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Snipe Rigging 101

By Carol Cronin A recent question from the fleet forming in Costa Rica made me realize: we don't have any stories that explain how to get started rigging a Snipe. So I offered to write one, and because I keep my promises... well, here we are.Most of SnipeToday's stories speak to the folks who already know the basics and want to learn the tweaking secrets of those whose transom they are eyeing around the race course. This article is not for those people. The point is to begin at the beginning, with a bare deck, and try to cover the most important aspects of rigging a Snipe. ...

Snipe Rigging 101 Image

By Carol Cronin

A recent question from the fleet forming in Costa Rica made me realize: we don’t have any stories that explain how to get started rigging a Snipe. So I offered to write one, and because I keep my promises… well, here we are. Most of SnipeToday’s stories speak to the folks who already know the basics and want to learn the tweaking secrets of those whose transom they are eyeing around the race course. This article is not for those people. The point is to begin at the beginning, with a bare deck, and try to cover the most important aspects of rigging a Snipe.

Deck layout

First of all, words and photos will never be as helpful as an already rigged boat. Placement of hardware can make or break a sailor’s enjoyment; there are so many variables that will be completely obvious once you go sailing that are quite easy to miss when drilling holes and mounting hardware. So rule number one is, there’s a reason Snipes are rigged this way; copy an existing boat when possible.

We’ll start at the bow and work aft, leaving the skipper and crew control lines for last.

Bow chainplate

This is the attachment point for (in order, moving aft): forestay, jib luff wire/tack, and jib cloth (otherwise known as the jib cunningham). The jib tack location is specified by class rules.

Attachment point to pull the mast forward at the deck (see “mast controls”)


Shroud Chainplates (port and starboard); location is specified by class rules.

Though many boats have multiple points of attachment (depending on wind strength), only one is required for beginners. This is also where a lifting bridle would hook up for launching with a crane; for beach launching, that’s not needed.


The main halyard should have a loop and “stop” on the starboard side of the mast web; it gets pulled up and locked in place for sailing.

The mast step should provide a solid base for the mast, as well as attachment points for several lead blocks that direct lines up and out to the side decks. The height of the step is specified in the class rules so that masts can be swapped from one boat to another.

The simplest option for the step hardware is aluminum channel; the mast butt sits on top of the channel (over a bolt that locks it in fore and aft), and holes can be drilled to hang shackled control line blocks.

Jibsheets should be easily cleated/uncleated as the jib is quite powerful (and crews are usually smaller than skippers). They are led through a block on the inboard face of the side decks, and then through a turning block (preferably a ratchet) so they can be held/adjusted from the opposite side of the boat. A good starting location for jib leads is 90″ back from the jib tack. The location/angle of the cleat/turning block arrangement is very important, as it will determine whether the crew can cleat/uncleat the sail from a hiking position.

The jib halyard is eased off about 12-14″ to sail downwind and then played almost as much as a spinnaker guy, so most boats have a fine tune mounted on the aft face of the centerboard trunk. The purchase runs forward (ideally, inside the centerboard trunk to reduce clutter on the floor), around a block mounted on the mast step, and up through the mast partners. The easiest set up is to have a wire attached to the purchase that ends in a hook just above the deck; that attaches to a loop in the halyard, which puts everything needed for hoisting/dousing above deck.

Note: the jib halyard attaches to both the jib luff wire (which runs through the luff of the sail) and to the head of the sail itself. This is somewhat counter-intuitive but very important, since the jib luff wire/halyard combination takes over as the headstay while sailing.

The mainsheet block should be mounted on top of the centerboard trunk, aft of the slot. Cleats are optional; usually they are mounted on the side decks. The split mainsheet controls boom placement relative to centerline. Traveler adjustments can grow quite complicated, so for beginners, don’t bother rigging a traveler but do set up the split mainsheet. That will require blocks as far outboard as they can go on the aft deck, lined up with the end of the boom, and an dead end attachment point on centerline.


Control lines

Snipes have two groups of cleated control lines, one forward of the skipper and the other forward of the crew. Each control leads to both port and starboard side decks, so they can be adjusted while hiking out on either tack. The more experienced the crew, the more control lines move to the front of the boat. Personal preference also plays into which lines lead where, but regardless of the details getting the cleat locations right is crucial (so that lines can be adjusted while hiking with minumum distraction).

Each control line leads up through a hole from beneath the side deck, passes through a small cam cleat, and then disappears through a hole so it stays out of sight. That last part is optional, but it will make the deck much neater and keep lines from trailing overboard.

Once all the lines are in place and running smoothly they only need to be checked for chafe, but getting them set up correctly will take some time and experimentation.

Here are the controls in approximate order of importance (which reflects some personal preference):

Crucial to control in medium and strong winds. Needs a lot of purchase, so set up a cascade system that runs from a sturdy bail on the boom to the mast web. This is the hardest control to get right and will require some tweaking to achieve the ideal combination of purchase and throw. Location (crew or skipper) varies by personal preference.


Hiking strap adjustments

Mount a cleat on the inboard face of the side deck that make it possible to adjust the height of the crew hiking straps’ forward ends. Since this is a major factor in crew comfort, it is a very important addition—especially if there are a lot of different people sailing each boat. Skippers will appreciate being able to easily adjust their own straps too; the adjustment should be on the aft end of the strap and can be one line (so port and starboard straps are adjusted at the same time).

This ties/shackles into the bottom of the jib. The biggest rigging challenge is passing it through the watertight bow compartment without creating a major leak; it might be easiest to rig this above deck. Location: crew controls

Mast controls

The Snipe mast is adjustable at the deck as a way to depower and tweak sail shape. While this is very important at the top end of the fleet, the only thing that’s important for beginners is to have the mast locked far enough forward so that it will not invert downwind and damage the mast. When learning to sail the Snipe, lock the mast at “Neutral” (described in the tuning guides), or even a little farther forward.

Mast forward (a line that pulls the mast forward at the deck) needs more purchase than you might think and should pull from a point about halfway from mast to bow chainplate. (Farther aft and there’s not enough angle for good purchase; farther forward and it interferes with the jib foot.) Tie the tail around the mast so it can’t drop down, either just above the web or through one of the web’s holes. Lower is better. Location varies with personal preference; Jibetechs have it on the top of the centerboard trunk (aft of the slot, forward of the mainsheet block).

Mast aft (a line that pulls the mast aft at the deck) keeps the mast locked in a fore and aft location. More advanced sailors also use it to pull the mast aft downwind for better sail shape. Dead end the tail aft of the mast step opening, run it through a block attached the mast web (usually below the vang), and pass it back through a block aft of the mast step and then out to the side decks. This is usually a skipper control.

