sawyer canoe

Does anyone have any sawyer canoe test articles or catalogues they are willing to share? I am starting a collection of the more sporty models and would like to see some catalogues from the late 70s until they went out of business. Their performance may not be comparable to modern canoes but for someone on a limited budget I think they are a good choice. George

sawyer canoe plus

Thanks for the Website
Cool photos and articles.

Glenn w/

Summersong & Autumn Mist

Sawyer, Yost… & Loewy!
Thanks Charlie for being the guy you are and bringing this up.

I can’t say I completely agree that buying a used Sawyer is tantamount to theft, but it is well known in the paddling community that the various Sawyer reincarnations have short-changed the designer. Why not send DY a few bucks whenever we buy a Sawyer boat? Charlie can put anyone in touch with Yost who wants to reach out to him. This is an important issue, what’s right is right.

Not to argue the point Brian, but I’ve gotta just a tad my friend… No, it’s not quite the same as dealing in used Studebakers… Raymond Loewy DID get paid. He got paid big time. He was in fact the most famous and almost undoubtedly the best paid industrial designer of the last century. DY on the other hand while he is the most prolific designer of paddlecraft in the world has never made a “fortune” doing what he does. Paddlecraft is a tiny market compared to the major industries Loewy worked for (an interesting aside is to go to the Loewy web-site and have a look at the major players who paid big bucks for his services: The fact is DY is a retired Industrial Arts teacher and gets by on his teachers retirement and the small royalties the responsible canoe & kayak builders send him (which include Placid, Bell, Swift and several others).

My 2 centz – FWIW - RK

sawyer canoe
What did I start here? This is very interesting information to know. After buying my sawyer champ in 76 I became more interested in powerboats and skiing. With the price of gas these days my desire to canoe more has resurfaced. You guys are making me feel guilty for wanting to collect sawyer canoes. The link to the catalog site was great, thanks jjmish. Are there any more sites with sawyer information?

Collect the HULLS

When I hear of others saying stupid shi_ like, “I wanna collect Sawyer hulls”, I can’t help but wax nostalgia (spelling??).

Looking at my ten or so hulls, yesterday, I kept dreaming of being able to paddle them all one after another, many on L O N G trips through northern wildernesses.

So many girls, so few daze…


No guilt about collecting Sawyers.
I have three: Summersong, Starlight and Loon, but I think that only the Summersong was designed by DY.

I suspect that DY would rather see his older designs traded, sold, paddled and enjoyed rather than gathering dust in someone’s garage, barn, back yard or wood lot.

Yes, Dave Yost should be compensated for his design work. Everyone should be fairly compensated for their work. Some day, I expect to buy one of his modern designs for which he has received payment and royalties.

Don’t sweat buying DY’s sawyer designs. It compliments a designer to know that his earlier designs are still desireable.

Somewhat an Over-Simplification
…but, I’d tend to agree that Yost is proud of his old Sawyer designs.

Whether Scott compensates Dave is between Scott and Dave, I guess.

If I were to buy one of Scott’s kayaks (I think he’s still in biz), I’d bring up the DY issue. Whether it’d deter me purchasing a DY Sawyer is something I would have to talk to my Higher Power about…

BTW, my higher power shows up on a half-moon lit late fall evening paddle…


DY and Scott Smith
It turns out that, with other contractual affairs in an altered state, DY intends to visit Scott Smith in Michigan and enter into a royalty agreement that will allow Scott to use DY’s name and mark in advertising.

That’s good news.
Thanks for the update.

I have
a Sawyer kayak, 1977. Do any of you know who designed it. It is their touring model and has a red deck.

15-20 yr old Algonquin
Interesting discussion.

Does anyone have any info or opinion on a 2o-yr old Sawyer Algonquin? Good design?

Here’s a description from an ad, sounds too good to be true, what’s it not good at?

