Super Snark Sailboat

Super Snark Sailboat - Aft port view
Super Snark Sailboat - Aft port view

I just bought this sailboat, an 11′ Super Snark. I’ve wanted to learn to sail for a few years—this seemed like the perfect sailboat with which to start. It is purportedly unsinkable and very stable. The ABS clad EPS foam hull certainly seems very durable and indeed, could not possibly sink even if completely swamped.

I had it out for the first time this weekend and had a fantastic time. This was my very first time sailing, but I found the boat quite easy to handle – the basic sailing instructions I’ve read were enough to get me underway with this small sailboat. With a little ‘effort’ I was even able to capsize the Super Snark and shortly thereafter learn how easy it is to right this boat. I’ll save the details of that story for another time.

After the first trip out I realized that all the wood parts – rudder, tiller, keel, transom – needed some attention. The marine plywood rudder was delaminating, and though it would be simple to cut a new one, I thought it might be worthwhile to repair it. After gluing and clamping the rudder in several places, I sanded and varnished all of the wood parts.

I also plan on painting the outside of the hull – navy blue. I’ll keep the white gunwhale and medium blue bumper as is. This motif should work nicely with then existing blue-white-blue-white striped sail and equally well with an Egyptian cotton colored sail I’d like to have.

Super Snark Links

Want a New Snark Sailboat?

I was surprised to learn that Snark sailboats are still being made – not only the Super Snark, but also the Sea Skimmer, Sunflower, and others. If you don’t have the time or inclination to repair an older boat, a shiny new Snark is still a relatively affordable way to start sailing. Here are a few links to the best prices available through Amazon.

Rigging the Super Snark

Super Snark sail: detail of head grommet and stay
Super Snark sail: detail of head grommet and stay

More Snark Upgrades

Splash Deck – I am planning to sail in the bay at Stone Harbor, New Jersey in late September. It can get choppy there – and while the summer boat traffic will have diminished I have yet to deal with the wake of a decent sized powerboat. The splash deck covers the area of the otherwise open hull from the mast step forward to the bow, shedding water the boat might take on from chop and wake. Coming over the bow. I am nearing completion of a wooden splash deck and I am excited about my design and the results. I will post photos and detail soon.
Boom Vang – Provide downward tension on the boom for better sail shape and to minimize ‘bounce’. Use the free end of the halyard through the gooseneck of the boom and back to the cleat.

Traveller – create a bridle using a short length of line between the two screw eyes on the inside of the transom, leaving enough slack in the line to come up and over the tiller with clearance. Thread a small block on the bridle before fastening the line on the eyes. Then the tack end of the main sheet is secured to the dead eye of the block allowing the tack to travel along the bridle.


Tiller Tamer – Loop a short bungee cord around the tiller and connect to the screw eyes on the inside of the transom. This should exert just enoungh tension on the tiller to bring the rudder back to center when the tiller is released.

Daggerboard Retainer – attach on or two screw eyes into a small plywood plate on the stern end of the daggerboard trunk. From these eyes, run a bungee cord around the aft edge of the daggerboard. Pulling on the bungee allows the daggerboard to be raised or lowered – releasing it should hold the board in any vertical position.

Kickup Rudder – Design and make a two-piece rudder to replace the old one-piece rudder, allowing for easy beaching of the sailboat.

82 thoughts on “Super Snark Sailboat”

  1. I just bought my first sailboat, a 1972 Sea Snark. It has the ABS coating but is bubbling and cut in places. Is this something I will need to replace and cover with fiberglass or is there and easier way to eliminate the bubbling and fix the small cuts everywhere. Not opposed to the fiberglass and it will have a great finish – just don’t have any clue what it’d be doing. Doesn’t look terribly hard to do though. Thank you for any help.

    P.S. This is a great forum, thank you very much for creating it. Lots of great help, ideas and information.

  2. Am I the only person in the world to own Snark Mayflower??? Mine needs some minor hull repairs, but its a wonderful boat. I am “older” and cannot handle the heavier boats, so this boat is great for me.
    I am wondering if anyone has made a pvc trolley for a 90# (without rigging) boat? I am thinking something with a sling in the rear? I plan to use larger all plasitc wheels, but the design is making me nuts. In the past have used a prebuilt hand cart with wood handle extensions, but now I want the stern at the rear of the trolley and that is the problem….suggestions?
    Also, when you painted did you remove the rubrail and what was that like???

    I Love this site! Thanks!

  3. Marci, not sure if you are still out there, but my dad is trying to repair the hull on our Mayflower, which we’ve been sailing on a small pond for years. He is 86 now. Years ago it smashed against a tree (the wind picked it up) and snapped in half. He repaired it at the time, but over the years it has taken on water, with a particular crack around the centerboard well. This summer he removed part of the skin and patched some of the holes in the foam with sections he created from an old styrofoam beach board. He also plans to build up the well internally. Not sure when he’ll be able to finish. I miss it dearly! I’ve tried buying a new hull for him in the past but could never find any for sale.Happy sails to you.

