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. Hello Ian,
    Nice Super Snark.
    I just purchased Super Snark today of $150, needs alot of TLC.
    did you paint the hull yet? If so, what type of paint?
    Brushed or sprayed?

  2. Congratulations on your super snark acquisition!

    I did paint the boat. Usually I do more research on a project like this, but this time I didn’t. Instead I poked around the paint department at my local hardware store until I found myself in front of the Krylon Fusion display. I have no reasons to believe this paint should work on a boat, but I didn’t feel like waiting to have something mixed and must admit I had seen a few compelling ads for the product. ‘Fuses’ with plastic. Durable for exterior surfaces. They have a navy blue, so I though it might be worth a shot.

    At 25 sq ft per can I thought 4 cans might do it. After carefully taping off the gunwhale and transom I went at it with the spray. Two cans into it I thought the blue was much brighter than navy. I let it sit for maybe an hour and hit it with two more cans. After that I had a solid even color, but it was more cobalt than navy. So back to the store I went to buy three more cans.

    A few hours and two cans – for a total of six – later I decided to let it go for the night. The boat sat for a day and a half after that before I put it in the water. After two hours of sailing I rubbed my hand below the waterline, fully expecting to come up with flakes, globs of paint resin, or at least blue fingertips. None of those things happened. Later I scraped a submerged stump – albeit at a low speed. I called it quits after four hours in the water, stopped, cartopped the boat and went home.

    The sailboat looked virtually the same coming out of the water as it did going in – the paint looked great and seems to have bonded well with the ABS shell. The only scrape I could find probably happen when I took the boat out of the water – and that was very minor. The texture of the Super Snark hull – a reticulated pattern of narrow peaks and smooth valleys – takes paint nicely and when scraped leaves only the slender peaks of hull texture are exposed. This means that only the most serious abrasions are apparent, which is important if you are aiming for a dark color.

  3. Can’t say enough nice things about Fusion paint. Only used 5 cans on the free Sea Snark we got July 5th. Currently working on the slightly delaminating rudder and keel etc. Am currently trying to decide on water-based polyurethane or the solvent type polyurethane – opinions? Would it be possible to post a close-up of the top of the sail?
    I have patched a large section and just can’t commit to where to place the ‘grommet’..

    I enjoyed your post, as we too will be teaching ourselves on a small Illinois lake. I hope to have acquired the eye-patch and single gold hoop earring by Labor Day. Too ambitious?

  4. @Kris Pirates in Illinois! I’ve used ZAR marine varnish on the rudder, tiller, keel, and mast step. A little ‘drippy’, but leaves a very nice finish. Unfortunately, my repair of the rudder didn’t hold up as well as I hoped. Water infiltrated and again delaminated the plywood a bit. The exterior wood glue I used to bond the veneer is not the best choice – an epoxy would be better, I’m sure. It’s also really important to seal the cut edge – the end grain – of the plywood with varnish, as that is where water is most likely to get in.

    I’ve now sailed the Snark three times with the new Krylon Fusion hull paint – perhaps 12 hours on the water. I am very impressed with the paint. Even got a few comments from fellow boaters on how beautiful this little boat is. The navy color is classic and stately.

    I will try get a picture of the leech and clew grommets next time I unfurl the sail. Stay tuned. Happy sailing!

  5. @Kris you said you have a Sea Snark, which I think lacks an ABS plastic shell offered by the Super Snark. So if I understand correctly, you were able to succesfully paint the Sea Snark’s foam hull with Fusion paint. That’s cool! Most aerosol paints (petroleum based, anyway) would react with EPS foam – ultimately dissolving the foam.

  6. I am also VERY interested in knowing how to paint the interior of my snark. I just bought a VERY old one (model 100 sea snark) that really needs the inside cleaned up.
    I would love to paint it white but am not sure what to use to avoid a problem. I’ve heard that Krylon H2O™ Latex is good for styrofoam but I’m not sure it will hold up to sitting in the boat. I don’t want it coming off on my clothing. Also, what “snark” forums do people belong to that I might join? Thanks!

  7. @Doug I’ve never used Krylon H2O. As long as it doesn’t have a petroleum solvent – which a water based spray should not have – I think it would work okay on EPS foam. How well the finish holds up to water and wear I can’t say. Please post here if you try it!

