Sawyer Cruiser

Can anybody tell me why relatively new Sawyer Canoes are reviewed in the product reviews? I thought they went out of business 10 or 15 years ago. I just called an outfitter in Quetico, and he said they had the Sawyer Cruiser hull made by Swift. My recollection is that that was an incredbly fast hull . A lot of the BWCA rangers used to use it when I was a kid. I’d like to try it. Is it marketed under the Swift name of Sawyer name? Anybody paddled it? Is it safe for an old fogey that wants to look fast?

Very nice boat

– Last Updated: Jul-10-06 10:58 PM EST –

I can't tell you if anyone still makes it, but I did paddle one in the mid eighties and it was no bruise water. While not as fast as today's comp. cruisers, it would be more stable and a much better canoe for everything except pure racing. I can recall paddling a 24' Sawyer Saber.

Sawyer tried another comeback last year.
Closed down again. Making canoes is a tough very competive business.

Swift basically got it’s start making Sawyer hulls under license. Later redesigned the hulls and thus had their own line after that. There is still a lot of Sawyer (mostly Sawyer?) in Swift hulls.



Different twist on the story
Bill Swift Sr. was making canoes for his outfitting business at Algonquin Prov. Park in Ontario (Algonquin Outfitters – now owned and run by one of the Swift sons) long before he contracted to build some of the Sawyer hulls. In recent years Swift Canoe/Kayak Company (owned by another Swift son) has built hulls under contract for other canoe/kayak brand-names as well – Necky as an example. As to there being a lot of Sawyer in Swift canoes… David Yost designed some of the current Swift line-up; he designed for Sawyer as well. Other Swifts (like the Osprey and Shearwater) were designed by John Winters.

As to the demise of the “New Sawyer” line… Man it’s gotta be tough to try to make a go at building quality canoes in a roto-molded pumpkin seed world…

Thanks. Did not know whole story, just

that Swift licensed hulls from Sawyer. A few oldtimers from the mid Michigan region indicated that was the start up of Swift. The truth is likely somewhere inbetween, huh?



Pardon the…
hijack,but I own a Sawyer Shockwave,and I plan to keep it. Will the value increase now since they went out of business,or am I paddling worthless junk. I have people contacting my to buy it since a couple of my posts about Sawyer canoes. I don’t plan on selling but if it is worthless,why not.

Sorry for the hijack,but an inquiring mind wants to know. Thanks.

Happy Paddling billinpa

Been getting a lot of "What happened?"
about Swayer.

Well, bottom line … is best described by some conversations about what happened before.

Had the oportunity to meet and know the old Sawyer plant manager and another long time employee of the original Sawyer Canoe company. They were told by the original owners that after everything was done: plant overhead, advertising, distribution, shows, reps, returns, warranty work, discounts, and whatever; the whole bit that the actual final profit per canoe was less than $20. How many of us would run a company for that?!

You could not even guess the loss per boat the latest startup attempt incurred!!! Even I only have a rough idea as there are expences I know were not included in the ledgers. 10s, 100s, 1000s per boat?!



I paddled your boat
and loved it. How could it be worthless, considering the pleasure it must be giving you? It’s not an investment, it’s money well spent on the enjoyment of it.

Anyway, regardless of what happens to the company, I can’t imagine your not being able to sell it for what you paid for it.


I thought at one time Scott Canoes (Mid-Canadian Fiberglass) built some of the Sawyer models also. I may have been mistaken on that.

You still see some cruisers for sale. Keep your eyes open to the classifieds here and up in MN and WI. There was one in California just a couple of weeks ago.

The Cruiser is a sweet paddler. Fast, with very good secondary stability. I paddled mine with kids, dogs, teetering relatives, etc. It never capsized once in 20 plus years.

It was hard to turn it when paddling solo in the wind and waves. It didn’t have the capacity to haul lots of tripping gear and still ride over waves, so you’d get wet in a big chop if you had a couple of big guys and lots of gear.

But it was fast and graceful and had great glide and responded well to good paddling. Mine was goldenglass and was well made with very good stiffness and durability.

another option
for a a fast, stable, effiecient canoe is to contact the Minnesota Canoe association and get one of there 4x32 cruiser hulls. They are obsolete against todays USCA hulls, but a nice boat. Canunut and I built one about 6 years ago and it is really stable and fast. RedCross Randy had it out on Lake Opeonga in Algoinquin in some really snotty weather, and had no problems.

Then click over to boat building.

Bummer that Sawyer’s down again.
I’d hoped they’d make it. I’m glad that I held on to my Summersong.

Your Shockwave value shouldn’t decrease
unless it’s condition degrades. Keep it unless you find a boat that you like better. I certainly plan to keep my Summersong with rudder unless I find a boat that I prefer more and I don’t expect it’s value to drop as a result of Sawyer being out of business.

You described my feelings about the Cruiser to a T. I sold mine when I was offered a Charger in kevlar, looking forward to more freeboard in the chop. I ended up carrying more gear for other folks! But I still have very fond memories about the Cruiser. Lets see…late summer 1974, Kipawa Reserve, Ann in the bow seat…Those were good times.


Saw one for sale

– Last Updated: Sep-03-09 12:10 PM EST –

In case anyone is looking for a Cruiser. I noticed one for sale at the Swift Muskoka store (Highway 11 Gravenhurst, ON) in Fibreglass/alum trim, and tractor seats. The red gelcoat has a foggy oxidized look, a couple minor sratches on hull; $1200 CAD.
Edit: No Swift or Sawyer stickers, tag called it a Swift.

Sawyer Cruiser
If you are looking for a Sawyer keep looking because they are out there. Last February I was scouting around for a good used canoe. I came across a shop that is now out of business and found an 18ft Sawyer Cruiser built in 1972. Fiberglass, Aluminum trim, tractor seats and a few dings and scratches. I bought it for $400 and paid $50 for some minor fiberglass repair in a couple of spots. I also gave it a new paint job. What a great canoe. I’ve had my son with his two boys with me on a couple of trips and we had a stable, roomy craft. It’s about 75 pounds but is lighter than what I had.

I have a white 1983 Sawyer Cruiser Goldenglass in very good condition for sale - $1200. Located at Coon Rapids, IA. Contact me at for pictures.

I just brought my grandfather’s canoe back to NJ from MI. He passed in 2007. I grew up using this canoe and now I need to bring it back to it’s former glory. Can anyone here tell me from these two bad pictures what model it might be and how to find out what year it was made? I saw a serial number on the aluminum trim. It is 16’ in length. Still glides, but needs some work for sure. Thanks!

I have a Sawyer Cruiser hanging in my garage. It is all Kevlar and weighs about 42 pounds. I made many Algonquin trips in it and it is one fine paddling lake canoe. Mine was made in Oscoda, Michigan well before the original Sawyer Company went out of business. It is fast and stable. For the last 15 years I have mostly paddled solo canoes but a couple years ago my grandson and I took it out. It is still a fast stable lake tripper. I paid $700 for it new which was quite a bit under list price at the time. I was teaching canoeing classes then and I was given good deals on a couple different Sawyer Canoes including several DY solo canoes. I would not be afraid of any Sawyer Canoe as long as it looked in good shape and had been stored inside out of the sun. None of the recent Sawyer Companies had any thing to do with the more recent Sawyer start ups.

I have always said the fastest distance between 2 points is a Sawyer Canoe, especially a DY solo.