World Masters Age Change

By Gweneth Crook, General Secretary – Western Hempisphere & Orient.

There was a lot of discussion at the Id Crook Memorial Snipe World Masters regarding the recent decision by the Board of SCIRA to increase the age of participation to 50. I will share that after asking for feedback from National Secretaries in my region I did vote in favour of this motion. After the discussion in Spain my mind has been changed, now I am asking what you think.

I am prepared to make a motion to the Board to keep the age at 45. I am asking for some feedback, so I am sharing my thoughts on Snipe Today.

By Gweneth Crook, General Secretary – Western Hempisphere & Orient.

There was a lot of discussion at the Id Crook Memorial Snipe World Masters regarding the recent decision by the Board of SCIRA to increase the age of participation to 50. I will share that after asking for feedback from National Secretaries in my region I did vote in favour of this motion. After the discussion in Spain my mind has been changed, now I am asking what you think.

I am prepared to make a motion to the Board to keep the age at 45. I am asking for some feedback, so I am sharing my thoughts on Snipe Today.

Many of our Snipe regattas are looking to increase participation, such as the motion to open the European Championship. The World Masters, in Spain, had 77 participants 53% of those were in the Apprentice Master category age 45-54 years old. It was a great success. I am concerned about the impact the age change will have on the regatta and its future success.

BelgiumsprotestCountries such as Belgium are concerned that they will lose the opportunity to attract new sailors to the class if the age is increased. Belgium’s argument is that when a sailor is finished sailing with other boats such as the Olympic classes they look to the Snipe. One of the arguments they use is that anyone can participate in the Snipe World Masters once they reach 45.

It is being said that people are healthier and living longer and we should raise the age of participation to 50 for the skipper. Recently I had one sailors say that at the age of 40 his body was feeling the demands of racing the snipe at a high competitive level and he was disappointed that he would have to wait another 10 years to sail at the World Masters.

If changing the age is an attempt to level the playing field for all participants I wonder if there aren’t other ways to do this. One of the suggestions in Spain was that the scoring be handicapped; for example an Apprentice Master would have an additional 3 points added to his score for a race, A Master might have 2 points added and a Grand Master would have no points added. I believe this is what happens at the Laser Masters? Do people have other suggestions?

When this regatta was started it was an attempt to bring snipe sailors together to renew old friendships and make new ones. Yes, the racing is important, but the philosophy behind this event is that the socializing is as, if not more, important. My Father was a firm believer in the “Serious Fun” aspect of the Snipe class and the World Masters is the regatta that exemplifies this.

I look forward to hearing what others think.

5 thoughts on “World Masters Age Change

  1. Antwerp, 30th August 2012
    Dear Members of the SCIRA board,
    The Red Snipers is a group of snipe sailors in Belgium. The purpose of our activity is to sensitize and to protest against the decision of the board to adapt the Master category of the skipper as from 50 years old and this for the following reasons :
    Why did the board change the deed of gifts without open discussion with all National SCIRA Secretaries?;
    Why is this adaption and decision so sudden, is there no possibility for an overlap period?
    Why do you not took the opportunity to create a new category as from 40 years old?
    On your arguments:
    people are living longer: Yes they do, but is it without diseases?
    Give a chance to older skippers to race; Ok no problem, it’s an open event.
    Why change a success? It is a pleasure to sail in big fleets
    In Belgium and probably in other countries the snipe is considered to be a family boat from young to old with several generations. The 40’s are considered to be the link between the youngers and the olders. The masters events in Snipe is a motivation to continue sailing snipe competition for the 40-s. It’s up to the 40’s to attract the youngers and for the youngers it is the motivation trying to beat the 40’s. If you take that motivation from the 40’s I’m afraid this lost generation will try to find the ambition in other sailing classes.

  2. good afternoon !
    please keep the age minimum in 45 to the masters.we had an great exemple in the last worlds in Spain! think about it.
    serious fun serious sailng

    good winds

    from Portugal

  3. I agree with Gweneth. I think it could be “the great mistake of Snipe Class” if the age is changed from 45 to 50.
    Changing the age will reduce the participation.
    The World Master has become the Great Event of Snipe (even more that Senior Worlds) in all aspects of “Serious sailing, serious fun”, so let it be.

  4. As the Snipe class gets more geriatric the cockpit floors have been getting deeper and deeper. 45 years old is barely a master – most of our New England snipe events are ‘master’ events with the average age exceeding 45. For the world masters 45 vs. 50 – who cares – most of the class can sail the event either way!

    Would an age based pionts handicap change the results of the last WMC? if not, why bother?

    Keep on Sniping

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