    I’m not aware of any Snark-specific forums; that’s partly why I started this page. Considering how many of these boats were made, there must be many people out there who have a beat up old Snark in their garage, or who just bought one at a yard sale. There are lots of sites about small sailboats in general – and of course many of the ISAF classes have websites. Not so for the Snark.

  8. Hello, I found this site by doing in image search of snark sailboats on google. I just wanted to reply to admin in the last. Not to chase anyone away from here but there are a couple of sites that may interest you. Yahoo has a forum “snarksailboat” with 500+ members and is a good resource. I think you need a yahoo email to join but what the heck its free and you don’t have to use the email.

    Also try This one is new and there is not a lot of traffic but it appears someone has started an official association for the snark and there are even class rules for racing.

    I sailed a lot in high school but that was years ago. I bought a Super Snark two years ago. I don’t get to go out as much as I’d like but now my kids are getting old enough to want to go with me so hopefully we will get out more often

    It seems like the activity about Snarks is growing pretty well on the web . two years ago there wasn’t that much. Anyways, happy sailing. Enjoy your snarks. It is the best fun I’ve had in such a simple machine.

  9. @Chad

    Thanks for the links. I just joined the Snark Sailboats Yahoo! Group, and added a link to it in the article above.

  10. Saw your link on the yahoo group. I bought a Sunflower for $50.00 off Craigslist a couple of weeks ago. I got the daggerboard and rigging from another person on Craigslist. It is the old wood style rudder like yours. They must predate 1980 because my 80 Sunflower had the plastic gudgeon mounted for the new style rudder. I do prefer the look of the 1/2 inch mahogany plywood. I had some delamination too. The best fix is a West Epoxy repair kit. It’s very easy to use and is not smelly. I have another boat so I went ahead and bought a lot of the stuff. I squirted epoxy between the delaminated layers and clamped them over night. I sanded the wood clean with 80 grit sand paper (using a mouse sander it goes fast) and brushed all sides and edges of the wood with epoxy. You can thin it slightly with paint thinner but I didn’t need to. It dries over night very hard and I had some runs. You then sand it with 100 -150 grit and apply two or more coats of Captains Spar varnish. Poly is not a good choice for boats. The method I described is what is used to refinish the mahogany on old wood boats and results in the mile deep finish. Maybe it’s overkill for a Snark but I’ve had fun doing it. I’m in the varnish process and will set up a photo file on the Yahoo group when I finish. I also used West to fill the minor bruises on the hull and painted with the Fushion in an off white satin finish. It does look very nice and seems to have bonded well.

  11. @Arlo

    Eager to see your Snark photos, Arlo. I appreciate the epoxy tip, too. The first time around, I just worked with materials already available in the house; but I think the next rudder repair will be with epoxy.

    Incidentally, I have been thinking about making a kick-up rudder out of mahogany plywood – one that would fit my old-style gudgeon. Anyone tried this? (Meanwhile, I’ll go check the Yahoo group.)

  12. I thought I’d follow up with you on my painting experience. I used a latex bin on the inside of my boat to cover only the black epoxy repairs that a prior owner had made. They were really ugly looking. Then I painted the entire inside with one coat of Benjamin Moore extreme satin white paint using a roller. It looks so good! I just hope it holds up and does not come off on me when it gets wet!
    The outside seems to have some sort of fiberglass cover on it already and had been painted a navy blue. It was very dull and very ugly. I went to Walmart and had them mix a navy blue for me with their own interior/exterior enamel latex brand paint. I rollered it with two coats on the outside and it looks GREAT! It was only $8.50 for a quart can and there is enough to do probably two more coats in the future. It’s shiny and clean looking and looks like a completely different boat! Next I’m going to fill some of the large gouges with epoxy and then paint them as well. Ideally I would have done this before the paint job, but I was too exited to see how it would all come out.
    Now as long as the paint stays on the boat, and not in the lake, I’m going to be very happy!
    Thought I’d let you know my experience.

  13. Can you explain exactly what kind of epoxy I can purchase to fill some holes in my snark without damaging the styrofome? And also should i just sand it down and paint? Or put a fiberglass patch over it?

  14. Nice site! we bought our super snark a couple years ago for $100 and love it. it’s the one with the plastic that covers the hull.

    the only problem i see right now is that it seems to have water inside the plastic somewhere as it weighs more than 50lbs. i might have to cut it open and then somehow seal it back up again.

    great site! looking forward to more pics. it seems there’s not enough pics and youtube videos of super snarks on the web.

