This is a photo of Harold Gilreath’s fiberglass Lofland Snipe #9753 “Texan III”, built in 1954 after SCIRA adopted specifications for fiberglass Snipes.
This is the first “official” (measured) fiberglass Snipe.
Photo from Gilreath family photo albums, courtesy of Hal Gilreath Jr. His Dad Harold Gilreath was 1956 SCIRA Commodore.
This boat was the first production fiberglass Snipe constructed by Francis Lofland (Lofland Co. – later Lofland Sail-Craft Inc., Wichta Kansas USA) with technical assistance and advice by Ted Wells and Harold Gilreath.
For several years after, fiberglass Snipes had to be manufactured using a standard hull mold owned by SCIRA that was used to produce other hull molds. Later, individual builders were allowed to produce their own molds, with certification of measurements by SCIRA measurers. The early Lofland fiberglass Snipes had plywood decks that were often fabricated by the buyer, soon after Lofland introduced fiberglass decks from molds created for production Lofland Snipes.
The whereabouts of Snipe #9753 is unknown and it may no longer exist.
Thanks for the photo.
Please include my grandfather, John Rix, with the team that built the first fiberglass Snipes. He was the head of the tooling department at Cessna and was working a lot with thermoset plastics at the time and invented Cessnite, a resin with a gravel filler. He brought his fiberglass experience to the team. I covered some of this history in my book about Ted Wells; https://www.amazon.com/dp/1942790112. The four, Francis Lofland, Harold Gilreath, Ted Wells, & John Rix partnered together and each got hulls from the mold before Lofland started up Lofland Sail-Craft with it. John’s Hull was #9985. This boat went to my ex-brother in law who neglected it and it’s likely destroyed by now. These boats had wood decks. I don’t know when Lofland Sail-Craft boats added the fiberglass deck that had a small compartment in the back for storage. I was under the impression that all Sail-Craft had fiberglass decks.
Dick Casperi worked for Lofland Sail craft prior to starting Southern Yachts, but I don’t believe he used the Lofland molds. I think he made his own mold off of a Chubasco as his boats had the same fiberlass flaw that the Chubasco’s had at the front of the cockpit deck. He changed molds later, but the new ones weren’t as fast. After Snipes, he built Tornados, RC boats, and hot tubs. He’s still alive here in Wichita and an interview could probably reveal a wealth of history.
Below: Harold Gilreath and Franklin Johnson with Texan III