Jib lead fine tune

The jib leads should be adjustable fore and aft (gross tune, on a track) and up and down (fine tune, with a block attached to an adjustable line). The fine tune should lead to the crew’s side deck cleats so it’s adjustable from the weather rail. Location: crew controls.

Main cunningham

Most systems dead end at the gooseneck and hang a block on the cunningham cringle on the sail. 2:1 underneath. IMHO beginners could get away without this control. Location varies with personal preference.

Other hardware:

Make sure mast does not float more than a little side to side in the partners; shim if necessary.

Attachment points for hiking straps . Because these are usually eyestraps into the floor, they need to be very waterproof and also very secure. Builders add backing plates where the straps will be attached. Location (fore/aft, as well as inboard/outboard) is VERY important to crew hiking comfort, and she who hikes hardest goes the fastest.

Bailer An Elvstrom bailer set into a centerline well just forward of the stern bulkhead will allow water to drain out while sailing. Close it for launching and retrieval (and try to keep it free of sand).

Location is specified in the class rules (to make rudders interchangeable). These need to be through-bolted (and bedded so they don’t leak). Install a rudder lock, or tie the rudder into the top gudgeon.


This is the first thing to wear out (especially when stored under load or in the sun) but does several important jobs: 1. Whisker pole retrieval 2. Holding up hiking straps so they are easy to kick under 3. Tightening headstay (to keep it out of the way while sailing, especially important for jibes) 3. Optional: Tensioning line tails under the side decks

Whisker pole

Of all the Snipe rigging challenges, this is probably the hardest to get right because there are so many variables. And rigging it so it works easily is crucial—for every level of sailor.


There are several helpful pictures on the APS page:

Poles are rigged on the port side of the boom. This diagram is helpful, though it incorrectly shows the pole on the starboard side of the mast:

There are two important (and interactive) pieces of rigging: the launch line and the shockcord retrieval.

The launch line should be tapered, with the skinny end attached to the jib clew (tie it in above the sheets). It disappears inside the forward end of the pole, ties or splices into the fatter line, and exits through a block at the aft end before leading forward again through a block mounted on the port side of the mast (about 3 inches above the gooseneck). (Hanging this block is what the APS Snipe GRP Mast Fitting for Whiskerpole Block is for, but you could also hang it from an eyestrap. Getting the height and fore/aft location right is an incredbily important variable.)

The launch line then turns aft through a block mounted on the deck (about even with the mast neutral setting) to a cam cleat.

The shockcord retrieval pulls the pole back for jibes and douses. The right amount of pull makes all the difference in reducing boathandling variables. Shockcord should be minimum 3/16″ and maximum 1/2″ in diameter. Thinner shockcord provides better range and less resistance but may need extra purchase inside the boom. Thicker shockcord makes it possible to go 2:1 on purchase but also gives less throw.

The shockcord dead ends at the aft end of the pole (usually with a knot through a plastic end cap), exits through the side of the pole (close to the aft end) and into the port aft end of the boom, runs forward around a block hanging off the inside of the gooseneck, and either dead ends at the aft end of the boom (2:1) or runs through another block and forward again (3:1).

Another key piece is a collar that supports/guides the forward end of the pole. There are as many ways to rig this as there are Snipes, but it’s important to have just the right amount of play in this part of the system. Too much and the pole will not launch/retract parallel to the boom; too little and the collar won’t align well for minimum friction/aggravation.

To test the pole: Once the mast is stepped, place the boom (without sails) on the gooseneck and hang it by attaching the main halyard to the aft end. The boom should be approximately level. MAKE SURE THERE IS A SECURE STOPPER KNOT IN THE FORWARD END OF THE POLE LAUNCHER LINE and then launch the pole. You will need someone to spot the forward end once it’s launched all the way to keep it level, but make sure this person stays out of the way as the pole comes out. The pole should extend as far as possible and retrieve smoothly. (Class rules specify that the aft end of the pole should not be able to go forward of the mast.)

Usual problems:

Pole doesn’t launch all the way

Is launcher line run correctly? Is it hanging up somewhere (tapered line may bottom out inside the pole)? Does shockcord have enough throw?

Tip: A small adjustment in location of the hanging block (on the port side of the mast) can make a HUGE difference to smooth pole operation.

Pole doesn’t retract as it should (smoothly and parallel to the boom)

Is shockcord tight enough?

Is collar staying aligned with pole, but with enough give to adjust as needed?

Last but not least… Is there a knot in the pole line tail?

Pole line lost inside pole

Place pole in the water to help retrieve line

Remove forward end cap

Remember to ALWAYS tie off the forward and aft ends!

Other Resources Sailmaker tuning guides SnipeToday Articles from the Experts

Line lengths: Mainsheet is 23′ of 5/16″ low stretch line and 20′ of 1/8″ vectran for the split section (10 feet each leg). Jib sheet -33′. Use a single line and attach the middle to the clew. The lower the sheet attachment’s profile, the less that sheet will catch on the leeward shroud coming out of a tack. Pole- 20 feet of 1/4″ line and 104″ of 1/8″ Vectran.


Carol Cronin

snipe sailboat rigging

Great! Thanks for putting this together. I am working through as a beginner with my 1984 McLaughlin snipe.

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snipe sailboat rigging

George Hook

Good-day, Thanks for the very helpful article and photos. I have just purchased a Phoenix Snipe, and the photos and discussion have been helpful for rigging. Is there any information about launching a Phoenix Snipe using a crane? The transom on my boat has two large drains, which makes dolly or trailer launching a bit problematic. Thanks

snipe sailboat rigging

Matthew Johns

Hey, 2 years too late, but my McGlaughlin has transom holes, too. I always trailer launch it and never have a problem. what little water that gets in will go right out the bailer the jib is up. I wouldn't worry about it. If you ever capsize you will be really happy the transom holes are there. Trust me!

oops...*before the jib is up.

snipe sailboat rigging

Ernest J Michaud

I sail Jet 14's and hope to replace my mainsheet. Does anyone make and sell these premade? used to go to APS ltd but they closed. I know they can be made but that is my last resort option for this spring. Hope I will get answer in my email. Thanks.

snipe sailboat rigging

Contact Andrew at Jibetech; [email protected]

snipe sailboat rigging

John DeFazio

I am looking for another 'fore stay', as mine broke. Can you off er a suggestion? Thank you. John D.

snipe sailboat rigging

Pietro Fantoni

Hello John, where do you live? US, Canada, UK?

I live in Georgia. I have already ordered, received, and installed the new jib stay.