    Melissa, the castlecraft site has good information on what kind of epoxy can be used that won’t damage the styrofoam.

    it mentions filling hardware holes and voids with epoxy cement so maybe that’s a good starting point. good luck!

  15. Nice to see other people trying to sail 100 dollar boats . In my previous life I owned/sailed larger boats and left it all behind to kitesurf. I just bought a snark 9 ft trimaran called a Triumph. Ancient , beaten up but really excited to sail it , if I like it will also start looking at cleaning it up and restore it. I sent a request to join the snark yahoo group but no reply . How long did you have to wait to get accepted in the group.

    thanks in advance for any tips or inspiration to sail

  16. Just bought a Super Snark for $35 sight unseen. Wish me luck. I will be looking for help and hints.

    Understand I might need a new sail. Comments? Experiences?

  17. I have a Snark Story, We moved to NC two years ago at that time I sold a Snark and Trailer for 800 bucks. I shouldn’t have done it. I missed the little boat and the ease of use it offered. We have a larger boat with a cabin and all the comforts but it needs a crew. SO it was time to get another Snark. I found one on E-bay for almost free. I bought it and discovered that the bottom was cracked and split away from the foam. I removed all the ABS up to the rub rail and used fiberglass cloth and two part marine epoxy (from a company called Clark Craft, highly recommended) Once the bottom was glassed it was painted with polyurethane paint on the bottom and Fusion paint on the topsides. New sail and rigging and I now have a very sturdy albeit heavier boat. I would love to send you a couple of pics. So yes Snarks can be brought back from the dead. Good luck with yours and fair winds. John

  18. Great help from everyone! I’m glad to have found this site. I would love to know someone who has, used a much sorter mast on a Snark and used a smaller sail? I have some shoulder issues and setting mine up alone is not going to be doable for much longer. I know it would throw off the balance, possibly requiring a lot of retrofitting, etc., but am still wondering if it has been done. Also, I really appreciate the pictures you include when you describe what you have done or are doing to your boats. One look at some of the pictures and I can “get” what you mean, whereas the words seem to confuse me. Thanks for any help.

  19. 3 years ago I had a brand new Super Snark, It was a great boat. I sold it because I had a Sunfish, and now there both gone. Im happy to say im about to buy an older Snark for $75…but almost all the material is missing from the bottom, everything else is there. It is nice to know I can fiberglass it and have a sea worthy boat. This was my plan, but until now I didnt know if anyone else had tryed it.

  20. Hi Ian,

    I am not sure if you (or anyone else) checks this site very often…but…I have a question.

    I used to sail a sunfish, and recently purchased a super old fix-up super snark off Craigslist.

    I am lacking a center board, and went to make one with 1/2 ply wood (found dimensions online, and someone said to use 1/2 inch ply).

    But…the centerboard was very “bendy,” and not very stable.

    When I sailed by sunfish, when flipped, we stood on the centerboard to “right” the boat (when it was laying down in the water from taking too much wind etc.)

    I was told you can’t do this with a snark (because the styrofoam can’t take that much pressure?

    You said you were able to right the boat pretty easily. What was your method for doing that??

    Thank you!

  21. Ian – I’ve been experiencing significant inconvenience with chop splashing over the bow of my Snark. I’m wondering what kind of success you had with your bow cover. How did you attach it?

  22. Hi Ron,

    The bow splash guard I made for the Super Snark is a worthwhile addition. I had the boat out in some rather rough conditions last fall and it did keep water out of the boat. It’s also adds a handsome ‘finish’ without seeming overdone. The trick – and this is important – is to build a pointed splash rail just ahead of the mast socket. Mine is only ~1.75 inches high, but it’s enough to shed a good bit of chop.

    I built mine from mahogany lauan with red oak battens to give it some rigidity. Then I applied some 3/8 weather stripping foam to the bottom edge of the piece and secured it to the hull with brass wood screws which I tipped with a bit of marine epoxy. But first, I drilled small pilot hole through the splash deck, marked the gunwhale through those holes, and drilled small pilot holes in the abs plastic of the gunwhale. I sailed and cartopped the boat many times last summer and fall, and the deck is still secure. I should add that my deck completely covers the mast step and the cleats are bolted through both. This makes it pretty darn secure.

    Good luck! Please post here if you go ahead with your splash deck.

  23. Hi Lacy,

    My Super Snark is the kind with ABS plastic cladding on the hull. This serves to make the centerboard trunk fairly rigid, so righting the boat with the centerboard is not much trouble. If your Snark has the expose styrofoam hull, I’m really not sure how it would stand up to that abuse, but I do suspect it van handle more than you think.

