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There are numerous mentions in SA but no such entitled thread, so I figured I'd start one for posterity. We sailed the $99 models in about 1967 on the Scuykill River in Philly - my dad called up and got a dealership (he had nothing to do with boats!) and he claims to havre been the one that sold the boats to Penneys Dept Store (my dad sold dresses to them and sears).

They may still be available - although out of stock now. 

Current owner is: ************ Boats
https://www.************boat.com/snark/

Current Outlet for most of them in Sailboatstogo:

https://www.sailboatstogo.com/content/Snark_Super_Snark_Sunflower__Sailboats

Even in the market today, the weight of 30 lbs (smaller models) seems to put them in a salable category for small pond and lake sailing.  It may be the biggest selling sailboat in history? (1/2 million reported). 

Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snark_sailboat

A letter from the Founder as to History:

------
 

My name is Jim McMullen, I was co-founder of Snark Products back in

the mid-sixties. My only product was the Sea Snark. We originally

retailed it for $99. We started and based it in Ft. Lee New Jersey.

Later we moved it to our own building in North Bergen N.J. on the

Hudson River.

For all these years people have asked me "where is Snark now and who has it?" So finally I Googled you and am happy to see part of our  line at least, is still being offered.

When I started the business we outsourced production to a Styrofoam

moulder in Connecticut. After we grew substantial sales, we opened our first production facility in Pt. Clinton Ohio on lake Erie. I was the

one who conceptualized the promotion of the Kool Snark to Brown &

Williamson in Louisville Ky. We sold several thousand branded Kool

Snarks and the promotion was so successful they repeated it for the

second year. The campaign also won the national popi award as being

the most creative and inventive for that year.

Also sold hundreds of Snarks as dealer loaders to Coke, Livoris,

Vicks, Budweiser etc.

We then developed the skinned version and called it the Sunflower.

Sold it for $199. then $220. We also built and designed a line of

boats for Sears called the Jetwind. It was to compete with the Lazer

from Canada. We also produced a dingy called Moby Dink, Super Snark,

Mayflower, Sunflower, Triumph, all using our trademarked 'Corelite'

which was bonding the ABS skin to a foam core. Sears were our largest single customer but we had several hundred dealers in the U.S. and Canada. We had licensing agreements in Japan, Germany, UK, and Canada.

We supplied the molds and all marketing material to all licensees. In

'72, sold the company to DDB who at the time were the third largest

advertising agency in the world and were publicly traded. I had a two

year management agreement and at 40 yrs. old, I retired to Florida.

The Snark venture was the highlight of my career and I'm very proud of the fact that I introduced thousands of people to the sport of sailing for the first time.


 

 

SnarkSailboat.jpg

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Sea Snark and perhaps other brands (Sunfish?) sailing in Philadelphia - my family and friends when I was 10 years old or so (mid-1960's) - river was about 900 feet wide at this place - approx where the Boat houses are in Philly, above the Falls about a mile from the Art Museum. 

https://youtu.be/xCUc3JkcxJU

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1 hour ago, craigiri said:

Sea Snark and perhaps other brands (Sunfish?) sailing in Philadelphia - my family and friends when I was 10 years old or so (mid-1960's) - river was about 900 feet wide at this place - approx where the Boat houses are in Philly, above the Falls about a mile from the Art Museum. 

https://youtu.be/xCUc3JkcxJU

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Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Believe it or not, I've sailed both a Flying Dutchman and a 505 on the exact stretch of water. I soloed first time ever there too--on a rented sunfish. Never forget that slushing sound when she got up on a plane.

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They do mention promotions with lots of various companies, so likely it was the free boat for lots of things!

Beer and Cigarettes - menthols, yet! 

The bigger model was the Mayflower - amazing that it holds up to 4 (or 3) adults. 

As you see from the original ad, this cost a lot more - $498.

Some youtube vids on this boat - from Germany!

Dang thing looks stable!

 

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On 4/10/2021 at 3:43 PM, fastyacht said:

Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Believe it or not, I've sailed both a Flying Dutchman and a 505 on the exact stretch of water. I soloed first time ever there too--on a rented sunfish. Never forget that slushing sound when she got up on a plane.

River appears, at most, 700 feet wide there. We would to to Peters Island there. Sailing can probably be done in many more places than it is - for example, almost no one sails up in MA on the CT river although it's much wider and longer - same with our lakes behind dams nearby. 

Here is the place

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I learned to sail on a Super Snark. My dad purchased this boat for $160 at a local, western Kentucky equivalent to K-Mart in 1977. He and I learned to sail with a couple books and taking turns on a small fishing pond or lake. No formal instruction. The boat saw a few trips to a barrier island in South Carolina for vacation where we sailed on both the "creek" side and in the ocean. Remember on some breezy days on the ocean where the cheap plywood rudder blade would flex. The Super Snark was replaced with a Laser in 1979. The Super Snark was given to a cousin who, after moving to as Sunfish, passed it along to another family. Another cousin during this time period (late 1970's) had a Sea Devil.

Here's a picture of a Super Snark (not my boat but identical).

584100096_SuperSnark.png

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Had a Super Snark as a kid in San Diego My parents would drive me down to Mission Bay or Shelter Island and set me off and I would go on some rather large adventures for a Snark

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Two Snark stories:

Stephen Jones wrote a wonderful book called “Drifting” in which Jones and others explore stream rivers sluiceways sewers and bodies of relative clarity in a Snark.  I was a big fan, and one year my family gave me a Snark.  The real one with no skin.  Kim and I attempted to recapitulate some of Jones’ adventures without success.  But I did get the Snark on a plane one afternoon in a Buzzards Bay Sou’wester.  The boat ultimately died when one of my sisters friends did a cannon ball off the wharf and scored a direct hit.