Ok, now my mind is blown ? So I just turned 40 and bought a snipe for my mid-life crisis. I haven't sailed in 20 years and my last memory of Sniping we capsized it, somehow buried the mast straight down into the muck, literally flipped the boat 180 degrees, and the boat looked like a "t" Then I somehow managed to knock the centerboard off and then it looked like a "T". When we finally got it right-side-up we celebrated too early because the wind caught the sail and it rained muck on us. LETS DO IT AGAIN!!! Woo-hoo! Might have made more sense to buy a Sunfish. ⛵️ But I can proudly say I have never been knocked out by the boom!

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Whisker Pole Launching System

The Snipe uses a retractable boom-launched whisker pole. The crew deploys the pole with an automatic cleating system led through two 29 mm Carbo stand-up blocks. Two 29 mm T2 Carbo blocks hold up the whisker pole line.

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Class History

This popular racing dinghy has an active international class association that attracts some of the best sailors in the world. The boat's bendy rig and simple sail plan allows a broad range of crew combinations and weights to make this modern, tactical racer great fun to sail.

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Boat Specifications

LOA: 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m) LWL: 13 ft 6 in (4.1 m) Beam: 5 ft (1.5 m) Sail Area: 128 sq ft (11.8 sq m) Weight: 381 lb (173 kg)

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Dear Snipe sailor:

Thank you for choosing North Sails for your Snipe. As Snipe sailors ourselves we truly share your enthusiasm for this great boat and the worldwide camaraderie that Snipe sailors share. We wish you many happy seasons of racing your boat and hope that whenever you have any questions about making your boat go fast that you will give us a call. We are always pushing to make our sails faster, longer lasting and easier to use and we always welcome your comments.

In this tuning guide we have tried to introduce a healthy dose of “why” we do certain things and what we are looking to accomplish with certain settings. You will find that the settings on your particular boat will vary a bit from the numbers given here. The important thing is to keep an open mind and a sensitive touch on the tiller. With a bit of practice and by following the principles outlined on the next few pages you should find yourself going faster and getting the best performance out of your boat.

Good Luck and Good Snipe Sailing!!

Sailing is a very equipment intensive sport. To achieve the best possible results we must optimize our equipment to extent that the Snipe class rules allow. This involves taking a top to bottom look at all our equipment and taking a “no compromise” approach.

THE HULL Make sure that your hull is minimum weight (381 lbs.) and that it is as smooth as possible. Fill and fair all imperfections in the hull. Pay special attention to the area around the bailer.

Most top sailors sharpen the last 4-5’ of the chines and the intersection of the transom and hull in the back of the boat. This allows the water to clear away from the hull more smoothly and promotes planing quicker when the breeze is up.

THE MAST The mast and its tuning are probably the single most important thing, to good consistent boat speed in a Snipe. Presently there are four “popular” masts in use, Sidewinder Gold, Sidewinder, Proctor and Persson. The Sidewinder Gold is the stiffest followed by the Sidewinder, Proctor and Persson.

It is important to know that no two masts are exactly the same and each boat will need a little bit of fine tuning to get it set up right. It is preferable to have adjustable spreaders (both length and angle) as you will generally want to make some adjustments as you get your boat up to speed.

On many masts especially the stiffer models, you may want to file down the forward part of the mast butt. This will help to induce pre-bend in the mast especially for light air.

CENTERBOARD The class rules allow you to taper the edge of the boat to within 1” off the edge of the board. You should make sure your board is tapered on the front, bottom and aft edges. We suggest a “bullet” type shape for the leading edge and more of a “V” shape for the after edge of the board.

Be sure to rinse your board after sailing in saltwater and dry it completely. This will save it from becoming pitted with corrosion. You want to always wet sand the centerboard before sailing unless it is anodized.

You may want to consider cutting out some of the board in the top of the board where it stays inside the boat when down all the way. This makes the board lighter and less work for the crew to lift. Overweight boats can shave off a few pounds here by cutting away some of the top of the board. Check the SCIRA rulebook for limitations on how much board can be cut out.

LAYOUT OF CONTROLS The layout of control lines is wide open on the Snipe. We suggest running most of the controls to the crew with the exception being the traveler. This allows the skipper to concentrate on driving especially at crowded mark roundings.

THE CREW Competitive crew weights range from 275 lbs. to 325lbs. Generally you can sail lighter in flat water than in rough water. Heavier crews will want to set their boats up for more power (see below) where lighter crews can set up with somewhat flatter sails.

Basic Rig Set Up

With the mast down, we want to adjust our spreader length and angle. These two things determine how much the mast will bend and how much power will be in the sails, and how easy the boat will be to power up in light air and depower in heavy air. Before stepping the mast check the following items:

SPREADER LENGTH This dimension, measured from the side of the mast to where the shroud intersects the spreader. For most boats this length is 16 ¾” (42.5 cm). The length of the spreader affects the side-to-side bend of the mast primarily. After stepping the mast and going sailing you will want to sight up the front side of the mast and make sure it is straight side to side from the deck to the hounds. This is very important: if the mast is bending to leeward in the middle, shorten the spreaders until it is straight. If the mast bows to windward in the middle make the spreaders longer until the mast is straight.

SPREADER ANGLE The angle of the spreaders (tip to tip measurement) affects how much the maximum mast bend will be. Heavier crews will want a larger tip-to-tip measurement (stiffer mast) and lighter crews will want a smaller measurement (softer mast). The starting point for the adjustment on this setting is 29 1/4” (74 cm) measured from shroud to shroud with the spreaders pulled all the way back. In heavy air or with a heavier crew we move the spreaders forward so this measurement is 29 3/4” (76 cm). Check to make sure that the sweep aft on each spreader is the same so that the mast bends consistently from side to side.

FORESTAY Check your forestay so that it is maximum allowable length (mast not touching back of partners). You will want to attached a piece of lightweight shockcord 15” up the forestay and tie it to the bow or stem fitting to keep the forestay snug when the jib is up. This will keep the whisker pole from catching during jibes downwind.

MAST BUTT ANGLE Check the bottom of the mast and make sure it is cut off perfectly square. Any deviance from this can cause the mast to not develop pre-bend or develop too much. If you later find the mast does not develop enough pre-bend, file the front of the mast step casting to allow the mast to rock forward and bend more.

SHROUD ATTACHMENT LOCATIONS For most boats position the shrouds at the maximum forward location of 70” aft of the stem. This will help the main go out further downwind and increase projected sail area. If you are having trouble developing enough power, move the shrouds back slightly which will make the mast somewhat stiffer. See figure 1.