The David Yost design has sharp entry and exit lines combined with a narrow waterline width which makes it surprisingly quick canoe for its length [16"?]. It has great wave shedding ability in large waves. Moderate rocker enables canoeist to turn the canoe easigy in windy, twisty creeks. A soft turn at the bilge allows for traditional solo style paddling. Excellent final stability allows the solo paddlers to lean the canoe way over and cut clean, precise, arching turns.

It is constructed with superlight Kevlar of S-glass, graphite, carbon fiber and Kevlar, impreganated with flexible vinylester resin systems.

Thanks, PY

Sawyuer Alg.?

– Last Updated: Dec-08-07 9:13 AM EST –

You didn't mention whether the hull is a solo or tandem, but, Sawyer made the DY designed 190 Cruiser.

Later, Sawyer licensed Bill Swift, of Algonquin Outfitters in Canada, to manufacture several Sawyer hulls. Molds were transferred and Sawyer of Canada born. DY redetailed the hulls for Swift, including lengthening the 190 to 192" and increasing its volume; the new hull being named the Algonquin.

Most similar US hull is the Bell NorthStar, which has the additional features of asymmetry, differential rocker, both of which can be achieved in an Algonquin by moving a pack aft, and shoulders, which allow smaller bow paddlers and solo paddlers to stack their hands.

The Sawyer Algonquin
was what Bill Swift was calling the 190 when he sold it to us in 1989. Its 190 inches or 15’10"

Some of the copy from the catalog is exactly as I remember it. I dont have the catalog any more. But there is no carbon fiber. The 190 wasnt offered in CF I dont think. We have the Goldenglass version. So I am a little bemuddled there.

The Sawyer Algonquin wasnt the same as the Swift Algonquins. I remember doing a test paddle of a prototype in Dwight back in the early 90’s. It handled nothing like the 190.

The catalog, no suprise is a bit of marketing hype yet true in some ways. The 190 is fast, it does have tremendous secondary stability, it has a touch of tumblehome, yes it spins well CS, but a river runner. Not in Goldenglass. We tried that. It now has a badly patched three inch crease.

We still have the boat. Will pix help?


– Last Updated: Dec-08-07 5:05 PM EST –

The "ad" quote above isn't necessarily from a catalogue, it's an ad from somebody selling a used boat ($1,000), and I've seen some pictures.

It's here:

I'd heard that the Sawyer Algonquin was a finer canoe, slightly modified from a Sawyer 190, and that the Swift version was de-tuned a bit.

Thanks, PY.

sawyer canoe
Does anyone else have any experience with any of the other sawyer models not mentioned? George

I own a Loon, Summersong & Starlight.
What kind of information are you looking for on which boats?

I’ve had the Summersong with foot controlled rudder for about three years. I just got the Loon and Starlight this summer.

The Archives have some discussions on some of the Sawyer models.

sawyer canoe
I would be interested in reading any test articles from the old Canoe magaine about sawyer canoes. I read the shockwave link article. I have read everything in the archive about sawyers. I would like to hear about different models from people who have owned them and how they compare to canoes available now. I want to go to Raystown with the two that I have and try some others if anyone will bring theirs. I would also like to see a catalog from the eighties. This is starting to sound like a christmas list. George

An old Sawyer brochure
from 1977 which I have shows models called “Sport, Cruiser, Canadian, Champion, Guide Special, Safari, Charger, Super, and Saber.” The Saber is 24’ long and only 26’ wide! Also shown in the same brochure are kayaks “Slalom, and Touring”. I own the touring kayak.

I cannot give up the brochure but would be happy to answer any questions about it. I am interested in the history of the Sawyer company but know little about it. I am really curious about the possible rarity of my kayak.

I will have to post some pictures
The Swift Algonquin 15 is boxy and full. It has better initial stability

The Sawyer 190 is constant flare and no primary stability. Called by Harry Roberts a “pocket rocket”

The seller Craigslist did quote from the catalogue I saw my 190 in( I remember that text) but his boat is not the same shape as my 190 from as best I can tell nor is it like the Algonquin. Its kind of inbetween.

I have both the Sawyer 190 and the Swift Algonquin 15.