Posted by: wrmcnutt | June 3, 2009

A New Direction: Back to The Beginning


Not mine, but same model  (Just like the motorcycle!)

Not mine, but same model (Just like the motorcycle!)

When I was a boy – when I was very, very young, my father took it into his head to get a sailboat.  Mind you, he came by it honestly.  Back in those days, small craft safety was part of what the American Red Cross taught as a part of it’s water safety program.  In general, the Red Cross trained folks on Sunfish, possibly the most ubiquitous sailboats around, and that, at the tender age of seven, was what I got my training on. 

But in those days, there wasn’t money to spend on things like sailboats, and a new Sunfish cost over $1000.00.  But the good news was that both Mom and Dad smoked like chimneys!  Yes, good news, because in spite of our home and both cars stinking unto the very throne of God, and Mom’s later death from emphysema, Kool cigarettes was giving away a sailboat, if you had enough cigarette packages.  Tragically, there are no photos from those days.  But here’s a picture from a Random Stranger who had a similar experience.

 There was, of course, a delay.  I love my father dearly, but there is no task that is so simple that he doesn’t want to complicate it by adding a step.  He wanted to coat it with fiberglass.  This was actually was a pretty good idea.   You see, the Sea Snark was made of “styrofoam.”  Actually, we’re supposed to say “extruded polystyrene foam.” If you say “styrofoam,” the Dow Chemical copyright brigade will send you a nasty letter.  Fortunately, I only have 12 readers, and none of them works for Dow.  But I digress, anyway, my sister and I would have destroyed the stryofoam hull in a single season.   I shudder at the abuse it got.

In any case, I have been working in and around my Dad’s property more lately, and in his basement I discovered the hull of our old Sea Snark. It’s been around fourty years and the hull is still sound.  So I’ve decided to try to put it back into service.  The catch is that I have to be done messing with it by next Wednesday.  Thursday morning I leave for the Lilies War.  And there’s a lake there.

So – there are two parts that I can’t get at Home Depot, or other places locally:  the sail, and the gudgeon assembly.  The sail should be self-explanatory, but the gudgeon assembly is what attaches the rudder to the hull. Everything else is a matter of electrical conduit, plywood, ropes, and screws.  Believe it or not, there’s a place where you can order Sea Snark replacement parts.  So I’ve done so.  I’ve requested 2 day shipping as of Tuesday, so hopefully I’ll have my sail and gudgeon here by Friday. Monday at the latest.  I can get most of the work done before those parts even arrive.  Everything but finishing the hull.  Dad’s fiberglass lamination never got painted.  And it’s butt-ugly.  40  years of getting beaten up has not added to the aesthetics.  It’s very late in the season to be starting a project for Lilies.  Wish me luck. Watch this space for updates.

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Responses

  1. I thought there was a rule about “no starting a project less than one month before an event” or something like. Some wise Laurel posted a while back. Advice to new Laurels or some such.

    Or maybe I dreamed it?

    anyway, I learned to sail on a sunfish too. At summer camp. about a million years ago.

  2. I remember that boat! First time I ever saw a sailboat up close was with you. It gave me the confidence to take it up in San Diego and again in Bremerton. I even got to sail once in Bermuda but we capsized and the captain abandoned the boat in the harbor and left me to save myself.

    • That’s right, you did. MAN that was long time ago. Those were great times, were they not? I remember that on a Saturday, we could lug the boat down to the sewage plant and put in at the bottom of Sorrento Boulevard, and sail the length of Otranto, to the Condominiums. We’d put in, walk around for a few minutes, and then sail back. I seem to recall that it wouldn’t take more than about a half day. We always went that way, rather than explore the reservoir because if we lost the wind, we could walk out to Otranto Blvd and hike home. Any other direction would have had us stuck. Looking back, I wish we’d picked out every cove and hollow on the reservoir over the years. I did sail down to the damn once, but I’m pretty sure you were moved away by then. A couple of buddies put in a canoe below the damn and paddled up. We met them at the dam and helped them portage over it. Then we all went back up to Otranto and played Dungeons and Dragons and did an overnight. We escorted them back to the dam the next day, if I recall correctly.

      The hull is the same ugly yellow, except where somebody, I suspect me, slapped a coat of latex enamel house paint on it. It has, of course flaked off, leaving a scabrous mess behind it. Right now it is one ugly hull. I’m thinking of re-glassing it. That would take time I don’t have, but I never did get that boat right back in the day. If I’m gonna mess with it . . .

  3. […] I don’t know much about owning boats yet, as my previous boating experience has been with overgrown beach toys. But I was pretty sure that using a boat with Virginia numbers in Tennessee would, in some way, cause […]


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