JIB TACK LOCATION Position the jib tack at its maximum forward position 11” back from stem. This helps make the sail plan longer and opens up the slot between the main and jib. See figure 2.

To start attach a 25’ tape measure to your main halyard and pull all the way to the top and lock the halyard in position.

Download the PDF for a chart of the three different settings we use. All measure to the top of the transom. This is based on the Persson deck crown.

Note that it is very important to use a Holt Allen staggered hole style shroud adjuster or Sta-Masters to have fine enough increments on your shroud tensions.

Mast Rake Settings

Now sight up the backside of the mast and make sure the mast is perfectly straight side to side. If it is not you will need to remove shims from one side and add to the other to make the mast straight. The mast should be shimmed snugly side to side at the deck (yet still able to move freely fore and aft).

As a last step, we want to mark the “neutral” position of the mast. With the pusher/puller off and the mast taking its natural position make a mark on the side of the mast at the deck and a corresponding mark on the deck of the boat. Mark both sides of the mast so you can see it on both tacks. Now make marks on the deck 3/8”, 3/4” and 1” in front of neutral. If you feel you have an extra bendy mast (Sidewinder Jr.) make the aft mark 3/8” behind the neutral position.

Now you are set up to go sailing in moderate breeze. The first thing to do when you go sailing is to check the mast bend side to side. Sight up the front of the mast on both tacks and make sure the mast is straight from the deck to the hounds. If it sags to leeward shorten the spreaders. If it pops to windward lengthen them. This is critical to good boat speed.

With the boat hiked flat you want to have an absolutely neutral helm in the boat. You should just need finger tip pressure to hold the tiller. If the boat has lee helm rake the mast back. If it has weather helm rake the mast further forward.

Your North Snipe Main comes set up for a tack line to hold it in place at the mast. Using a low stretch small diameter line tie the tack of the sail so the edge of the sail is about 3/8” aft of the backside of the mast. Do not tie the tack right to the mast as this will keep the tack from rotating downwind and make the sail full in the bottom.

MAINSHEET The mainsheet is the throttle on a Snipe and must be adjusted regularly to keep the boat going at top speed. The idea is to keep the top batten on the main parallel to the boom at all time and in under 7 knots of wind have the top telltale flying 70% of the time. If the telltale flies constantly the main is too loose. If it stalls all the time it is too tight. Trimming the main is a constant exercise in easing and trimming as the wind increases and eases.

In above 7-10 knots of wind the top telltale will fly all the time and the top batten should be trimmed parallel to the boom.

CUNNINGHAM The main cunningham controls the fore and aft position of the draft in the sail. Keep it loose until you begin to be overpowered and then tighten it to open the leech of the main by moving the draft forward in the sail.

OUTHAUL In all but the very lightest conditions the outhaul should be tight when sailing upwind. Downwind let it off about 2-3” to make the bottom of the main more powerful and to open up the shelf foot in the bottom of the sail.

BOOM VANG The boom vang is used to hold the boom down when the mainsheet is eased and to bend the mast and depower the main in a breeze. We leave the vang completely slack until we are hiking hard. Then we take the slack out of it so that when a puff hits we can ease the boom slightly without losing leech tension. As the breeze picks up more we will pull the mast back to the aft mark at the deck and trim the vang harder. This bends the mast and flattens the main and lets us play the mainsheet in the puffs without losing main leech or jib luff tension.

Downwind, you want to use the vang to keep the top batten parallel to the boom. Ease the vang substantially before reaching the weather mark to make sure you don’t break your mast in a breeze. In some conditions, mostly light air and flat water, the vang can be quite loose with the top batten outside of parallel, which allows you to sail a bit by the lee. In heavy air this makes the boat unstable and can result in the dreaded “death roll”.

TRAVELER In most conditions, even heavy air, the trend lately is to keep the traveler in the middle of the boat. Make sure your mainsheet bridle is set up so the “y” of it goes slightly inside the boom. This will keep the boom centered in light air without putting too much tension on the leech of the main.

As the breeze builds and the boat gets overpowered you may find it helpful to drop traveler until the helm of the boat is neutral and the boat is flat.

Others will find vang sheeting preferable. With vang sheeting you tighten the vang to keep the boon down and the tension on the leech when the mainsheet is eased. Make sure to have the mast back at the aft mark when vang sheeting to keep the jib’s luff tight.


The mast pusher/puller controls the bend in the lower part of the mast and has big effect on rig tension. In light air (crew inside the boat) we push the mast forward to the forward deck mark. This bends the mast and opens the leech of the main. It also sags the jib luff giving you more power for light air.

As soon as the crew and skipper are sitting on the windward side of the boat we move the mast back to the neutral mark to power up the sails. As the breeze builds, we will pull the mast back more at the deck to counteract the forces of the vang.

A note on soft vs. stiff masts: As the breeze really builds (15+ knots) softer mast owners will want to keep the mast back at the aft mark. This is because the forces of the vang cause the softer masts to really bend down low and the mast must be held back at the deck to keep the softer masts from over bending.

Stiffer mast owners will want to let the mast go back forward to the neutral mark when the breeze builds. The stiffer masts do not bend as much down low and need to be let back forward as the breeze builds to help depower the main.

SHEET To help judge the trim of the jib your North Snipe jib has a leech telltale sewn on it 1/3 of the way down the leech. The sail also comes with a trim stripe on the clew. To start set the jib lead so that the sheet is lined up with the trim lime on the clew of the jib. From there you will want to fine-tune the lead so that the telltales on the luff of the jib break evenly (watch through spreader window). Move the lead forward if the top luffs first. Move the lead back if the bottom luffs first.

After getting the lead position correct, we want to trim the jib in so that the telltale on the leech is just on the verge of stalling. You will need to adjust the tension on the jib sheet constantly as the wind builds and eases to keep the telltale just on the edge of stalling.

You may also want to make a mark on each side of the splash rail 15” out from the centerline of the boat. The foot of the jib will fall in this vicinity upwind and this mark can be used as a reference point for jib trim.

JIB CLOTH The jib cloth tension should be tightened just enough so that there are always very slight wrinkles in the luff of the sail. In very heavy wind you will want to add tension and make the luff of the jib smooth to open the leech of the sail.

JIB HALYARD Be sure your jib halyard has at least 10-12” of throw in it. You will also want to make sure that the halyard is clearly marked at the up position so you can easily get the halyard set in the correct position at mark roundings.

Dead downwind let the halyard all the way off to project the jib as far to windward as possible. When reaching with the pole up you will find it fast to tighten the jib halyard 1/3 to 1/2 the way to tighten the luff of the sail and make the sail more powerful and easier to steer to.

