|1960 Sea Snark with Kool cigarette sail logo|
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Four Generations Sailing a Sea Snark
When I was twelve I scraped together all the money I had made from yard work, doing piecework in my Dad's machine shop, and anything else I could scrounge and bought a sailboat--a Sea Snark, then in it's first incarnation (1960) and I've kept it ever since. My Dad taught me the basics, but soon was sailing solo. The original Snark had an unprotected hull made of expanded polystyrene ("Styrofoam") with a plastic sail and a very flimsy plywood rudder that lasted only two summers. The plastic sail was soon replaced with a red and white nylon sail bought from the manufacturers. That's me on the far left, peeking around the sail, at age twelve.
I sailed it on Clark Lake in Michigan for most of my growing-up years. The centerboard was lost and replaced with one made from marine plywood scrounged from the garage. It didn't see much use during my college days until the summer of my Junior year. I had my wife-to-be (then girl friend) up to visit. We had sailed it to the far West end of the lake and practically becalmed when my Dad arrived in his Aztec and buzzed the house to let us know to pick him up in Napoleon. Kathy was not pleased to meet her future father-in-law looking wind-blown and red-faced. After we were married a few years Kathy sewed up the blue and yellow sail to replace the now-shredded red and white sail.
When I joined the staff of Campus Crusade in 1974 and moved to Florida, I took the Sea Snark with us. We sailed it in Tampa bay and Daytona Beach. Once while sailing peacefully across Tampa Bay a dugong surfaced and exhaled noisily right next to us, scaring us well into the next century. We move to Indiana in 1976, then California in 1980 where we began to sail on Mission Bay in San Diego and Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains. This picture shows me sailing with Josh at about age three.
I recently made a new sail from my old hang glider and we tried it out on Mission bay recently. It was bordered with 1" webbing that was sewn into the boom/spar edges of the sail. Where they cross they were sewn together and a brass grommet inserted. The stainless steel hinge bolt (between the boom and spar) runs through this grommet and anchors the sail. The opposite ends of the webbing are anchored to the boom and spar with hose clamps. Small holes melted every foot along the length of the edges allow nylon cable ties to fix the sail to the boom and spar leaving the aluminum entirely visible.