Behind the Scenes
In 1962 the Advance Sailboat Corporation of Independence, Missouri, under the leadership of Ralph Kuppersmith, was a profitable and active manufacturer of many classes of one-design dinghys; the product line included the Flying Dutchman, Flying Junior, US-1, Windmill, and the Demon. Mr. Kuppersmith recognized a void in the market line and directed Charlie Teeter, Advance’s designer and toolmaker, to develop a dinghy that was both stable, roomy enough for family and friends, lightweight, and easy to rig and trailer, yet quick and agile enough to be raced competitively as a one-design. The Demon, a successful part of the Advance line, had been an extension of the FJ. In its design, Mr. Teeter had added two feet to the FJ stern and retooled the top deck. Mr. Teeter was well aware of the characteristics of the high performance Flying Dutchman monohedral planing hull which the designer, Uffa van Essen, had carried over to the Flying Junior. The FJ was extended to the Demon from whence Mr. Teeter started the Sweet Sixteen development process. A Demon hull was split medially from bow to stern. One of the half hulls was then place don a jig. The midline of the hull was faired medially with filler materially to form a new keel line. Through fiberglass and plastic surgery, the five feet three inches Demon beam was widened to six feet. Filler material was then sculpted forward n the flare of the hull to form the new bow, resulting in an overall length of sixteen feet, or nine inches longer than the Demon. The freeboard and shear were raised to accomplish symmetry, and a new top deck was designed for comfort and style. The resulting effort was the Sweet Sixteen. Since 1962, 537 Sweet Sixteens have been produced with approximately one-third that number sold in the Kansas City and Topeka area. The others went to fleets in Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, Washington D.C., Kentucky, southern Missouri, and Texas. Several isolated boats are scattered from San Francisco to Florida. Due to a weak corporate marketing policy and limited resources, Advance chose to market the Sweet Sixteen regionally. As a result, Sweet Sixteen sales potential was not fully developed even though the boat was of sound design and was produced using a high quality manufacturing processes. The early and mid 1970’s were the best years of the Sweet Sixteen class growth solely because of the active salesmanship of Mr. Kuppersmith, who subsequently sold the Advance Sailboat Corporation. In the late 1970’s, Advance embarked on an ambitious program of producing several larger boats in the cruising class. Entry into this market without sufficient resources to maintain the sales inertia of the dinghy line resulted in decaying sales of the Sweet Sixteen. Marginal resources combined with a saturated and highly competitive market resulted in inadequate revenues to sustain the firm. In 1980, Advance for all intents and purposes collapsed.
The Sweet Sixteen tooling sat idle while the company went through many and diverse legal and financial gyrations. On July 17, 1982, representatives of the Sweet Sixteen National Association were present at the auction and acquired the tooling (plugs, molds, and fixtures).