I’M ON MY WAY AGAIN – “The coming and going of a canoe”

As a collector, of sorts, when the ad states, “SAWYER CANOE”, the scramble starts!  Over the past two years I’ve bought, paddled, repaired, and sold a good number of canoes.  I’ve answered all kinds of questions in addition to asking a larger number of questions as I believe that to be good at something; you need to know!  The answer to, “How do you know that?” is to get into something and ask the people with the correct information.

So the trailer was hooked up and off I dashed to Orillia after speaking with the vendor of the canoe.  First order of business was to use the tape measure and when this 17’9″ Sawyer Cruiser came in at 17’6″…..well, it just seemed to be a good time to scratch my head!  As with a visit to the doctor, you are able to go for the second opinion and I turned her over to see the interior.  That’s when the picture came right back into focus.  This gal just screamed of having a Swift canoe interior.  The seat webbing and the contour of the kneeling thwart grabbed my attention until….yup, the deep dish Teal yoke!

Look at a photo and some things are instantly recognized and known.  With Swift Canoe and Kayak it’s the laser line to the trees.  With Langford, it’s the thin line to the beaver with the canoe model in written font.  With Scott, the original Scott canoes, all you needed to do was look at the seat braces for that warm and gentle curve featuring the vinyl seat cover.   So, while I wasn’t looking at a Cruiser, I was looking at a really nice canoe that needed a hug.

That hug she got and saw a considerable amount of water while in the stable.  A trip to the Chiniguchi Waterway was the major test and she excelled…..well, with the exception of being a wonderful portage partner.  I’ll put the blame on my 63 year old knees.  Such a nimble and quick canoe, she surprised us with her sprints from the nose to the toes of our group and she danced on the turns.  Our daughter and I were the constant paddlers for the Winisk and we all had a lot of fun with her.  This girl shunned the wind with her low deck profiles and provided good stability even empty.

As with any good book, the next chapter will reveal a new character, provide more intrigue or provide more information.  That’s what I was after and while the Winisk was a beauty, there were other voices calling.  That desire created the ad for sale and quite frankly; I was not prepared for what was about to unfold!

Interest was evident very soon after posting the ad, as was the standard host of experts on a well known forum for sales of various items.  The ad and this writing have mentioned Swift and the canoe was offered as a Swift Winisk.  Why, you ask?  Good question!  The reason is simple.  The canoe had the measurements, the interior, and the overall appearance of a Swift.  The thing it was missing was a visible HIN; Hull Identification Number.  In short order the canoe was loaded and home she came.

I had two showings of the canoe on the day she went up for sale and one very interesting email which opened by stating, “Oh there’s a marking” and proceeded to tell me where to look.  Had the marking been there, then there was “a serious problem” as if it weren’t there, “no one with brains would touch it.”  It came from, “M” and what “M” didn’t allow for was the fact that earlier builds had a written paper badge with the HIN that was epoxied on one of the flotation chambers; not an impressed number by mold or even a badge that was riveted to the hull……leaving traces of rivet holes.

Ad was up, canoe had been shown, and interest and a timeline was put forward.  That’s when it got very, very interesting.  A good friend sent me a note regarding the fact it looked like I had so and so’s canoe up for sale.  “I beg your pardon!”

Well several exchanges and a few calls later we establish the fact that this Winisk was sold by someone known to me and the owner was known, as was the original colour and the subsequent re-paint colour.

So in closing, I propose a question to you, the reader.  Would you be happy to purchase a canoe that you saw good value in plus a good fit for your future plans in getting your family outside?  Would your purchase be somewhat more rewarding or fulfilling in knowing that you’ve purchased a canoe, designed and built, by one of Canada’s premier canoe companies, still in existence today?  Would you appreciate knowing that the canoe you just bought was one of the fastest, most responsive designs prior to modifications?  Would you feel a bit more secure with this information as opposed to having just bought a canoe from a guy!

I’m wondering what it was as a deciding factor to sell her?  Oh well, you can’t go on with regrets so cheers to the new owner and may you have much enjoyment knowing her, just a bit better!