What is this gazelle canoe made of? Royalex?

Looking at a canoe to purchase and the seller claims the hull is royalex/oltonar. Manufacturer is Gazelle, with which my research shows they only made fiberglass boats. Can anyone help me out?

Here is another picture. Any ideas?

Looks like Fiberglass to me. It looks like it has an aluminum stem on the bow. You wouldn’t see that on a plastic boat. If you have a closer photo if the inside or the bow it should be easier to tell.

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The inside of the hull looks quite smooth to me which would indicate a plastic hull. But pictures can be deceiving.

It appears to be made of fiberglass, with an aluminum stem at the bow—a feature unlikely on a plastic boat. A closer inside or bow photo could confirm this.

Royalex and three-layer polyethylene roto-molded hulls have inherent buoyancy provided by the foam core. Composite canoes do not and almost always have flotation tanks built into the inside of the hull at the stems.

I don’t see any flotation tanks in the photo so I suspect it is Royalex. You will also usually see some weave of the fabric on the interior of a composite boat.


These were the only pictures unfortunately. From the seller:

“ Yeah, there isn’t a lot of info out there on Gazelle. The guy my dad bought it from said it was Oltonar (which is the generic name for Royalex). It is def not fiberglass - can tell by the finish and inside when up close. More durable but prob heavier than fiberglass.”

He also sent a pic of the HIN. Would that be useful in ID’ing?

Here is another angle. Is the stem supposed to be on the outside of the bow? Hard to tell but maybe the other picture had some different lighting.

The stem refers to the end(s) of the canoe, could be used to describe the exterior or the interior of the hull.

If the boat has floatation tanks you will see them on the inside of the hull.

I think pblanc is right. The lack of flotation tanks seems like the best clue. The interior color and shine is consistent with Royalex (although many fiberglass boats also have a band-aid color and that’s why we all want a close up :grin:). The pictures are grainy for me but it also looks like you can see the Royalex sandwiched between the inwale and outwhale…like a Dagger IIRC.

But the protective/decorative/traditional metal stem bands are usually seen on wood boats and occasionally on composite boats @Paddlinpals says, and if they are screwed into Royalex that doesn’t seem like a great idea. And the bow looks quite sharp and pointy for Royalex.

If you knock on it and it sounds like an uninflated car tire it’s Royalex but if it sounds like there’s someone at the front door it’s fiberglass :wink:

Looks just like an old town tripper. Even the seats, which are certainly old town style flotation tank seats. Maybe old town made hulls for other companies to offer as their brand. Very few companies could afford the royalex process.

interesting point about the seats, that seems like a good clue. I’ll likely check the canoe out soon. any tips on determining royalex vs poly?

Actually the original royalex canoes unofficially known as Warsaw Rockets had metal stem bands

I don’t think this has a stem band, just the lighting and shadow on that picture.

I agree with the idea that it’s a rebranded model made by another manufacturer. Old Town would sell factory seconds from their warehouse. Maybe one year they sold a few to Gazelle or something like that. If you can get exact measurements we might be able to find a match.

Also, the seller describes it as Royalex/Oltonar. Oltonar was Old Town’s label for Royalex.

Thats what he was told by the previous owner…so i take it with a grain of salt

If it is Royalex, it will be heavy. If you need a basically indestructible boat that you won’t be carrying much, Royalex is great.But most casual canoeists prefer lighter boats. Just sayin’

So I did end up getting this canoe. It is definitely royalex. About 82 lbs. it is 16.5’ long and 37” wide and about 12 in deep. I suspect it is one of the “Warsaw rocket” hulls. It is in what I think is remarkable shape for being 40 years old. I think it was a decent deal at $200. I hope to learn more about gazelle canoes and how many royalex boats they actually made. Thanks for all the information everybody.

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Sellers of Warsaw Rocket canoes did not actually make them. They simply finished them by installing seats, thwarts, yokes, gunwales and deck plates to the molded hulls, then slapping their logo decal on the sides.

All of the hulls were molded at the Warsaw, Indiana Royalex production facility.