sawyer canoe question

I recently purchased a Kevlar canoe used. The owner had kept it in the basement for 15+ years. He told me it was a Wenonah canoe…it seemed in great shape, so I bought it. I have since done some investigating and found it was not a Wenonah, but I think it is a Sawyer. However, beyond that…I’m not sure. Anyone out there able to help solve the mystery of my canoe? I can email pictures, but apparently I can’t post them. The basic information is 18’1" long, 34" wide, 11" high, a natural colored Kevlar with two small kevlar seats both on aluminum bar slides. Very light and moves well in the water. Stamped into the Kevlar is the serial # SAW09087M81H. No other identifiers. Ideas???

Sawyer Canoe March 1978.

Sounds like a Sawyer Cruiser… Great boat!!

Does it look similar to this…

Superior Canoes makes many of the Sawyer canoes.

sawyer canoe
Similar. The seats are on aluminum rails so they can move forward/back and the canoe is all natural Kevlar. How did you determine the year/month?

On paper, Cruisers were 17’ 9" I believe
But the width and depth sound like a Cruiser.

Sawyer Serial Numbers

– Last Updated: Nov-11-09 3:41 PM EST –

Sawyer used consecutive serial numbers w/o model code.
The year of build is revealed in the M81H. The H probably stands for an August build month, [A=Jan, B=Feb, etc], like current USCG usage but out of current order. I have no idea re the M, but there is no thirteenth month.

Interesting low 9000 series number in late 81, Sawyer closed in early 90's with ~ 14,000 hulls built, so average of 400 hulls/year from 81 to the bitter end. [And ~the same rate from inception in early 60s to 81?] When Sawyer was dying, Wenonah was producing over 2000 canoes a year - before their ABS project!

Sounds like a miss-measured cruiser - maybe the end caps stick out a couple inches each?

end caps
it does have black caps on each end. The 18’1" is to the far end of the caps, so certainly 17’9" could be the end of the Kevlar, can’t really tell. Was the different seat design anything or did the cruiser have adjustable front/rear seats?

Waterline length

– Last Updated: Nov-11-09 3:39 PM EST –

is never the same as sheer line length.
Having said that I threw out my old Sawyer catalogs and dont know how that 17' 9" was measured..loa or lwl
Sawyers used black end caps and used a variety of seat systems as options back then.
I too have a 1980s Sawyer but its not the Cruiser. Otherwise I would be in the barn measuring for run.

With the end cap overlap
accounting for a couple of inches, I throw my money into the Cruiser camp.

I had a 1974 Cruiser in glass, a bit heavy for portaging, but I was more studley then. I did love that boat and how it…cruised.


what was a sawyer cruiser made for?
Thank you all for the information. So I have a 1981 Sawyer Cruiser in Kevlar. What was such a boat designed to do? I enjoy taking my canoe on class I/II water down rivers and camping, so it is typically filled with gear. Was this boat designed to do this job? I’ve never owned a Kevlar canoe before, so being able to see the water line through the sides is still a little unnerving.

'84 Cruiser
I have an ‘84 Cruiser in Goldenglass. I can’t remember if I’ve actually measured the boat to see if it’s 17’ 9" from end cap to end cap or not but I can tell you that only the front seat on mine is sliding and that both appear to be plastic.

Nice boat.


Math fails
The difference between 18’1" and 17’9" is four inches gang. End caps are not going to account for that big of a deviation.

My question for the 11" depth. Was that measured at the center, bow, or stern.

Next question, does the rear of the boat have re-curve whereas the front is fairly plumb?

At 18’ with dual sliding seats and a depth of 11", I’m going to say it’s not a Cruiser but a racing hull of some flavor, maybe a Champion.

re-measure suggested
from the superior canoe website are these measurements

Length: 17’9”

Width: 30-33”

Depth: 10/12/20

Performance Load Limit: 690

Kevlar Weight: 56

I don’t really follow the width and depth numbers, but nothing matches yours.

Especially if your stems are less than 20 inches a more racy model is likely. The kevlar seats also suggest this.

I think that a cruiser is more optimized for going straight than working through rapids.

Do it look like dis here canoo?

– Last Updated: Nov-12-09 3:10 PM EST –

If so it be a Cruiser. We rented dis one in Algonquin back in '86. Fast boat, carried a good load, but if ah' recollect right - turned like crap.

copy an' paste entire string to URL line.


Au contrair (or however it’s spelled)
That’s almost exactly how much “extra” length you would get on my old Wenonah Vagabond if you measured from end-to-end across the end caps instead of from tip-to-tip of the hull itself, beneath the caps, so yes, what people are saying sounds about right to me.

The only reason I determined that length difference for cap-to-cap versus end-to-end of the hull was because I was still trying to understand why the hull was six inches shorter than the Wenonah catalog said it should be (a short time later I learned right here on P-net that this was normal for their Royalex versions).

its not designed for what you want to

It was intended for long wilderness trips that did not involve running Class 2 rapids. It was intended for long tough portages.

The depth will tell you…its shallow. 11 inches even shallower than my 13 foot flatwater boat.

some way to send a picture?
I’m not sure I measured at the correct locations, but is there a way to post a picture…seems like it would be easier to identify.

pictures of my canoe
ok, I posted a trade ad on mountainbuzz to see if anyone out there has a playboat in trade. I posted pictures of my canoe…do the pictures confirm it is a cruiser?

here’s the link


unidentified Sawyer
This is not like any Cruiser i have ever seen. It is not hard to believe the previous owner thought he had a Wenonah. Except for the core and absent side ribs, this sure looks like a Wenonah, really like an 18’Sundowner.

The bow entry, the bow profile, just don’t look like a Cruiser to me.

The HIN says Sawyer,the unknown M letter could be the key to this model. Where are the Sawyer decals and the side stripe?

Where is Sawyer George when we need his aged wisdom?


From what I know Sawyer only made two 18’ models. In what I call the first generation there was the Guide Special. It was designed by Ralph Sawyer and had a width of 36" a center depth of 12"(outside) with 17.7" depth at bow and stern. It was designed for and used mostly by fishermen and hunters. (it could carry a moose) I have talked to a couple of old time racers who did quite well in the old standard class racing them.

In the second generation there was the Outrage. I do not know who designed it. It had a beam at the rails of 33.5" a 4" waterline width of 32.5" a bow depth of 20", a stern depth of 18", a midship depth of 12.5". The superlight kevlar weight was 54#. It was designed for the stock boat racing class.

It looks like a Outrage to me. I need one for my collection, so if you want to sell it email me.


Second the Outrage
Looks like an Outrage to me too. Neat boat, and should turn way better than Cruiser!