    Last time I capsized, the boat swamped and turned turtle – woohoo! completely upside down! – so the centerboard was really the only option. If the boat is on it’s side you might be able to hoist it up by pulling on the halyard with you feet against the hull, gunwhale, or base of the centerboard.

    Happy sailing,

  24. Just bought a Super Snark off of craigslist for $400…it looks almost brand new. I have windsurfed and kayaked, but this is my first sailboat. I could not believe how easy it was to set up and sail. I cannot wait to get this boat out into Bay St. Louis this weekend and see how it handles in more wind and choppier water than the glassy pond I tried today. Thanks for the great story and a place to talk about these awesome and cheap boats. My boat is white and the painting idea sounds intriguing.

  25. Thanks for dropping by, Jim. Watched your video a few days ago; you’ve got some cool toys. I’m particularly interested in the spar extensions and larger sail – 55 sq ft, I think? That’s 22% more air!

  26. After giving away a Snark that may have been a prototype (no serial number) many years ago I was offered one free. It was sitting in a pile of weeds and I asked the owner how much he wanted. He said he wanted me to take it away–free. Well, I never used it but now our son wants to try it. He did use the old one when very young briefly.

    Now I’m trying to “fix” it up which is mostly mending a large crack which probably happened when someone stepped into it just real of the center board slot. I used West Marine epoxy and some quite fine fiberglass cloth. That will work nicely so long as it isn’t applied in thick layers. Epoxy is a chemical curing plastic and not an evaporative cure and there is a good deal of heat generated. If you were to mix it in a EPS cup it will almost certainly melt it. So, if you need to find some big gouges as I did, use some filler to add to the epoxy to keep it from slumping and apply a number of thin layers to manage the heat of cure.

    Now then, HELP! This is an all EPS Snark. What paint can I use to cover up my ugly repairs? I’m told latex based will dissolve the EPS as will many of the oil based paints.

    PS: The Snark may just be the best little boat ever!

  27. Anyone know what a reasonable price to pay for a super snark is right now??? Much older version but comes with sail and all needed equipment in good condition…

  28. Hi Phillip,

    I paid $300 for mine last spring. It is a mid-80s model with the ABS covered hull. It was well cared for and came with mast, spars, original sail, and two rudders and tillers, one with a a tiller extension. I think that was a fair price, but I also hear plenty of folks say they got their Super Snark for a song, i.e., between free and $100.

  29. I bought my super snark at the local thrift store for $40.00 I used to sail with my wife when we we’re still courting/dating, had a cooler with lots of food at the middle section. It was a very sweet time to remember. I sold it before we got married and now we have three kid and I am buying a super snark this week end(used) for the whole family to enjoy!

  30. I just bought my super snark to the tune of $80 and have been making repairs for the last week I have had great luck using bondo glass, bondo resen and great foam spray insulation I hit the lake hopfully tomorow wish me luck

  31. Good luck, Jake. Bondo is cool stuff. I’ve never used it on my boat, but has come in handy with some other projects.

  32. I inherited a snark from my Dad, and it had a horrible accident involving a 12-year old, a pulley and some broken rope… now it is sitting in two pieces in my garage. The stern has separated from the rest of the hull.
    Has anyone had any luck putting a hull back together? This is the original snark from the 1960’s without the plastic outer cover.
    OR, anyone know where I can get a replacement hull cheap? Sail, daggerboard and rudder are all fine.

  33. Oh, wow. That’s too bad.

    I’m sure it’s possible to repair, but you may find it less costly and less frustrating to obtain a used hull. Keep your eye on craigslist and eBay. They’re out there!

  34. I’m sure some of you are gonna think I’m nuts but in addition to sailing I fly (and frequently crash) foam radio-controlled model airplanes.

    My standard repair material is 5-minute epoxy which bonds well with EPS, EPO and other types of foam. Obviously, you would want a substantially longer cure time, but epoxy glue or resin should do the job without a lot of difficulty.

    For filling large gouges, I chop up chunks of foam in a blender to make a foam “powder” and mix it with expoxy. There’s also a product called Microballoons which is used the same way but it’s extremely fine and probably wouldn’t be useful for anything more than small gouges and hollows. It’s also quite expensive. Microballoons instructions say that the more you add to the epoxy, the lighter the weight of the filler but the less strength it has. I use that same concept when filling with the chopped up foam.

