. Doug Scott has also been researching Old Town sailboats and dinghies recently. You are certainly welcome to continue posting questions and updates here even though these aren't technically canoes.


I spent the last two days varnishing the inside of my whitecap. Also touched up the white hull paint, and redid some of the hardware. Good for another year. Thinking of towing it to Detroit to cruise the old neighborhood.
George Palm
I am the lucky new owner of a White Cap Sailboat. Looking for any and all info or links that can help me with restoring the little guy as well as history on these boats. Need all the help I can get. Thanks!