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06/22/2021 08:44PM  
Hi! I just purchased my second Sawyer canoe. The first is a Champion, this one looks very similar (haven't put them side by side yet). 68lbs, over 18 feet long., fiberglass. Serial SAW014480674. It's in great shape but is not as responsive on the water as the first (the White Lightning). wondering about model, and advice on the restoration of the gel coat and paint on the hull. Thanks!
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07/02/2021 03:59PM  
07/04/2021 03:15PM  
The canoe pictured above is the old, original Sawyer Champion. The Sawyer 'Champ' underwent several design revisions, but retained the 'Champion' moniker up through the 'Champ V', which if I remember correctly was the last version in the Sawyer Champion line.

Sawyer's older fiberglass fabric canoe lay-ups were pretty tough, but were heavy! Sawyer did did produce a 'cored' lay-up which stiffened the hull and saved some weight, but their 'cored' lay-ups never held a candle to other manufacturers like Wenonah.

Sawyer used a PVC foam core for their ultra-lite lay-ups in the 80's and beyond, much like Wenonah and other canoe manufacturers that produced ultra-light composite canoes. But, many of the older 70's Sawyer Champions and Supers used a honey-combed cardboard core! Those cardboard cores would be okay until there was some hull damage or cracks that allowed water to seep into the core. Unfortunately that adversely affected the integrity of the core and therefore would soak up water and become quite heavy. I've seen this first hand. Back in the mid-80's, there was a member of our canoe club that had a beat-up ultra-light glass Sawyer Champion, and it weighed a ton due to the aforementioned condition.

I checked out a 70's ultra-light fiberglass Sawyer Champion a few years ago that was for sale on craiglist. The canoe seemed to be in beautiful condition, and I really wanted to take this boat home. But after further inspection, and lifting the canoe, I knew the core was compromised. My original Sawyer spec sheet indicated the canoe should have weighed 62lbs., but it clearly weighed significantly more. As much as I wanted to add that canoe the my livery, I had to pass on it.

The Sawyer canoe pictured above seems to have had some hull stiffening added to the canoe, which I have not seen in those older Sawyer Champions. Although the canoe seems to be just a standard fiberglass lay-up, there must have been some oil-canning that prompted the previous owner to add the stiffening. Although I have seen a few of the older Champs like the one pictured above over the years, I have never seen a stiffening treatment like that on a Sawyer Champion canoe. That said, that stiffening was an optional lay-up with Wenonah's center-rib construction on their tandem canoes decades ago. Then again, Sawyer would do some occasional tweaks or limited production runs, so it's possible that was done at the factory, but I doubt it.

The original Sawyer Champions were a nice design, and I love the re-curved stern, which became a design feature in the Dave Yost designed Sawyer Shockwave solo canoe, and the Sawyer Legend tandem that were sold by Sawyer in the mid to late 80's, as well as Swift's current solo 'Cruiser' series. But, some of those old Sawyer all glass lay-ups were either heavy as hell or were rather delicate if they were the ultra-light composites.

Hans Solo

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