By Ricardo Lobato – SCIRA Vice Commodore.
One of the reasons for the Snipe Class success is its class rules. These rules provide us a true one design competition at a reasonable cost. We have old and new boat sailing against each other with equal chances. The rules are in constant evolution and important changes were made in the past like the introduction of the fiberglass hull and the aluminum mast and centerboard. More recently, the class was criticized for being too slow in adopting new rules. For example, we were one of the last classes to allow advertisement. We also took some time to permit hiking pants and digital compasses. In order to give a better response, the SCIRA board was restructured and we have few, but very active members.
Now the general feeling is that the changes are too fast.
There was a big reaction against the full batten rule and the new master age. The sailors are requesting more opportunity to discuss the changes. We are very passionate about our boat and we really care about any change. We have also completely rewritten our rulebook. This was made to use a more standard wording provide by ISAF trough the Equipment Rule of Sailing. As any international class, our class rules needs to be approved by ISAF. It don´t mean an intervention from them. We are only guaranteeing that our rule intention is correctly written. Our rule changes will be reviewed by a group of experts before the final approval.
Considering all this, the board agreed in creating a workflow for approving class rules changes. This will provide a better visibility for all the stakeholders. This workflow is showed below and it respects our Constitution and Bylaws as well the ISAF Regulations. The workflow has clear dates, process and responsibilities.
Rules changes can be submitted only by National Secretaries, the Rule Committer, the SCIRA Board or 5 Fleet Captains up to 1st March. This is our first filter. If you have a good idea, you need first to get support from your fleet or your country. All proposals will be published at the Spring Snipe Bulletin and on our website. The period from March to June will be used for public discussion and also for the rules committee recommendations. The board will vote all submission on July. The approved changes will be sent to ISAF for final approval.
We believe that this new workflow will bring a better participation from the sailors, boat builders and sailmakers, measures and all the other stakeholders helping the board to make better decisions.