  4. I can’t help you, except to say that, yes, someone else once owned and enjoyed the Snark Mayflower from 1974-1978. I used to carry it on my back over the rocks at Folly Cove on Cape Ann, Massachusetts each time we wanted to sail. My wife is writing a memoir of an one hour Gilligan’s Island sail that four of us took across Ipswich Bay in gentle swells . By the time we reached Plum Island seven hours later, they had turned into 10 foot breakers. Yes, a wonderful boat, so sturdy for being only a piece of foam and plastic. I found your post because my wife didn’t believe it was called a Mayflower, and I had began to believe our little Mayflower never existed. Do you have any pix? Love to see one again.

  5. I just acquired an old super snark – no sail, rudder or daggerboard. I got it to learn to sail. I had read that this was the way to go and I thought I got a great deal – $40. However, I am now concerned – the thing is a lot more than 50 lbs. it took my husband and I a lot of effort to lift and slide into our van. Someone suggested water issues? Could there be a heavier model out there?. This has some kind of coating over the styrofoam. any thoughts to help me figure out whether to invest more money into parts.

  6. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a
    sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside
    and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

    My web blog: Golf Star Hack Download (Irwin)

  7. Dear all, how nice to found you all in the www. My Sunflower hull is delaminating arround the dagger board. Does someone have ideas and experiance in how to fix this?
    Thank you so much.
    Is there a overview of serial-numbers available, that will tell the year of manufacture?

  8. Last fall I saw a Sea Snark at a thrift shop and got it for $65. A small hole in the sail but serviceable. A busy spring / summer but finally got my chance to sail two days ago. Wow what a rush. I went out in 3 mile/hour wind and gradually increasing to 5. The wind was was fluky and changing direction and after 2 1/2 hours this old guy at 69 was bushed. Looking at videos and instructions for rigging the main sheet I could see many versions. I saw one photo with a traveller. I wondered about needing a hiking strap but wondered if the hull might crack in half. Reading here about a bow splash. My idea is to keep the boat light so I will not add anything slick to the styrofoam. I think I should graduate to a bigger boat for such niceties. Going sailing alone on this craft is the way to go and encourage others to club for racing. This Sea Snark and some lawn mower racing. Retirement is great. Thanks to all to you who have suggested repairs and improvements to this newbie.

  9. Wow…happened to come across this site and am glad to have found it.
    I purchased a Snark back in 1972. It had been stored in my parent’s garage and now that I have a cottage on a lake, I am going to restore it. I need to replace the sail for mice have wrecked havoc to the old one. In 1972, I fiber-glassed the bottom and that needs to be repainted, will decide on a color once I decide on he sail. I need to do a little repair for a mouse nest in the bottom had caused some damage. I think I have all the parts. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the thread. Hard to believe it has been 42 years…

  10. Snagged an older Snark from neighborhood group site (!) and been out three times so far – is great!

    Two questions:

    1) I want to fortify hull – Snark people suggested using 2 part epoxy, but NOT marine grade (will melt the styrofoam) – any suggestions on a decent, but reasonable option and how much it takes to do the whole hull?

    2) The third time we went out, my son and I were going pretty fast but maybe because we were causing a bit of waves (?) the boat suddenly filled with water – less than a minute. Yikes! I had to bail like a madwoman (once the water is higher than the centerboard hole it is pretty hard!!). I need to make a splash guard – can you post a pic of the one you made? So many thanks!!

  11. What do you do when you’re on the water, swilling and you need to put the sail down? I have a super Snark. The sail does not come down at all and in very windy conditions, this could be dangerous.


  12. I am coming late to the party here, but just retired and am determined to get my “freebie” 1969(?) Mayflower in the water. I had to buy a new sail for it because the one on it was roached. Is there somewhere I can see a diagram to show this newbie how to properly rig this little boat? Thanks in advance!

  13. I have found an excellent repair for styrofoam to the plastic hull. I fixed the centerboard trunk works excellent. It’s called 5200 from 3M, very messy but works great an won’t harm styrofoam. I got it at Home Depot, an it’s not cheap. $14.00 a tube.

  14. I have a 11′ Snark Sunflower in my garage (it was left by the home’s previous owner). It looks in great shape, as if it rarely saw the water!
    If anyone has an interest in purchasing, please contact me. I’d be happy to send pictures to anyone interested.
    Alan 215.630.9508
    Newtown, Pa

  15. Super Snarks are being sold on here;

    Here is a new video of my granddaughter sailing a Super Snark:

    This page has links to 3 videos of the larger Snark, the Sunchaser.

    This page has the history of the brand:

    This gadget makes the mast taller so you get more headroom under the boom:

  16. I have a super snark. we stored it in a storage unit for a number of years. but my dad back in the 80s took 4 inch PVC and put two screw fittings on the ends and created a tube to protect the sail during transport and storage.

