As many of you are aware, last year the Board of Governors passed a change to the rules to allow a “full batten” on the main and to lengthen the other two battens to what makes sense. The Rules Committee was asked to query the sail makers and devise the details of the new rule for next year’s rule book. Many sail makers provided feedback and the committee has been working with this year’s Board on this and the other changes approved last year. It has been ten months now and the following is the message from Steve Stewart, our Chief Measurer to the Board that I would like to share with you all.
Don Bedford, SCIRA Conmodore.
Fellow Snipe Sailors; 5 June, 2012
The Rules Committee is preparing a recommendation to the SCIRA board of Directors that the batten pocket lengths be increased to 800 mm for lower batten, 800 mm for the middle batten. The upper batten will be full length andis defined by the position of pocket at leech (three quarter girth) and the intersection with the luff that shall be between 1680 and 1780 mm below the head point.
At the last Board meeting in Rungstad during the World Championships this proposal was put forth by Jan Persson, with input from some of our top sail designers and sailmakers. The Rules Committee did some extensive research and several sails were made for sailors to test. The findings of the Rules Committee are that the battens in the main have not kept pace with sail development or the past 40 years.
Giorgio Brezich, Myself and Antonio Bari all believe that this is an extremely important measure to pass for several reasons. One of the most important concepts within the Rules committee is always to make a change for improving the class without making any boat obsolete. A great example would be the advancement of the pole launcher from the somewhat cumbersome manual whisker pole and the digital compass. Change for the sake of change has never been given any consideration an example would be the case for allowing carbon fiber tillers , booms or whisker poles where there would be no direct benefit to the boats performance and quite expensive. Another important concept is to keep the Snipe relevant and on pace with advancements in materials and method of construction.
Here is the summary of the rules committee recommendation to approve the batten measure:
- The finding of the Rules Committee are that the battens in the main have not kept pace with sail development or the past 40 years resulting in the weather hook of the upper batten in light air and those hideous vertical wrinkles we seem at the mid girth between the battens in all wind conditions. With 50% longer middle and lower battens the sail will have a smoother shape though the mid girth.
- The longer battens also eliminate the “V” crease and the vertical wrinkles at the front edge of the battens.
- The mainsail will last longer, because the sail does not luff as violently with the longer battens.
- The sail is also a bit easier to trim and it is more forgiving to under and over trimming, this will be a benefit to many sailors who do not have the luxury of lots of training time.
- The new rule will specify the batten pocket maximum length which is a new way for the class to quantify the batten lengths. This is being done to be in compliance with ISAF’s equipment rules. The Snipe class has always specified a maximum length of the battens and no minimum length and this will remain unchanged. The batten pocket will have only a maximum length specified keeping consistent with the current rule.
- Another important factor is that with the elimination of the limiting bands on the mast head and boom end the sails are going to be built rger along the foot and luff to take advantage of the additional 25 mm in each direction. The leech measurement will remain unchanged. So the overall sails will be built with more broadseam. This underscores the need for the longer battens.
- Existing sails will still be legal and the decision of longer versus shorter battens left to the preference of the skipper.
- Retrofit kits for older sails will be available from the leading Snipe sailmakers for less than $50 USD.
I think it is also worthwhile to read Giorgio’s and Antonio’s final comment on the issue.
From Giorgio: My suggestion to Board could be, in case of majority, to studying the time of new batten rule application. I think we could take more time to start but I strongly suggest to do not abandon the idea. This very cheap change could give great benefits to the snipe class.
From Antonio: Those who sailed the new main are extremely in favor. Furthermore, the new main will be simpler to trim also by newcomers. I have always kept in mind the necessity to support changes who improved the boat with no impact on existing boats. The new main will be faster (maybe), last longer and be easier to trim at the cost of 20$ on new sails and maybe 50$ on older sails.
I will conclude that this is a much needed change that will help to keep the Snipe relevant with younger sailors, and to repair a design error when the sail rules were first drafted with the inclusion of the roach.
Change for the sake of change I agree is not a good thing, with this measure there are 7 solid reasons for this change. We believe this will add to serious sailing, serious fun.
The rules Committee and the Board of Directors look forward to all comments especially from those who have tested the main with the longer battens.
SCIRA Chief Measurer
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