Builders' Forum Archives
Posted by Terry Mcadams on Oct 12, 2004
I learned to sail in the 50s as a small boy in a 1920s- vintage sneakbox on, of all places, Barnegat Bay. Cedar over oak frames with bronze fasteners and hand-forged bronze fittings. My Dad also used it for duck hunting in the winter near Waretown, NJ. Wonderful little boat for its amazing versatility and pretty good speed. Had bronze-capped ice runners on the bottom and a canvas sail that had to be dried on the boat or lugged home to dry in the garage (HEAVY!).
I don't have time to google around to find the sites, but a few places you may look are the Noyse (sp?)Museum, near Tuckerton, NJ, as well at the Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties historical societies. The NJ State Museum in Trenton has done some exhibits with "sneaks". If Tuckerton, and/or Toms River, NJ have historical societies, they might be helpful also.
The Egg Harbor Yacht Club in Beach Haven, NJ used to maintain a racing fleet of vintage sneakboxes. Not sure if they still do, but an older member may have some info for you, and a member may have done some architectural drawings at some point. The Toms River Yacht club may have raced them also.
Probably not the easiest boat to build in cedar, as the planks are numerous and narrow over steam- bent ribs. The little elliptical transoms are wonderful! They still make 'em for hunting, but in plywood (the newer ones I've seen, anyway). My guess is that locating plans for plywood construction should be easiest.
By way of nostalgia, the boat I had was one of the earlier ones built by a guy named Conklin in Parkertown, NJ (just north of Tuckerton). In 1955, my Dad commissioned him to build an 18' garvey (another Barnegat Bay indigenous craft). By then, Conklin was at least 70, but still cutting and drying his own white cedar in the local forests of the Pine Barrens and forging his own fittings. My Dad, a writer and maybe a bit more observant than some folks, liked to go over and visit and work with Conklin during construction just to watch him work. No plans for this guy, and rarely a tape measure, or so my Dad said, as he had the plans in his head for a variety of sneaks, garveys, punts and skiffs. All of his boats that I knew were tight as a drum once the cedar swelled and sailed beautifully. Some of the large (30-foot) garveys he built for Prohibition rum-running still exist as cottages on Long Beach Island and its surrounds.
So good luck with your plans hunt. A pre-launch photo would be appreciated.
In Response to: Plans by Brian Henry on Oct 10, 2004