  17. Hey! I just got a Snark Sea Skimmer off of craigslist for just a few dollars. The Hull is in pretty bad shape (lots of duct tape patches) and the deck has some cracking i’m sure from age. It is in one piece tho and all of the pieces parts are there. Any suggestions on where i should get started on repairing the Hull? Products, techniques?


  18. Hello,
    I also just purchased a Super Snark and have repaired the
    hull, a few dents and cracks with PC-11. Going to sand it a bit and then paint it. The original color is red but I may want to change it. Just wondering how the Krylon Fusion paint held up.
    I also think the Navy blue would be beautiful! Enjoying learning from fellow sailors!

  19. Hey all –

    I just did a Super Snark restoration in August and September. There is a yahoo user’s group for Snark sailboat owners which is active and helpful.

    I have a photo album there showing my restoration from a hull that sat in the weeds for years to a fun and portable sailboat. Good luck!

  20. Hey I was wondering all the dimensions of the Rudder and dragger Board? I received a super snark in excellent condition for free. it just doesn’t have mast sail dragger board or rudder and I plan on making most of it my self any help or suggestions will be appreciated! New to sailing so be easy on me! Thanks again!

  21. I’m about to buy a very old snark, the unclad Kool cigarette version.
    Has anyone had any problems with these, as far as the hull breaking or getting waterlogged, etc.?

  22. Does anyone know what happen to the Snark Sailboat Owners Yahoo Group? I just bought a Sunflower. I have joined, but being a restricted group, its been more than a week and I have not heard back. I also tried to go to the group website and it is not working. ( What I wanted to know is: Has anyone set up a jib on a Sunflower? How did it work? How it was done? Thanks.

  23. I have a 1972 Kool Snark. Smoked Kools to have required cartons and $99.00 to buy it.
    We did an amateur fiberglass job on it in 1972 but it has served the family well on lake and beach adventures.
    Would like to sell it. Any takers?Contact cbrittain47

  24. What a treasure trove of information!

    First of all, if anyone knows of a Snark Mayflower for sale in the eastern half of the US, please contact me. I will come and buy it.

    Second, yes, the Snark Mayflower did exist. They discontinued them in…maybe 1979? Or in the 1980s?

    My Uncle bought one in the late 1970s and had it at his lake cabin in Minnesota. I learned to sail on it in the late 1980s. I sailed it off and on for years when I was up there in the summer. It was a wonderful boat, simple to sail, and basically impossible to capsize. I sailed it one time for the first time in like 10 years in 2011. I have a blog post about it here:
    Not a year after that, possibly that summer, it was apparently beyond repair and my uncle cut it up and threw it away.

    The Mayflower hull (and some of the other Snark boats too) is a styrafoam core with a plastic outer shell. Having talked to people, apparently it’s generally fine if you keep it indoors when it’s not on the water. If you leave it outside all the time, however, the plastic will eventually develop cracks and let water in. My uncle had repaired it with fiberglass several times but finally just couldn’t keep up with it. When it cut it apart water poured out of the voids in the hull.

    There is, by the by, a supplier in Europe that sells them. The Snark supplier in the US says that they will not ship them to the US, and the company is uninterested in resurrecting the design.

    I would love to make one myself. There are drawings around. I could almost do it with photos and dimensions memory. I think cutting the shape out of styrafoam wouldn’t be too terribly hard; I’d then have to figure out how to make the hard outer shell. Fiberglass? Maybe carbon fiber is cheap enough nowadays?

    If you’re looking for information on it, here’s a great resource:
    It’s a collection of Snark product assembly manuals. It includes discontinued products like the Mayflower:

    Craig Steffen

  25. I have a 1972 Sea Snark for sale. It’s in great condition & only used 4 times since refiberglassed. It’s to heavy for top of my new car

  26. Just acquired a snark mayflower for 40 bucks. Out of the shark models, I have struggles to find much for any info on the mayflower specifically…anyone else own one?? The ABS had gouges and cracks that we have been working to repair. Where the rubber molding strip attaches, there is silicone or similar product that was used to seal the seam and it’s a real bear to remove. Anyone have any suggestions on what we can use to make it easier that will be safe to the foam and ABS? Think we could just cut a 2in strip off all the way around on both the inside and outside ABS peices and use fiberglass cloth or something to replace that area? I appreciate any input. Thanks.

  27. Anyone tried fitting a 55 f sail (with adj to mast etc) to the supersnark? Any info on this? Stability?

  28. Hi John G – I was wondering the same thing! I’ve just come upon one of the ABS-clad supersnarks and was curious about sail surface area upgrades. Are you still around, and did you try anything with any success?

  29. I just purchased a 1989 super snark and am painting and restoring. Bought a beautiful new sail from sailboatstogo. will sail and post pics next week when I can figure out how to post them

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