Thank you for purchasing North Sails. This tuning guide was compiled with the help many National, North American and World Champion’s assistance and represents the latest thinking on sailing a Snipe fast.

Please give any member of the North Snipe team a call if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you get the most from your boat. Good luck!


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  • Sailboat Guide

Snipe is a 15 ′ 5 ″ / 4.7 m monohull sailboat designed by William F. Crosby and built by Lillia (Cantiere Nautico Lillia), Schock W.D., Grampian Marine, Nickels Boat Works, Inc., Helms - Jack A. Helms Co., Jibetech, Aubin, AX Boats, Eichenlaub Boat Co., and Loftland Sail-craft Inc. starting in 1931.

Drawing of Snipe

Rig and Sails

Auxilary power, accomodations, calculations.

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.

Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio .311 Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.

SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64) 2/3

  • SA : Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D : Displacement in pounds.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.

Ballast / Displacement * 100

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.

D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.

Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam 1.33 )

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.

CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

Origins in the US, built, sailed and raced around the world, to this day, and one of the most popular sailing dinghies ever. (In its heyday, the largest sailboat racing class.) See international web site for the many fleets and associations around the world.

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Published on August 4th, 2021 | by Editor

Getting started in the Snipe Class

Published on August 4th, 2021 by Editor -->

Getting started in a new one-design class can be intimidating. You may not know the boat, the people, the set-up of the rig, or the fastest sail trim. But joining a new class is not as scary or as challenging as you might think.

Quantum Sails’ Carter Cameron began sailing Snipes a year ago and in this report reflects on the positive experience and lessons learned to give others a leg up when starting your one-design journey.

Sailing the 2021 Snipe US Nationals marked my first anniversary in the boat, and I couldn’t have had more fun. Here are my takeaways after the first year learning the boat.

Chines Growing up sailing Lightnings in Charleston, I was familiar with how a chined boat sails. However, most new Snipe sailors are collegiate or recently graduated sailors who are used to sailing round-hulled boats like Lasers, 420s, and FJs.

snipe sailboat rigging

With these boats, the goal is to sail as flat as possible so you get the most efficient flow over your underwater foils. Anytime you heel to leeward, you’ll start sliding because the foils don’t have an optimal angle of attack. The Snipe is different from collegiate dinghies because the chine helps create lift as well, and its daggerboard is not as efficient either.

The Snipe board is made from a piece of sheet metal, so it’s only faired around the edges and flat in the middle, whereas with fiberglass boards you can create shape across the whole foil. Sailing the Snipe with a little bit of leeward heel−no more than 5 degrees−puts the chine in the water and creates lift to help overcome its less efficient daggerboard. Tunable Rig The Snipe has many controls to help manipulate sail shape, which is great for the collegiate sailors who are used to having vang, cunningham, outhaul, and jib halyard to tension the rig. In addition, the Snipe has adjustable spreaders in sweep and length, a mast ram, jib cunningham, and STA-Masters to adjust rake. While this may seem like a lot, the magic of the Snipe is that you can simplify all these controls and still be fast.

Quantum’s tuning guide is spot on, so just follow that to match rake, tension, and spreader sweep and length, and you’re off to the races. I learned fairly quickly what the mast ram is capable of, but new sailors don’t need to worry about moving it in their first year in the boat. Just lock it at neutral and you’re good to go.

For the curious, however, mast forward upwind will bend your rig more and sag jib halyard and vice-versa for when you pull it back. Once you’ve got some Snipe experience, you can pull your mast aft all the way on the downwind, which helps get your boom farther out and pushes more depth into your main, creating a more powerful shape.

Whisker Poles Are Your Friend Gone are the days of the skipper holding out the windward jib sheet for wing-on-wing downwind. Now the whisker pole has come to the rescue. Snipe whisker poles are rigged on a clever self-retracting bungee system rigged inside the boom.

All that needs to be rigged to go sailing each day is to tie the end of the pole launcher line coming out of the pole to the clew of the jib and feed the other end of the launcher line through the blocks on the mast and deck to the crew. Whisker poles are great for maximizing projected area on the downwind and they really help the boat take off on the reaches. Snipes love to plane because of this set-up.

Serious Sailing, Serious Fun The Snipe Class trademarked this motto for good reason. It is truly one of the most competitive one-design classes in the world, and it’s hard to meet a better group of sailors off the water.

It’s not every day you get sail against World Champions like Augie Diaz, Raul Rios, George Szabo, Pan-American gold medalist Ernesto Rodriguez, and too many National and North American champions to count. It’s humbling to be rolled by one of these guys on an upwind, and they’re more than happy to help you sail your boat faster as well.

My favorite part of the motto is Serious Fun. I’ve made friends I’ll have for the rest of my life and had mentors I’ll never be able to pay back no matter what I do. Part of the serious fun is getting the “U30s” in the boat, post-collegiate sailors 30 years old and younger. There are lease-to-own programs, loaner boats, and numerous regatta charter deals that are geared to get this group sailing Snipes.

There’s nobody that does this better than Alex and Lisa Pline of Annapolis Fleet 532. They’ve been instrumental in getting me involved in the class and making sure I’m having a good time. Because of folks like the Plines, we’ve got a good group of U30s who travel to all the regattas. You’ll feel like you’re back in college with these folks when you’re off the water.

After one year of sailing the Snipe, I can tell you it is a fantastic boat for anyone looking for competitive, fun racing at a price that won’t break the bank. I wouldn’t change a thing I’ve done sailing this boat for the past year, and I know I’ll be sailing it for the rest of my life. So for all of you on the fence, trust me and go get a Snipe. You won’t regret it.

For more information about Quantum Sails Snipe products and tuning resources, visit the Quantum Sails Snipe one-design page .

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Tags: Carter Cameron , education , Quantum Sails , Snipe

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The Endurance of the Snipe

  • By Dave Powlison
  • August 22, 2023

Kathryn Bornarth and crewmate Ryan Wood racing on a snipe class

It’s early April on Miami’s Biscayne Bay, with an 18-knot easterly, gnarly chop and ribbons of sargassum seaweed—tough fare for racing any boat. We’re at the 2023 Don Q Snipe Regatta , heading uphill and racing against competitors with decades of experience in the class, as well as a slew of young hotshots and some first-­timers—40 teams in all. It’s baptism by fire, my first real experience racing a Snipe. And like many who jump into the boat for the first time, I’m being served heaps of humble pie. About the only time my crew, Danielle Wiletsky, and I see the top of the fleet is when we cross paths on opposite legs of the course.