Later. Andy Kostanecki developed the “full race” Sunflower.  A Laser like sleeved rig, shaped foils, hiking straps.  It was not impressively quick, but it was remarkably pleasant and responsive because it was so light.  I enjoyed a very satisfactory afternoon at Association Island ( 76 Olympic Trials) planing around in something that all of the far below the dignity of the competitors.

SHC

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So- is that ABS over foam something that actually lasts? I have to assume it does not or other boat makers might have gone with it for low cost models. 

It's probably hard to repair, eh? Or to know exactly whether water gets into the foam? $1200 for that Mayflower seems out of line b/c of the aging of the skin (I'm guessing it breaks down with time like most plastics). 

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20 hours ago, craigiri said:

So- is that ABS over foam something that actually lasts? I have to assume it does not or other boat makers might have gone with it for low cost models. 

It's probably hard to repair, eh? Or to know exactly whether water gets into the foam? $1200 for that Mayflower seems out of line b/c of the aging of the skin (I'm guessing it breaks down with time like most plastics). 

When it gets dry, it gets brittle and begins to crack and flake.  I had a Lockley Sea Devil made from the same methods (later called the Snark Sea Skimmer) and at about 35 years of age, the ABS was rather brittle and water entered the foam core whenever it was sailed.  Fortunately, the full foam core means that it just gets heavier as it gets waterlogged instead of sinking.

Hull repair wasn't something I tackled on that one, so I can't speak to that.

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6 hours ago, fastyacht said:

Legos are made of ABS.

I assume this is super-thin - it almost looks dipped. I'm going to guess they have a thin sheet or bag they slip over the foam and then use vaccum and heat and/or adhesives to bond it. I've never seen one but my assumption is that ABS is super thin.

I checked - it looks like all the new boats use that system - which is fine....if it lasts 15 or 20 years.

It does mean people may not want the older versions unless they are very cheap or free!

 

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My dad bought me a new Sea Snark in the late 60's (UK). It introduced me to sailing and so I look back with fond memories. Sure, you wouldnt want to go far from the beach in one, but it got me out on the water. Some may scoff at it - but then it was responsible for many people learning to sail, so thats not wrong at all. Its nice to see this as a thread of its own :-)

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On 4/15/2021 at 12:27 PM, ttc546 said:

My dad bought me a new Sea Snark in the late 60's (UK). It introduced me to sailing and so I look back with fond memories. Sure, you wouldnt want to go far from the beach in one, but it got me out on the water. Some may scoff at it - but then it was responsible for many people learning to sail, so thats not wrong at all. Its nice to see this as a thread of its own :-)

I'll never forget dad before we took the Snarks out - he's lick his finger and hold it up in the air to determine wind direction. Haven't seen a sailor do that since......we use flags and weather reports these days- 0r vanes, etc. 

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On 4/14/2021 at 7:38 PM, craigiri said:

I assume this is super-thin - it almost looks dipped. I'm going to guess they have a thin sheet or bag they slip over the foam and then use vaccum and heat and/or adhesives to bond it. I've never seen one but my assumption is that ABS is super thin.

 

 

From my memory, the ABS (at least on a Super Snark) was about 1/16" thick (1.5875 mm). It was firmly attached to the styrofoam core but not sure how. There was a black vinyl "rub rail" at the "hull" to "deck" joint. 

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Yea.   My first solo sail.  7 years old.   Turkeyfoot lake OH.   Many, many many boats since then.    But...partly in tribute...  Last year I bought a Snark Sail from sailboatstogo to rig an outrigger modified Michicraft aluminum canoe.   It rips on the reach.

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My dad recalled a snark story years ago when he was young and they loaded a pair of them up with cousins and friends and headed out into the Severn. Of course they overloaded them and had a few move up to the bow, which promptly snapped off of one close hauled in moderate chop. They then surreptitiously towed/paddled it back home, got it back into the shack and decided to repair it rather than face the wrath of my grandfather and his brother. Apparently they did a fairly decent job since neither adult noticed the massive damage at first glance and it lasted long enough for my grandfather to get into middle of the Severn before everything went pear shaped the next time it was taken out. 

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My brother and I got a used one back in the 70s.  I kept mine at college for a while, could easily carry it upstairs to my dorm room.  I could fit a young lady in with me if we both snuggled up sideways:-) My brother used to sail it fully swamped like a mobile hot tub during hot summer days.  Made a new sail out of Kmart nylon using the old one as a pattern.  My mother hauled it to the dump because the plastic cracked, it might have even had a hole through it.  I was upset, it was styrofoam, who cared about a hole?  Best fun for the buck boat I’ve ever had.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wildflower Snark - this one for sale on Craigslist - but since boats come and go here are some pics.

No doubt that is a nice boat for a picnic out on the river.

https://providence.craigslist.org/boa/d/woonsocket-snark-wildflower-sailboat/7311795788.html

(I wouldn't pay that for it - but I understand the trailer has some value). 

 

 

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Super Snark - stored indoors - this looks like the basic boat but the upgrade to the plastic covered hull. Nice that it still has the logos and plate on it.

Still not gonna spend $400. $200.....I'd go for it just to have one and brag about it. 

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