Monday, July 20, 2009

Sea Snark Stories; John Z

Follow on to my Sea Snark thread . Who would have thought the Sea Snark was such an utility boat! Received from John Zseleczky, naval architect;

Rod mentioned that there are a host of people out there with fond memories of their Sea Snarks. I’m one of them. Actually I’ve owned two, both given to me. Did anyone ever pay for a Sea Snark? My first Snark was used for about five years until it blew off the dinghy rack in a big storm. At that time I was under the misguided impression that someone might try to steal it so I had a lock and wire rope running through the daggerboard trunk and around the rack. In the big winds the wire ended up cutting my boat in half – into bow and stern sections. It seemed like a big job to cut up the rest of the boat for the dumpster so instead I gooped up the break with epoxy and sawdust. That became a main structural member and the boat went back in service for another four or five years.

These things really stink as sailboats with their tiny spars, itty bitty boards, lack of freeboard, etc but they excel in lots of other areas. Here are a few things I’ve put my Sea Snarks through:

  • Yacht tender – hundreds of miles running back and forth to the boat on the mooring using a double paddle
  • Mushroom anchor barge – loaded a 200 lb mushroom and lots of heavy chain in the old Snark, swam it out to the prescribed location and flipped it over; presto!
  • Jumbo cooler – Terri and I had a wedding party at our community beach; I had two Snarks then, one served as the cooler for ice and beverages and one went up on the table with ice in the bottom to keep the buffet cold
  • Pool toy – kids love to play king of the hill, flip each other over, etc
  • Dinghy rack hoist – my Snark was on the bottom shelf of our dinghy rack during hurricane Isabel. The storm surge that followed brought the water level 8’ above normal. My Snark refused to stay underwater and lifted the whole dinghy rack up.
  • Rowing shell – after my second kid was born I was broke but had visions of building a rowing shell. I built a pair of hollow-shaft basswood Piantedosi-type oars but the rowing shell never got built. Instead, I built a sliding seat rig with outriggers and plopped it in the Sea Snark. This thing flew! I rowed all up and down the Severn with it, including a trip around St. Helena’s Island with my 18 month daughter napping in the stern sheets.

True Sea Snark connoisseurs scoff at the idea of encapsulating styrofoam cooler material in plastic. The plastic coated ones never lasted long anyway. Does anyone know the true lineage of the Sea Snark. I’m convinced it’s a 25 lb miracle of naval architecture and would love to hear about its origin. Einstein said “make everything as simple as possible but not simpler” … maybe the Sea Snark was one of his ideas.

– John Z

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