Any info on Sawyer Starlight 13'4" solo

canoe? I only found one reference to it in the archives and the specs weren’t listed and nothing was mentioned regarding the boat’s handling or the usage it was designed for.


Sawyer Starlight

– Last Updated: Jun-30-07 12:48 AM EST –

Promo blurb:
This slick 13'4" solo tourer is the master of rough water & twisty rivers. With 175 pounds on board, it's exceptionally dry, quick & nimble.
You'll have no trouble keeping up with your friends on a cruise when you paddle a Starlight.
And it's pretty! Outfitted with our four-way seat that slides for trim & elevates and lowers, and an adjustable footbrace.

Beam 4" waterline: 25 1/2"
Beam rails: 23 3/4"
Max beam" 28"
Bow depth: 15 1/2"
Depth amidships: 12 "
Goldenglass: 37 lb.
superlite Goldenglass 28 lb.
Exp. Kevlar: 31 lb.
superlite Kevlar: 26 lb.
capacity: 200 lb.

All that follows is personal opinion:

At that length, weight, and dimensions, it is probably fairly fast,a fairly hard tracker, and would be what a beginner would call "tippy", aka low initial stability. Bet it doesn't take much effort to get it up to & maintain a good cruising speed. Real easy to load & unload from vehicle.

Wouldn't want to put a "big ole boy" in that boat, but it would be "fun to watch" a big ole boy get wet.

I'd like to give one a test paddle, but it is certainly not a boat I'd consider for myself at 200 lb. I also wouldn't want to take it out on a twisting, turning river with a lot of boulders to dodge, or ledges to drop in fast current.
I think it would be a pretty wet ride for me.
I don't travel light enough for that boat to carry me & my gear for an overnight, and certainly not for a multi overnight trip. Might be a fun boat on a flatwater river for a day float, or putzing around on a calm water lake.
With a decent/light weight paddler in it; I'll bet it would probably outrun more a few rec kayaks.

Compare it to the specs on the Wenonah Sandpiper.


Thanks for that info.
It’s exactly the information I’m looking for.

I’m planning to test paddle a fiberglass boat Sunday that I believe, from the information the seller gave to me, that it is a Sawyer Starlight. He bought it used five or six years ago as a package deal with a longer kevlar canoe and hasn’t used it much. He never knew the model name.

If it is a Starlight, with the specs that you listed, I suspect that I’ll like it and that it will work fine for me at 5’6" and 150 lbs and that I’ll be bringing it home with me. We have a tentative purchase agreement pending inspection.

I’m really excited about this opportunity.

I already have a Sawyer Summersong with the same outfitting, so I’m familiar with the seating system and the Sawyer “tippiness”. I’ll just try it with the seat in the lowest postion to start with.

Thanks again for the great info.

It seems somewhat similar to the Clipper Packer

If you get the Starlight…

– Last Updated: Jun-30-07 1:15 AM EST –

If the deal goes down, I sure would like to see some photos of that boat.

At your weight & height, it might be a fun boat for you to have in your fleet.

I'm ex owner of Sawyer Autumn Mist & Sawyer Cruiser. I think Sawyer made some pretty sweet canoes. Have always wanted to test paddle a Summersong.


Maybe a Blackhawk & Sawyer Rendezvous
sometime. I could bring the Summersong and Starlight (if the deal goes through) and you could bring a couple of your Blackhawks.

I’ll also be checking out the Zephyr
from Rockford,IL. The guy with the Blackhawk Zephyr will also be meeting me today.

I’ll email you my cell phone # if you want to chat about the Zephyr. I know that it’s much too scratched up for you, but I’d consider using it on twisty rivers instead of my royalex Wildfire, which I haven’t grown to love yet.

Bought the Starlight and Zephyr today.
The Starlight needs the bottom of the seat hanger brackets on one side bonded to the hull again. The brackets on this Starlight weren’t attached to the hull nearly as well as the brackets on my Summersong.

Any suggestions for rebonding the brackets to the hull?

The jury is still out on whether I’ll be keeping the Starlight. I need to get to know it better.

The Zephyr, on the other hand, is definately a keeper for me, even though it is all sratched up from many river miles with the previous owner.

Is the hanger design
similar to that for the sliding seat in a Summersong? If so, I made a similar repair using marine epoxy (PC-11, I think it is). It has held up for several years now.

The hanger is similar, but seems less
robust (I haven’t actually sat the Starlight and Summersong side by side for comparison). It is black instead of silver. It appears to have a fiberglass “foot” riveted to the bottom of the bracket and it is the fiberglass “foot” that has come unbonded. They didn’t even apply any glass tape over the fiberglass “foot”. The “foot” is about 2" x 2".

Thanks for the suggestion of the PC-11 marine epoxy. Is that carried by the average hardware or automotive stores, or do I need to find a marine store or order it online?


Sounds the same
as my son’s Summersong that I repaired. On his, the metal foot was actually cracked, so I had to fashion a new one from some aluminum stock and rivet it to the hanger assembly. At any rate, I just lightly sanded and cleaned up the spot on the canoe where the foot needed to sit, mixed up some PC-11 epoxy, and used that to attach the foot to the inside of the hull. Clean up any excess that squeezes out. I fixed up some kind of system to apply weight to the upper side of the foot while the epoxy cured. It has held up just fine. The PC-11 is available at some hardware stores – I got mine at Ace Hardware.

Interestingly, I bought the canoe used and the other foot had come loose as well. Prior to selling it to me, the previous owner used some strips of fiberglass to reattach the foot. That left a big ugly wad of fiberglass that i have been meaning to sand down and paint to match the interior of the hull. I wish he had left it for me to fix, because my method looks a whole lot nicer. It was a negotiation point on the price, though.

