??Used Blue Hole OCA Price??

Good Morning,

I ran across a Blue Hole OCA in good to very good shape and I can get it for $400.00. Sounds pretty fair to me but wanted some opinions on that price.



I might pay that if the gunwales are
unbent and if I didn’t plan to paddle it on serious whitewater. The Royalex in Blue Holes is extra strong, but it is old now and getting brittle. Fine for easy hits but not for big slams.

I’d pay that
it is a bit more than I paid last year ($250) for a “beater” Blue Hole OCV. I had to do a bit of patching on mine, put new webbing in the seats and add a portage yoke. Probably have $350 in it now and it is far from pristine. It is a maneuverable boat that rides dry through wave trains. I’ve grown to really like the thing. I’ve done some mild whitewater with it, both solo and tandem. It is a symmetrical hull that can be soloed backward from the front seat. But, as was said by the previous poster, it is probably too old and brittle to take the “big hit”.

I’m always on the lookout for a better one, they’re kinda scarce.


brittle Royalex
I have not personally had an issue with older Royalex canoes becoming excessively brittle. I have a number of Royalex boats from the late 1980s and very early 1990s that I still paddle on whitewater and some of them have taken some very forceful hits without cracking.

Still, plenty of others have had a different experience. This phenomenon may be dependent on how the boat was stored over those decades.

It may also depend on the temperature
of the day and on the fact that, in the most spectacular case I witnessed, the canoe got loose while being lowered down the steep slope at Chicken Coop Gap on the upper Conasauga, and hit a tree bow-on at about 15 mph. The bow is a zone that doesn’t yield, but in most bow-pitons of Royalex I’ve seen, the bow sort of folds and crumples. The canoe in question was an old MR ME (good Royalex), and the bow cracked open with a very jagged break line, suggesting brittleness.

On thinking about it, I don’t think storage has much to do with aging Royalex, unless a boat has wood gunwales and the screws aren’t loosened in frigid weather. The vinyl skin protects the ABS structural layers from UV. But the vinyl skin also prevents us from seeing hidden damage. ABS is not a super-material. Sharp, hard blows are going to cause micro-cracking and distortion going over ledges and landing on rocks is going to cause fatigue.

look close
disregard all the above. BUY IT, GOOD PRICE

ocA aint made of royalex

The Blue Hole OCA certainly was made of Royalex. Blue Hole introduced the use of Royalex for canoe construction.

Well, Blue Hole was an early
innovator, but did not market the FIRST Royalex canoe. I believe that would have been Old Town maybe? Under their proprietary “Olnatar” ABS/vinyl laminate.

The basic Blue Hole shape is the “Warsaw Rocket” of Uniroyal’s marketing exercise for their new product.

Someone with a better memory of the 70s please correct me!


But if Old Town introduced the first ABS/vinyl laminate canoe (“Oltonar”) it was in 1972 and only preceded Blue Hole by a matter of months.

Blue Hole also started production in Antioch, TN in 1972, but I think it is clear that Blue Hole had the predominate influence on establishing Royalex as a standard for whitewater canoes, at least in the southeast.

My history is fuzzy
All I remember is OT advertizing how they threw a boat off the roof of their factory.

Would be nice if CEW has some memories of that era.



Old memory

Not sure if Johnson Outdoors has done it after they purchased the company.

Sue Audette of Waterworks…the Bag Lady would know as well as Benson Gray of WCHA whose grandfather founded Old Town.

There was a time lapse sequence of roof toss pictures in Canoe Magazine in the 1970’s…if anyone has a library

And, it was heavier Royalex than we
usually see on boats today.

Old Town did make and market the
first, and fortunately the last, Royalex/Oltonar kayaks…

Since we are now completely off topic
I might as well throw out this piece of Royalex history trivia: http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=5127&view=previous

That’s rather confusing. If OT started
making Trippers in '73, the Tripper was NOT molded by Uniroyal. If there was about a 5 year gap between when Uniroyal started supplying hulls and when OT and Blue Hole started molding their own, where were all the Royalex canoes in the late 60s?

My understanding was that Blue Hole molded nearly all their own hulls, though the resemblance of the Warsaw Rocket and the OCA is unquestionable. I don’t know of any Old Town Oltonar canoes earlier than the Tripper.

My alternative hypothesis is that generic Warsaw Rockets did not appear until about 1970, maybe later. Very soon afterward, OT and Blue Hole were molding their own boats. If anyone has contradictory info I’d like to hear it. Anyone have a copy of Sue Taft’s book?

First Royalex canoe
Didn’t come from Old Town. It came from a company variously called Indian Brand Canoes or Rivers and Gilman. They had a 17’ model called a Sagamore. Their factory burned down and the designer of their Royalex canoes (Gilman) moved over to Old Town where he designed the Royalex Tripper. Some info here including an ad for the Sagamore. http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?5095-15-foot-Indian-Girl/page3

I owned a Sagamore in the late 70’s. Hull design was very similar to a Blue Hole 17A but not as deep.

Dat wuz some tippy war canoo…
fro’ dat exoyp fro’ de article…

“The first “war canoe”—25 feet long, 14 inches wide, and 44 inches deep—was built in 1909.”

Now we need a history of plastic

Interesting that the Indian Brand Canoes were made in Hampden…about nineteen miles from Old Town… I am thinking that there might have been some cross company communications or at least spying.

I would have thought they were made on Indian Island right across the Penobscot River from the OT factory.

Gee the thread is drifting faster than the ice…

was with Indian Brand Canoes then moved to Old Town.

This shows Rivers and Gilman Molded Products beginning in 1965 and expiring in 1987: