Anyone paddled an Old Town Charles River

Considering purchasing this canoe-local dealer has a great deal on a 16’ Polylink3 model.

historically Charles River
canoes were courting canoes. There were a bunch of boat works along the Charles River.

Yep Polylink 3…the indestructible courting canoe. Pretty heavy for tripping. Outfit it with a parasol holder and a reclining chair.

Its a pretty boat but a cottage boat…for courting

Charles River
I have a 1914 Old Town Charles River and I find it to be a very fast canoe, but I bet the poly version has different lines/qualities.

1 Like

and how
many kids do you have?

The Charles River was the featured boat at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly last year. There were about six brought. All tricked out fancy beautiful and no two alike.

Was yours there?

Well I paddled an Old Town
on the Charles River.

Old Town Charles River “Ideal”

– Last Updated: Dec-28-07 11:17 PM EST –

Yah, I was at the Assembly, but I didn't bring the Old Town. Old Town made a Charles River Model to compete with all the builders on the Charles River. The mahogany trimmed Old Town Charles River was referred to as the "Ideal".

Here are some photos of the original Charles River model. It is a courting canoe. No center thwart and it has half ribs to stiffen the bottom. It is fun to paddle. "Fast" comes to mind when I paddle it and I don't think that an artifact of the "racing stripe".

The dimensions of the original Old Town Charles River canoes are here for comparison with the new version:

Charles River Canoe

– Last Updated: Dec-31-07 11:31 AM EST –

I've had a poly CR for about 6 months now, and since I'm fairly new to canoeing, I cannot compare it to many other canoes (I paddled a few others before I bought the CR), but I will tell you that I'm completely satisfied with it. It's easy to control, glides well, handles rough water (chop) well, I bump trees, branches, paddle over trees and logs and it doesn't miss a beat.......... and gets complements on "what a nice looking canoe" evreywhere I go. It is a bit heavy, but I can put it on the top of my Expedition by myself. I typically paddle slow rivers and the everglades in SE Florida. Yesterday we had an alligator about 7' long run off the bank, into the water, and bump the canoe on his way.........quite exciting!! Good Luck and I hope this helps, Tom.

Interesting that canoes were used so
much on the Charles. By the time I was rowing and sculling on the Charles in the early '60s, the raw sewage in the river had discouraged paddling and courting. Canoes were very rare.

By now, with the sewage piped elsewhere, and the Charles much cleaner, canoe use must be recovering.

Nice work wccanoe!
I restore and refinish antique furniture so I really appreciate the restoration work you did on the Charles River you have-just a beautiful canoe!

Thanks TomW
Your posting was very helpful and matches other reviews I have of the canoe for handling and ease of paddling. I canoe mostly with inexperienced family members so I can relate to paddling over branches etc. as you mentioned. I can live with the weight (which like you said is not really that heavy, especially compared to the 18’ Grumman I have now!) and going to Royalex model would have been almost double what I paid for the polylink3 model due to great deal I got from dealer. The more veteran paddlers would probably spend the extra money for Royalex but I’ll use the $ difference for a 2nd trip to BWCA this June. I agree, the canoe is great looking, apparently the alligator thought so too. Being from Iowa that encounter was a little outside my comfort zone. All we have here are killer beavers-ok the only thing they kill are trees.

thanks, Steve

My wife loves to canoe so I’ll court her and be most happy!

Charles River at the turn of the century
There is a great collection of early 20th century Charles River postcards available on line at:

For those familiar with Boston, this is the area where the Mass Pike crosses Route 128 - the Marriott Hotel is located there now. In the early 1900s, it was known as the “Lakes District” and was a very popular canoeing location.

love history-great pics

I had a 1914 Charles River and while on MANY River trips with the we left every other boat sitting still…eating our exhaust. !