Sawyer made, How many canoes?

Does anyone know how many canoes Sawyer made? It seems that they made alot more tandems than solos. I guess the serial number of the last ones made would tell how many. Who has the last one made? Who has the earliest one made? Just curious. George

Sawyer production

– Last Updated: Jan-19-08 9:10 PM EST –

Ralph Sawyer started ~63. They started small, say 50 in 62, 80 in the 63. 1-- in 63; steady growth until Bob Gramprie bought in in the early 70's. Assume an average if 1000/ yr through the seventies. The late 70's early 80's saw the Yankee Rebel/ K Mart/ U channel keel deal that destroyed the company over time.

The glory years of the mid 80's, with Harry Roberts as sales manager bringing David Yost on board as designer saw Sawyer approaching 2000 hulls/year. When Harry left for CanoeSport Journal`~87, Sawyer went into a slow decline which saw them closing doors ~92. So;~30 years, ~20,000 hulls This semi informed guess is exclusive of Sawyer of Canada, which became Swift Canoe & Kayak.

Of course, Sawyer didn't live in a vacuum. Their rise was due, in part, to serial fire losses to Moore Canoe. The decline was hastened by the growth of WeNoNah and Mad River, both led by serious paddlers who had more passion for the sport than Gramprie.

The three owners after the initial closing haven't produced a hundred bottoms between them.

Sawyer production
Would you please elaborate on the Yankee Rebel/ K Mart/ U channel keel deal? George

From a 1977 catalog …

– Last Updated: Jan-20-08 3:01 PM EST –

I found yesterday.

"YANKEE REBEL - Our 'volks canoe' made of standard orthophthalic polyester resin and chopped fiberglass with a final interior layer of woven fiberglass roving. The REBEL is available in only yellow and only in one size and model. It has good glass content and is undoubtedly the finest canoe for the price available."

The catalog goes on to list a REBEL 16' and REBEL 13' as follows:

16' long, 36" wide, 13 1/2" depth at center, 640lbs. capacity, 72lbs. weight, for $169.00

13' long, 36" wide, 13" depth at center, 600lbs. capacity, 59lbs. (Fiberglass), $183.00 or 44lbs. (Kevlar), $570.00


K Mart and Yankee Rebel
K Mart agreed to buy a huge lot of Yankee Rebels. Sawyer geared up to produce them. K Mart canceled the order.

I remember that
I worked for KMart Sports back then (It was a seperate company) Coleman undercut the price deal and would drop ship directly to each store. KMart was going to have to stock the Yankee Rebels in its distribution center. Sawyer stopped doing business with KMart after that.

Who designed the Sawyer canoes in the '70’s? Did Ralph do the design work himself?

I believe
Lynn Tuttle(sp) did some of them.

Lynn Tuttle designs
also include the Cruiser and (I believe) the Charger.


Sawyer kayak
Do you know who designed the Sawyer kayaks of the late 1970’s? I have one and don’t know much about who actually had their hands in designing it. I have the touring model.

Sawyer production
We were Sawyer dealers from 1976 thru the end and sold hundreds of their canoes. Their serial numbering was basically sequential. The last boat I received from them was a 1996 Kevlar Cruiser and the number was 13983. So I would have to believe that was a fairly accurate number of canoes produced at least in the Gramprie era. All of the Sawyer brands (including AuSable, Oscoda & Yankee Rebel)had the same prefix (SAW) and the numbering was sequential.

The Cruiser was a Lynn Tuttle design that dated from the late 1960’s. The other designer info mentioned here is correct to my knowledge except for the Charger which I am not sure of.

In their heyday Sawyers were well built canoes which set a standard for design and paddling performance.

My Loon is SAW13826B696
So it wasn’t too far from the end of production either.

What does the B mean in the s/n?

B = February
The last 4 digits are the date of manufacture and the model year. B6 indicates a manufacture date of February of 1996, last two digits, 96, indicate model year 1996. A ‘model year’, as per US Coast Guard, is August 1 thru July 31. So the model year of this boat was August 1, 1995 - July 31, 1996. Coast Guard is the US Government agency that oversees boat manufacture.