Should I buy: SAWYER X-17

-- Last Updated: Nov-20-10 12:49 AM EST --

My wife an I are looking for our first canoe. We plan to paddle on lakes and infrequently Class 1-2 rivers for day recreation and an occasional over night camp out. We will only be going in good weather with usually little wind. Occasionally my daughter and her husband and two teens will use it for day recreation. Below is the information on the canoe from the seller. Price is $8oo.

This serial number is molded into the hull: SAW07T29F787. There are two stickers, which are identical and read: "Superlite ® Sawyer's award winning epoxy, S-Glass & Kevlar® foam cored laminate".My guess is the date of manufacture is 1987. Color is gray .

I also have a We no nah Fisherman 14 Ft I could buy for $500

Fisherman does not have any glamour,
but it would be the right choice.

You would be happy with it.

I disagree
with putting four people in a 14 foot boat. It doesn’t matter who made the boat.

Seventeen feet is better for four people and you did mention that occasionally there would be four.

It depends on how comfortable you are with boats that have little initial stability whether you want the X-17. You can improve quickly but if you don’t like the tender feeling you might not use it.

It is a fine fast boat. Have you had the chance to paddle anything?

beginners canoe
I have a bit of experience selling canoes to beginners and I have paddled the x17 in class 1-2 water. I think any canoe choice needs to be guided by your most demanding use (class 2 ww in your case),

your experience and possibly your size. (Big people who carry their weight high need bigger canoes to get comfortable stability.) Though the two boats you name are attractively priced I doubt either of them will do all you want. The x17 is not manouverable or tough enough for class 2 whitewater. And unless you are exatremely agile it is not stable enough. I would recommend a less exotic 16 or 17’ royalex canoe. Or take the class 2 criteria out of the game.

X and Fish
Sawyers X-17 is a funny boat. conceived as a tandem tripper, it is Swede-Form asymmetrical and with minimal bow rocker is handles like a race boat. The bow doesn’t like to draw but the stern skids quit nicely.

Sawyers ultra lite glass boat, like Wenonah’s, was a failed attempt to make lightweight, moderately priced hulls. They are fragile. That fragility combined with a deep forefoot means that X will not do well in class 2 water.

The Fisherman 14 won’t either. It is an entry level hull without the maneuverability needed for seriously moving water.

I didn’t get from the OP that there would be four in either hull. But, that would be a bad idea in the X and a horrid one in the Fish-14. There are canoes designed to haul four adults, Wenonah makes three, Bell one, Western has some; these ain’t they.

If you need to move four at once on a budget, get BOTH the X and the Fish, and stay off class 2 moving water.

And get good pfd’s that you’ll wear. We just lost a valued P Netter paddling in cold water w/o life jacket.


– Last Updated: Jun-04-14 7:46 AM EST –

Just found this MB.
I have owned a Sawyer X17 since 1988.
"Sawyers X-17 is a funny boat. conceived as a tandem tripper, it is Swede-Form asymmetrical and with minimal bow rocker is handles like a race boat. The bow doesn't like to draw but the stern skids quit nicely. "
Many boats from that time of design were intended with a purpose in mind.
It makes an excellent Tandem Tripper and it is fun to paddle. That is it's design goal. It travels nicely with two people after you are used to the hull shape. The displacement weight was listed at about 850 lbs. (including equip. and two paddlers). It's not designed for 4 people. Few canoes are. The times that I have gone on canoe trips, it seems to handle as nicely with some cargo as with the hull empty. I have never used mine on river travel where rocks are concerned. It's not designed for that. These boats were made with three different layup fiberglass and kevlar combinations when mine was bought from the Swift family in Ontario and their outfitting company was using them for trip rentals. I don't recall any of them using a foam core at that time but perhaps they did in the Oscoda, Mi plant.
I have also used my X 17 quite a bit for solo paddling. I added knee pads and a nice dry pack full of towels for sitting on. Location fore/aft is important when solo paddling into the wind and a little lean to lower the freeboard makes for great solo speed.