The upside is that we have a ringside seat to their techniques. At one point, we watch as the eventual regatta-winning team of Ernesto Rodriguez and Kathleen Tocke round the weather mark. He hands her the tiller extension and mainsheet, slides back to clear weeds off the rudder, then takes over again. Blink and we’ll miss it.

“It’s something we’ve practiced,” Rodriguez tells me afterward.

Then it’s back to the business of riding waves, Tocke at times with her face almost at the headstay when going down waves, then rapidly sliding aft as the ride nears its end. It’s the product of years of muscle memory, and Tocke and Rodriguez are clearly in sync. Tocke, who first sailed the Snipe in 2008, says they don’t talk much on their boat. “Occasionally, he’ll tell me to hike harder,” she adds, “not because I’m not, but more as encouragement.”

Soon they’re a speck on the horizon as we plod our way upwind to the mark.

We’re not alone at the humble-pie buffet. Here at the Don Q, scores of top-notch sailors, ex-collegiate and otherwise, come with high expectations only to leave with egos battered and bruised by class veterans, many old enough to be their parents. Rodriguez has been at this for more than two decades. Plus, he regularly trains with the likes of Hall of Famer Augie Diaz, who has been in the class for 56 years and won more Snipe championships than space allows here, and Peter Commette, 36 years in the class, a former Olympian, a Laser world champion, and keeper of his share of big-time Snipe titles as well. “They taught me a lot,” Rodriguez says. “I’m still part of that group, and we always go back and forth with information, sharing a lot about tuning and ways to best sail the boat.”

The Don Q was started by class icon Gonzalo Diaz in 1966 and named after its rum sponsor. It’s been held every year since, even during the pandemic. As boats set up at the host Coconut Grove Sailing Club, with the overflow at the US Sailing Center to the north, it’s impossible not to notice the number of 30-somethings—not only as crew, but also skippers.

At a gathering at a recent Snipe event, Augie Diaz asked, “How many here are under 30?” Over half raised their hands.

Carter Cameron and crew David Perez

So, how is it that a 1931 design is still going strong? With its 380-pound hull, unstylishly high boom, and an off-wind setup requiring a whisker pole, it’s a quirky boat that doesn’t align with modern metrics for success. Cue the Snipe class promotional video and enter Gonzalo Diaz, affectionately known as “Old Man.” Born in 1930, his Snipe career began in Havana at age 15. He left Cuba in 1965, settled in Miami, joined the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, and began working his magic in the local Snipe fleet.

“He was the kind of fleet-builder who spent a lot of his private time helping people get into Snipes,” says his son, Augie. About 30 years ago, he started a rent-to-own program. “He’d get a boat and pretty much let a prospective owner say how much they wanted to rent the boat for. The rental fee went toward the boat’s purchase. If it took them five years to pay the boat off, that was fine with him. If it took 10 years, that was fine too.” Augie admits that it’s tough to tell just how many boats his father ran through this program, but he ­estimates it’s well over 30.

“It’s a great way to promote the boat,” says Alex Pline, of Annapolis, “because those renting boats have skin in the game. The longer they rent the boat, the more they have invested in it and the less likely they are to give that all up.”

There are rumors about a Miami-area warehouse full of an ­unsubstantiated number of Snipes—usually in the double digits—and it’s clear who the supplier is.

Pline’s fleet adopted a version of the Old Man’s program in 2021. His wife, Lisa, says: “I love stealing good ideas. We’re on our third boat and our fourth person, who just got busy with other stuff. But we were able to turn that boat over pretty quickly.”

Rodriguez, also from Cuba, was a Laser sailor who met Old Man shortly after arriving in the States. “He gave me a boat to use for free and helped me out in a bunch of ways, including getting me in ­regattas when I couldn’t afford it.”

Greg Saldana, another Old Man recruit, had never sailed a Snipe but showed enough interest to catch Diaz’s attention. “We met at the US Sailing Center when there were just trailers and a bunch of boats. Here comes this little guy in a van. He gets out, and he’s carrying a briefcase, pen and a piece of paper, ready for me to sign. I said, ‘Wait a minute. Before I sign, can we first go sailing?’ He really didn’t want to because it was really hot out, but we went. We didn’t even get out of the channel when he said, ‘You’re going to do fine. Let’s go back.’ And I signed.”

Rogelio Padron and Vladimir Sola racing a snipe class sailboat

The list goes on, and although Old Man passed away in early March 2023, Augie carries on his father’s legacy. “He had a love for the class that was infectious. I don’t know how many people I’ve brought into the class,” he says, “but I’ll always be behind the number my father brought in. I keep trying to catch up to him. I don’t keep count. I’m just going to keep doing what’s good for the class.”

There are rumors about a Miami-area warehouse full of an ­unsubstantiated number of Snipes—usually in the double digits—and it’s clear who the supplier is. As my crew observed, “It seems almost every boat here was either owned by Augie or is being ­borrowed from him for this event.”

That includes us. We quickly get a taste of another component of the Snipe’s continued success as Pline comes over while we are setting up the boat. He helps us get the rig base settings correct, and Andrew Pimental, the US Snipe builder who is right next to us in the parking area, jumps in as well.

“Everyone’s always helping each other,” says Charlie Bess, who crewed with Enrique Quintero to take second in the Don Q. “It doesn’t matter if it’s someone’s first time in the class or someone who’s been around for decades. You can ask them anything.”

The assistance doesn’t end in the boat park. Just after the start of the first race, our hiking stick universal breaks, and as we are approaching the club dock, two people rush to see what had happened. It’s Saldana and his crew, Grace Fang. “We got out to the end of the channel and decided we didn’t want to deal with those conditions,” Fang tells us. They quickly offer up the tiller and hiking stick from their boat, and we make it out for the second race. With a no-throw-out series, it was a tough way to start a regatta, but the hospitality put it all into perspective.

Later that evening, I was about to deal with our universal repair when I find our original tiller and hiking stick back in our boat, repaired and ready for the next day, no doubt the work of Saldana and Fang. We discover later that Saldana was Old Man’s regular crew and close friend for many years. Saldana and Fang are not here just for the racing either.

“We couldn’t attend the memorial for Old Man,” Fang says, “but we thought just being here for this event would be a good way to honor him. I think there are others here for the same reason.”

On the water, top Snipe sailor Jato Ocariz serves as the fleet coach, coming alongside boats between races to offer advice. On the second day, with the wind now around 15 but still a strong chop, he has us sail upwind so he can check our setup. “Put two more turns on your shrouds and move your jib leads back,” he says. And just like that, we are able to point better and log our best finish, just about midfleet.

