Blue Hole OCA or Starburst?

I’m considering buying a used Blue Hole canoe, and am trying to verify the model. The seller indicated that it was a Blue Hole Starburst, bought about 15 years ago. He measured it (with a tape) at 16’-6" long. He sent me a representative picture which matches up with pictures of the OCA (sorry, can’t attach it, but it has the recurved bow and stern, riveted aluminum gunwales that are dead flat amidships, and that funny light blue color they had). But the length doesn’t jibe - from what I’ve read in recent posts, they made a 16 (15’-9") and a 17 (17’-3"). The Starburst is the one that seems to have been 16-6". I haven’t been able to find any pictures of the blue hole starburst, but the Evergreen (who by all reports, bought the mold) looks markedly different with the pointed ends and a bigger rocker.

So three options:

  1. This is an OCA – and I’m misinformed about the OCA lengths, or he mis-measured.
  2. This is a Starburst – and I don’t know what a blue hole starburst actually looks like.
  3. This is a Starburst or something else – and his picture is way off (this I think is the least likely option – and yes, I’ll get pictures of the actual boat to confirm, just doing some legwork in the interim).

    When I was a kid, a family friend had what I now take for a blue hole OCA (see my description above). He paddled it solo and with me tandem on lots of class II West Virginia whitewater. At the time we called some of it class III. Me, I sat in the bow and paddled, so I couldn’t make a reasonable assessment, but he was (and is) a very good paddler.

    I know that people love the OCA’s, and assuming that’s what I’m looking it, I think it fits the bill of what I’m looking for – a good whitewater tripper up to class III with good ability through big pools on lazier rivers, the occasional lake, and something like the Hudson in the Kingston area (pretty big river, occasional wake and wind driven waves, and tidal so that sometimes you’re paddling upstream). Thoughts? Something else that I should be looking for?

    Thanks in advance for the advice - always good reading!


I would skip the OCA. Great things were
done in OCAs, but the Starburst is much better as a WW boat.

You should be considering a much wider range of used and new WW boats, such as the Dagger Caption, which appears used occasionally, and is being offered new by Mad River.

I’ve been on the lookout
for a range of used ww boats, but they don’t come up for sale so often (past 6 months been pretty quiet on the websites that I’ve been following). My list (pieced together from advice on this forum): dagger dimension (paddled once - really nice boat), blue hole/evergreen starburst, esquif canyon, swift dumoine, maybe a bell yellowstone. But if something like an OCA or a Prospector comes available, it seems worth considering.

I’d like to paddle (or own) a caption, but I don’t plan to teach my wife to paddle in it (sorry, wasn’t clear on my intentions in my original posting), and it’s pretty specific to all whitewater, all the time. I think canoe #1 needs to be a bit more flexible. Once she’s proven her interest in the big stuff, and we’ve both improved our skills, the caption can be canoe #2 :slight_smile:

Have you tried posting over at cboats for ID help?

Here is what they have in their database re the OCA:

and the Starburst:


Well, did you buy it? the Starburst is my personal favorite. It is one of the fastest abs canoes, the driest and one with fabulous secondary stability. It’s the 16’6" boat and the OCA’s have a history, but not the ride of the Starburst. I’ve been down Westwater, Cataract, the Losha section four and countlest other whitewater stretches. I’d take a Starburst hands down over any other ABS whitewater boat I’c seen!