    One word of caution: chopping up foam is a messy process and the little foam balls that break out of the larger chunks are very light and tend to float on air currents. I’d recommend using a mask and doing the chopping outdoors. Be sure to keep the top on the blender. Also, static electricity tends to make the little balls cling to things…especially plastics. Most blenter containers are made of plastic and the foam will cling to it. Be sure to clean it well if you plan on using it for chopping and blending food products.

    Also recognize that this will add weight as someone mentioned above. I have an airplane that weighed about 2 1/2 pounds when new which has been flown, crashed and repaired so many times it now weighs about 5 pounds. I’ve had to add a larger motor but it still flies well.

  35. I just finished completely removing all the ABS plastic off of an old 70’s vintage snark and glassing it with Raka Inc. epoxy. I am wondering if anyone else has done this. I’m not sure if I need to put on another coat of epoxy before painting. The Raka epoxy is much cheaper than West epoxy and is so incredibly strong, hard and tough that I don’t worry about the boat taking minor dings.

    Anyway I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for how many coats of epoxy, one seems to be pretty good but can still see the texture of the fiber mat. Also a good marine paint recommend would be nice.

    Love my Sunflower/Snark.

  36. Hello, i just bartered someone for a SuperSnark. I’ve been sailing Sunfishes for years. This little boat is in GREAT shape. I can’t wait to sail it.

  37. I noticed thatthe Snark Sailing Association websites are not up. Anyone know if they are returning? Also, I am about to pick up whta I believe is a SNARK spin off boat. The dimensions, rigging, hull, everything look like a SNARK Sunflower. The only difference is the name FIREFLOWER on the aft end of the splashguard (which even looks like the Sunflower with one on). Any ideas?

  38. I bought a sunflower that has about 1 sq foot of the ABS delaminated around the dagger board. The ABS is not cracked or open, just delaminated. It will sail OK, but I’d like to fix it so it won’t delaminate any further. Any suggestions on how to repair this? Thanks.

  39. My Super Snark hull got taken away by a storm … I found someone online selling a hull for an old Model 100 Sea Snark … does anyone know if my mast, rudder, and dagger board will fit ? … Also please email me directly if you have a super snark hull for sale and live within a 200 mile radius of Long Island …

  40. How is every one doing! I just drove to Tampa from panama city to buy a snark! Then drove right back. All in all 14 hours out of my day! Was it worth it? Definitely! Got there to see a 98 SS with an EQUAL ( sweetener ) sail and decals on both sides of the hull, but even better this boat had never touched the water. I know because I had to put the new in box rudder together! It even came with a bag of two sets of hardware, rigging, ect, an owners manual, instruct. And warranty/ registration slip! I lucked out big time. Even more unbelievable was the price $195! So ya the 12 hour round trip drive was well worth it! I will be sailing this weekend! I do have a question though what is the turn-around time for being accepted in the snark owners group it seems like it is taking for ever to get that email! I hope they let me in! Happy sailing gene in pcb come on down the waters great!

  41. Gene, that is awesome! Congratulations on the new SS, and what a nice deal. Happy sailing!

    I haven’t been active on the owners group, so I’m not sure about the response time. I’m sure some of the other commenters can tell you more.

  42. I recently purchased the hull of a supersnark for 300 on Craigslist. It came with a sail and mast from another boat, but nothing else. Does anyone have a rudder, daggerboard, and the other parts to the hull that I can buy? Or, does anyone know where I could get these parts for cheap?

  43. Learning to sail is one of the most mind expanding exercises one can do. Good to see you have chosen well for your first boat.

    You have to graduate through the classes of boats and not take on a high performance class as your first boat. I have known many who have not gone on with sailing due to the frustration of trying to master the complexities of a performance class.

    When it comes to competitive sailing, someone said it is akin to a chess game on water.

  44. I am still working on my snark boat w/o ABS that I got for free. It needed a lot of hull repair due to being used as a pellet gun target. The best way to fill holes is to use a 2 part epoxy combined with flaked styrofoam. Mash it in to the gap with a putty knife, let it dry, and then sand smooth. This is a crazy mess. I am still trying to figure out the rigging as I am new to sailing.

  45. I have 2 supersnark sailboats I want to sell. Can anyone tell me a decent price? No major cracks or anything, a few filled in dings. Both have all the equipment, the sails are only in fair condition. Thanks.

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