One of the class’s most successful endeavors is recruiting younger sailors. Bess is a self-confessed poster child for the effort. “When I was 15, Augie sent me an email, along with around 10 other juniors in our program. He got us a boat, provided coaching and helped us out. That’s how I got into the class,” Bess says. Now she’s the Miami Snipe fleet captain and on the class’s “next gen” committee, which focuses on attracting 30-somethings. “The idea behind it is that a lot of people do junior sailing, then college sailing, graduate and discover they have no place to go. We try to make the point that we are that next step.”

Snipe class race in Miami

What is it about the Snipe that appeals to that demographic? For starters, there’s a practical component. Commette says: “Over the last 20 years, people have won Snipe world championships in boats that were 10 to 15 years old. I just sold a 1998 boat I wasn’t racing anymore. It’s one of the best boats I’ve ever sailed, and it could win a world championship easy. That’s the great thing about the Snipe. You can get an old boat and be competitive. You can get a used Jibe Tech or Persson for $5K, put some time into it, a couple of hundred dollars to update lines and things, and win a Worlds with it. That’s what makes it so fantastic for young kids.”

The boat is also a technical step up from junior and college sailing boats, but not so much that it’s intimidating. The spreaders can be adjusted to accommodate a range of crew weights, the mast can be moved fore and aft at deck level with a lever or block-and-tackle system, and there are the usual jib and main controls. Class veterans Carol Cronin and crew Kim Couranz are at the lighter end of the weight spectrum, which, according to Diaz, is optimally around 315 to 320 pounds, making it well within reach for mixed-gender teams and smaller teams. “There are enough controls that you can customize the boat to how heavy you are and how tall you are,” Cronin says. “Like the Star, the bendy mast keeps the boat exciting to sail. It takes a little more technique, but it also means you can tune the mast to fit a wider variety of weights.” Despite a breezy first two days, Cronin and Couranz finish ninth overall.

Then there’s the class motto: “Serious sailing, serious fun.” That appeals to the younger crowd. “I’ve always thought it sounds a little cheesy,” Bess says, but it’s entirely accurate. Taylor Schuermann, who crews for Diaz, says: “There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, now more than ever, from that group. We have a WhatsApp group, and on Monday and Tuesday people are already asking, ‘Who’s going out this weekend?’ People are chomping at the bit to practice, sail together, and really put in that effort. Then when you show up to a regatta, no matter how long you’ve been in the class, it feels like a family reunion.”

And like a reunion, there are always those moments when you remember who is absent. Fittingly, the regatta’s Saturday night Cuban dinner includes a celebration of Old Man’s life, with photos, videos and a lot of storytelling.

“It’s all about peer groups,” Lisa Pline says, “and keeping it fun and competitive.”

Carter Cameron got into the lease-to-own program in Annapolis, says Evan Hoffman, the current Snipe class secretary. “All of a sudden, he started inviting all of his friends and became sort of a lightning rod for the fleet. Now he’s in San Diego, working for Quantum, and he’s doing the same kind of thing there.”

There is a downside, however, to the youth recruiting scheme, Pline says. “Every time we bring a new kid into the class, I think, ‘Oh, great, another kid who’s going to kick my ass.’”

The class also hosts under-30 regattas. “We found that if you can get a younger person interested in a Snipe, they’ll get other people their own age interested as well,” Pline says. “The U30 events really help with that. The idea is that it’s a regatta for younger people—it’s the older generation, if you will, reaching out to younger sailors, loaning boats for the event, doing whatever we can to make it successful.”

Over the years, the Snipe has withstood a lot of competition from startup classes that have the mentality of keeping it simple and easy.

Over the years, the Snipe has withstood a lot of competition from startup classes that have the mentality of keeping it simple, easy, and all the things that would make it a Laser-like doublehanded boat. “But the problem is,” Commette says, “that’s a dumbed-down type of sailing. While the Laser has excelled for what it is, it doesn’t teach you how to do so many other things necessary to become a really good all-around sailor. With the Snipe, you learn so much more, which is why so many America’s Cup champions, so many Olympians, so many other world champions have had significant Snipe experience.”

“One of the things that’s always appealed to me,” Cronin says, “is that, if you look at Old Man and Augie, you realize, ‘I can keep doing this for a long time, if I stay fit and stay interested.’”

I can relate. As a late adopter to the Snipe myself—let’s just say a few years past my retirement—I now know firsthand from the Don Q that I’ve got a long way to go to get to the front of the Snipe fleet. Thankfully, I’m guided by Old Man’s legacy and the efforts of many others in the class. Keep at it, ask the right questions, and someday I might be within shouting distance of Rodriguez. I’m sure many of the new kids in the class hope for the same.

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Boat Sailor

Snipe sailing boat: a thrilling adventure on the waters.

snipe sailing boat

Ahoy there, fellow sailing enthusiasts! If you’re ready to embark on an exhilarating journey across the waters, look no further than the Snipe sailing boat. In this article, I’ll guide you through the captivating world of Snipe sailing, offering insights, recommendations, and a sprinkle of personal experience to make your sailing ventures unforgettable.

Introduction to Snipe Sailing

Sailing, for many, is not just a hobby but a passion that transcends the mundane. The Snipe sailing boat, born out of this passion, has been capturing the hearts of sailors since its inception. Let’s delve into the basics of what makes Snipe sailing a unique and thrilling experience.

History and Origin

The genesis of snipe sailing: a visionary design.

In the early 20th century, the inception of Snipe sailing can be traced back to the visionary boat designer, William Crosby. With a specific goal in mind, Crosby sought to craft a small, affordable, and competitive racing sailboat that would be easily manageable by a crew of two. This marked the genesis of the Snipe sailboat.

The Birth of the Snipe: Design and Creation

In 1931, after meticulous planning and design work, Crosby completed the blueprint for the Snipe. The first boat was constructed in his boat shop located in San Diego, California. The name “Snipe” was chosen as a nod to the agile and fast-flying game bird, symbolizing the boat’s intended characteristics of speed and agility. The boat’s design aimed to allow for easy trailering and launching, adding a layer of accessibility to its appeal.

Rapid Growth and Competitive Spirit: Snipe Class Emerges

The Snipe quickly gained popularity for its exceptional sailing performance and affordability. In 1932, recognizing its international appeal, the International Snipe Class Association (ISCA) was established. The inaugural Snipe Class National Championship took place in 1934, setting the stage for the class’s growth and competitive spirit.

Global Recognition: The International Snipe Class Association

The global appeal of the Snipe led to the formation of the International Snipe Class Association in 1932. The first World Championship was held in 1947, solidifying the Snipe’s status as a globally recognized and competitive sailing class.

