Submitted: 02-23-2005 by Allan
When I first saw her, she was sunk up to her gunwales and floating out in a small lake in Connecticut. For two weeks I drove by finally realized she was an unloved, abandoned old girl. When she finally drifted near shore, I hooked her and dragged her in. It was then I saw the rotted decks stuffed with newspaper and resin poured over the top, the seats wrapped in rotted duct tape, closet pole for a center thwart. She had a pretty tough life and someone had intended for her to spend her final days in peace at the bottom of the lake. If she dried out I would have a project on my hands or a very neat pile of kindling.
I found the number on her and sent off my payment to Old Town and found she was started in 1926, rested over Christmas holidays and filled and finished in February of 1927 then shipped to a hardware store in New Jersey.
She is a 17' OTCA, AA grade. All mahogany trim, seats, long decks with combing and a floor rack. She has all the options that Old Town offered at the time including outside stems, keel and a rub rail.
The original canvas was repaired, not replaced, the paint inside was stripped down to bare wood again then several coats of varnished applied inside, dark green oil paint outside.
I've paddled this canoe for twenty some odd years now. I have fished, camped and spent many a long night under the stars with this canoe. Next to my son, she is my best loved possession and will never be sold. I paddler her every chance I get. The Boy Scouts at camp call her the Cadillac when she shows up in the summer. They all paddle her and respect her unmatched beauty. She leaks a little now, but we all will when we get that old.
If you have a chance to acquire a wood and canvas canoe, do so. A little more work and a little heavier than other types of canoes but there are none more beautiful or satisfying to own.
The 17' OTCA is great for hauling gear and open lake travel, tracks well in wind with the keel. Get the AA grade because it looks so swell.