By Don Bedford, SCIRA Commodore.
Happy sailing all you Snipe sailors! Here in the Northern Hemisphere the racing season is beginning to wind down as summer passes. I do hope you have been able to see some new and old faces out on the race course and hopefully do some traveling to a new location and Snipe Fleet.
We have had a couple of occurrences this summer that should be mentioned. The first is the retraction of the change to the battens for the main sail. This was voted in last year to be initiated in 2013. The proposed changed was to simply help the mainsail last longer and be easier to sail; the same change made by the Star class some years ago. While I personally feel that this rule will benefit the Class, our Board of Governors spent endless hours speaking to many sailors and sail makers and determined that this is not the right time for the change.
Like I said, I do think it is a simple change that will improve the boat and help the sails last longer – however, the discussion of the change needs to include more people, better visibility, and more time for everyone to plan. We have made much greater changes in the boat such as the dagger board and the total weight of the boat. If we make this change then I hope we would minimize the impact, let sail makers plan better and help snipe sail buyers to plan better as well.
The second issue was the announcement that the Snipe would no longer be included in the Pan American Games. Of course this only directly affects those in the Western Hemisphere but I assure you it would have a far reaching effect on the entire class. Many countries use the Snipe as a training boat for double-handed sailing. In my mind, some of the most successful countries can found in South American and the Caribbean and I would say the results have been impressive! Many successful Snipe sailors have come from those countries and I think they have helped to move the competition in our class to a very high level. I did ask the Executive Council of the PanAm Games to reconsider their decision as did many other Snipe sailors and their sailing representatives. We recently received word that we are back in the 2015 PanAm Games! I do wish to stress that we all need to continue to inform our national sailing authorities of the importance of the Snipe and how it fits into our own communities and development programs.
I am also looking forward to traveling to Málaga Spain for the Women’s Worlds at the end of September and watching some fantastic racing!
See you on the water,