Snipe Capsizes for Smaller Skippers

Tuesday, 06 June 2017 18:11

I usually write articles when I have a solution to a particular problem. This one is more of a cry for help from a small skipper: how do I self-rescue after a capsize? 

The first day of the 2017 Snipe North American Championship in Fort Lauderdale was epic: an 18-22 knot easterly, and a huge ocean swell overlaid with smaller mixed up waves rebounding off the beach and reefs. It was a great day for racing Snipes—and also a day where even a small mistake can lead to a capsize.


Capsize Analysis from Old Man Diaz

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 19:27

Editor's Note: On the second day of the 2017 DonQ Regatta, Charlie and Michele Bustamante capsized to weather at the jibe mark and lost their rudder.

Charlie and Michele had approached the jibe mark with the main most of the way out. After the jibe, the boat capsized to weather and the rudder popped off the boat. Charlie swam to get the rudder.

Meanwhile, Michele righted the boat by herself but could not get back onboard. The boat was blowing downwind faster than Charlie could swim, so a safety boat picked him up and returned him and the rudder to the Snipe.

Since Charlie and Michele have "only" been sailing Snipes together for 35 years, they turned to Gonzalo "Old Man" Diaz for some advice about how to avoid making the same mistakes on future heavy air days. We share that advice here so that others can learn from it as well.

Dear Charlie and Michele,

Here are some of my conclusions and analysis:


Video by Pedro Quezada

Old Man's Tips when Capsizing

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:37


(From the SCIRA archives)


by Gonzalo "Old Man" Diaz

1. Do not go out in the Snipe unless it is blowing less than 15 mph. To venture out in higher winds, please, wait until you have a year of experience under your belt and an experienced crew.

2. Be sure to tie in your board with the safety rope every time you go out! The rope has to be doing the job before you sail away from the dock. And make sure that the rope is adjusted so that the board will not come out of the centerboard trunk when lifted and tilted (forward and aft).

To read the rest of The Old Man's tips, download the attached PDF.