Snipe #3543, Toper, 1939

Snipe #3543, Toper, 1939


Toper in 1940’s. Photographer unknown.

Photo Credit: Lily Sengsourinho

Toper UnderwayPhoto Credit: Iris Lee

Toper was built in 1939 by Lou Varalyay in Gardena, Ca. The boat reflected the winning formula in its days, Varalyay built, fitted with Kenneth Watts sails. Toper was in the same family ownership since built for over 70 years, until it was finally sold and became the catalyst for the reactivation of the Santa Monica Bay Snipe fleet.

The boat had not been in the water for 25 years at the time of ownership change, but was always well stored, and remains in almost original condition since built in 1939, including all wooden spars and the original steel pivoting centerboard and lots of the original hardware.

Toper was extensively raced from the 30’s to the 60’s and all repairs required due to wear and tear had been carried out by the original builder, Varalyay boatwork. The original red and white cedar deck had warped and was replaced by Varalyay in 1950. The boats name originated with the low open centerboard trunk, which allowed water in, thus the boat was named Toper, English slang for heavy drinker; Varalyay altered the centerboard case to a closed one with the new rounded pivoting centerboard.

snipe red

Toper in the press


US Snipe Sailor, Spring 2011

US Snipe Sailor, Winter 2011


Toper at Herb Shear 2014

Trophy 1

Snipe Fleet 24 @ Herb Shear 2014 copy