Both “feet” are loose on the right side
on my boat. The guy I bought it from said that the just paddled it that way. He was at least the 2nd owner of the boat. I’ll fix it for my use and so that the next owner (if I sell it) won’t have to worry about it. I don’t want to paddle it that way because it puts all of the stress for that side of the seat on the rivets attaching the top of the seat hanger to the hull.

The only place I’ve checked so far for the PC-11 epoxy didn’t have that brand, but they did have a brand called Power Poxy Marine 5 minute epoxy, which cures white. I may just try that since the store is on my way to work.

Thanks for sharing your repair experience for rebonding the seat hanger “feet”. I’d been pondering a method for applying pressure to the bond area while it is curing.

The Starlight float tanks are huge
compared to the float tanks on my Summersong. Keep in mind that these measurements are approximate, quick & dirty and not precise and just for comparison purposes.


Bow - 30" x 11.5"

Stern - 30" x 13"


Bow - 25" x 8"

Stern - 21" x 10"

The Starlight is 2’ shorter and has bigger float tanks. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Summersong tanks are narrower, but I’m surprised that the Starlight tanks are as long as they are. They seem like huge tanks for such a small boat. They are also painted a lighter color of gray than the rest of the interior of the boat and appear to be chopper gun glass rather than cloth. Maybe they have been modified or repaired, but it looks like the tank dimples in the hull are in the same location as the current tanks, which suggests that these may be the original tanks. Any thoughts on this?

3rd impression is better than 1st two.
It’s very comfortable, just like my Summersong, reasonably light, tracks pretty well and turns well enough for lakes. Pretty relaxing to paddle. Now that I’m getting a little more familiar with it, I’m getting to like more. At first it seemed somewhat dull compared to the Blackhawk Zephyr that I test paddled and bought at the same time. They are very different from eache other and that’s a good thing. I prefer sitting while paddling and the Starlight is very good for sitting and paddling.

Seat bracket repair - tank size
Get a plexus packet fro Jamestown to fix the seat tube srackets to the hull; ~$10.

The tanks are probably from a larger boat and just khappened to fit. Sawyer never sold many Starlights. They were one of the first solo canoes marketed to women, and deserved a larger market than they received.

Star was designed as a sit down, bent shaft, sit snd switch boat. Unfortunatetly, women who wanted to paddle that way bought faster Summersongs. Women who wanted to kneel and dominate their paddlecraft bought Curtis MayFlys or BlackHawk Nighthawks, or maybe, Curtis LadyBugs. So it goes.

My Starlight seat hangers not parallel.
I successfully bonded the bottom of the right side seat hangers to the hull (using Power Poxy Marine Epoxy, which cures white) in exactly the position that they had been glassed and then went to slide the seat and it was very difficult to slide and it wasn’t difficult to slide when the bottom of the right side seat hangers were loose. Further inspection revealed that the seat slider tubes have a slight bend toward the outside of the boat (narrowest midway between the hangers), so the seat slides most easily in the middle of the slider tubes and more stiffly near the hangers.

Measuring the distance between the front brackets showed that they were 22" wide at the top, just over 21" at the middle height position and 20.5" at the bottom of the hangers. So, the hangers aren’t parallel and the hanger separation as is, would probably work best with the seat in the lowest position and wouldn’t work at all in the top positon, since the seat frame tubes are right at 21" and the hanger holes for the lowest positon appear to be right at 21" wide.

I am considering two possible solutions to get the right and left side brackets parallel:

  1. Pull the gunwales in closer, which would also bring the top of the seat hanger brackets closer together.

  2. Leave the gunwales where they are and drill out the rivets that hold the hangers to the gunwales and insert spacers between the hangers and the gunwales, which would also bring the top of the seat hanger brackets closer together.

    I don’t have this problem in my Summersong.

    Any other suggestions?

Seat slider tubes have strange locking
mechanism, much different from the Summersong.

They are only “locked” into the holes in the slider hangers at one end of the tube, rather than both ends and the tubes are still able to slide enough in the hanger holes to pop out if enough force is applied to the tube. The “locking” mechanism is in the form of a squiggly wire inserted into a longitudinal slot in the tube. Couldn’t figure out how to remove the wires and bent both of them up trying to pull them out with vise grip pliers. Upon further investigation, it appears that maybe the bumps in the squiggly wires were supposed to be pushed into the tube slot so that the wire bump could be pulled past the hole in the seat hanger and the tube removed - too late now.

My plan is to remove these wires, after I figure out how, and drill holes through both ends of the slider tubes and secure the tubes in the hangers with cotter pins as in my Summersong.

I know that I didn’t describe the current slider tube locking mechanism very well, but has anyone seen this set up before?

I got the seat tubes in the lower hanger
holes today and the tubes fit easily in these lowest holes, so if I bring the tops of the hangers out to the same spacing as the lower part of the hangers, the hangers should be parallel and the tubes should fit in all three sets of holes equally well.

I like the seat in the lowest position for paddlling from the sitting position. I feel much more secure when putting a strong lean on the boat for quick maneuvering.

Blackhawk Zephyr specs
I copied these from a PDF that the seller emailed to me.


Bow Height…17"

Depth at center…11.5"

Stern Height…11"

Waterline width…25"

Molded rail width…26.75"

Widest hull width…27.25"

Outside edge of gunwales is actually 28"
when I measured last weekend. That is 1" wider than my royalex Bell Wildfire.