Design Evolution and Enduring Characteristics

While the Snipe class has seen some modifications to enhance performance and durability over the years, the fundamental characteristics of the boat have remained consistent. The strict adherence to a one-design philosophy ensures that all Snipe boats are essentially identical, placing the emphasis on sailors’ skill and tactics rather than equipment.

A Global Phenomenon: Snipe Sailing Around the World

Snipe sailing has transcended borders, with fleets and championships held in numerous countries globally. The class has produced accomplished sailors who have transitioned to compete in prestigious sailing events. The boat’s versatility and accessibility make it a popular choice for sailors of varying skill levels, contributing to its enduring global appeal.

Preserving Tradition: The Thriving Snipe Community

Today, the Snipe class continues to thrive, boasting a vibrant community of sailors dedicated to preserving the traditions and competitive spirit of this historic sailboat. The enduring popularity of the Snipe is a testament to William Crosby’s vision, which successfully created an affordable and exciting racing boat that has withstood the test of time.

Snipe Sailing Boat Design

The devil is in the details, they say. In the case of Snipe sailing, the design of the boat plays a crucial role in its performance. Let’s break down the anatomy of a Snipe sailing boat, exploring its design elements and how they contribute to an unmatched sailing experience.

Choosing the Right Snipe Boat

Not all Snipe boats are created equal. Choosing the right one for your sailing adventures involves considering various factors. From size to material, I’ll navigate through the key aspects that will help you make an informed decision.

Choosing the right Snipe boat is a crucial decision that involves considering various factors to ensure a good fit for your sailing preferences and skill level. Here is a guide on how to select the right Snipe boat:

Determine Your Skill Level:

  • Consider your sailing experience and skill level. If you are a beginner, you may want a boat that is forgiving and easy to handle. Experienced sailors may prefer a high-performance option.

New or Used:

  • Decide whether you want to purchase a new or used Snipe boat. New boats offer the latest design features, while used boats can be more budget-friendly. Carefully inspect used boats for any signs of damage or wear.

Budget Considerations:

  • Establish a budget for your Snipe boat purchase. This should include not only the cost of the boat but also any additional equipment, maintenance, and potential upgrades.

One-Design Class Compliance:

  • Ensure that the Snipe boat you are considering complies with the one-design class rules. The strict one-design nature of the Snipe class means that all boats should be essentially identical, focusing on skill rather than boat performance.

Check the Hull and Rigging:

  • Inspect the hull for any signs of damage, delamination, or repairs. Check the rigging, including the mast, boom, and standing rigging, for wear and tear. A well-maintained hull and rigging contribute to the boat’s overall performance and safety.

Sails and Equipment:

  • Assess the condition of the sails. If the boat comes with multiple sets, evaluate their condition and choose the set that aligns with your sailing needs. Check the boat’s equipment, including the rudder, centerboard, and any additional gear that may be included.

Sail Number and Measurement Certificate:

  • Verify that the boat has a valid measurement certificate issued by the International Snipe Class Association (ISCA). The sail number should match the certificate. This ensures that the boat meets class standards.
  • Whenever possible, take the boat for a test sail. This allows you to assess how it handles on the water and whether it meets your expectations in terms of performance and comfort.

Research the Boat’s History:

  • If purchasing a used boat, inquire about its history. Know how many owners it has had, any significant races or events it has participated in, and if it has undergone any major repairs or modifications.

Consult with Snipe Class Experts:

  • Seek advice from experienced Snipe sailors or class experts. They can provide valuable insights into the specific characteristics of different boats and help you make an informed decision.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a Snipe boat that aligns with your sailing goals and provides an enjoyable and competitive experience on the water.

Essential Gear and Equipment

Setting sail without the proper gear is like embarking on a quest without a map. We’ll discuss the essential gear and equipment every Snipe sailor should have on board, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

Mainsail and Jib

These are the primary sails for the Snipe. Ensure they are in good condition, without excessive wear or damage. It’s common for sailors to have multiple sets of sails for different wind conditions.

Mast and Rigging:

Check the mast for any signs of damage or corrosion. Ensure the rigging, including shrouds and forestay, is secure and properly tensioned.

Centerboard and Rudder:


Ensure the centerboard is functioning properly and is free of any damage. It should move smoothly within the trunk.

Check the rudder for wear and ensure that it moves freely. Confirm that the tiller and extension are in good condition.

Lines and Sheets:

Halyards and Sheets

Inspect all lines for fraying or wear. Halyards raise and lower the sails, while sheets control sail trim. Make sure they run smoothly through blocks and are properly secured.

Buoyancy Bags:

Buoyancy Bags or Bags

These inflatable bags are placed inside the hull to provide buoyancy in case of a capsize. They contribute to the self-rescue ability of the boat.

PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices):

Snipe Sailing Boat

A Coast Guard-approved life jacket must be worn by each person on board. Ensure they are in good condition and properly sized for all crew members.

Safety Equipment:

Snipe Sailing Boat

Essential for signaling on the water.

Snipe Sailing Boat

A throwable rescue line that can be used in case of emergencies.

Snipe Sailing Boat

Basic medical supplies for addressing minor injuries.

Bailers and Sponge:

Snipe Sailing Boat

Trapeze Harness

Snipe Sailing Boat

Tiller Extension

A longer extension allows the helmsman to steer comfortably while hiking out.

Snipe Sailing Boat

Before each sailing session, conduct a thorough check of all equipment to ensure everything is in working order. Regular maintenance and prompt replacement of worn or damaged items contribute to a safer and more enjoyable Snipe sailing experience.

Snipe Sailing Techniques

Sailing is an art, and mastering the techniques can turn a good sailor into a great one. Learn the ropes (quite literally!) of Snipe sailing techniques, from tacking to jibing , and discover how to harness the wind for an effortless glide.

Maintenance Tips

Like any vessel, Snipe boats require care and attention. I’ll share some practical maintenance tips to keep your Snipe sailing boat in top-notch condition, ensuring longevity and optimal performance.

Popular Snipe Sailing Destinations

The world is your oyster when you’re sailing on a Snipe boat. Explore some of the most breathtaking and popular Snipe sailing destinations worldwide, each offering a unique blend of challenges and scenic beauty.

Snipe sailing is enjoyed by enthusiasts around the world, and there are numerous popular destinations where Snipe sailors gather for competitions and recreational sailing. Some of the most well-known and beloved Snipe sailing destinations include:

San Diego, California, USA

San Diego holds historical significance as the birthplace of the Snipe class. The area boasts a strong Snipe sailing community, and the picturesque waters of San Diego Bay provide an excellent venue for both local and international events.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil has a thriving Snipe sailing scene, and Rio de Janeiro is a hotspot for Snipe regattas. The challenging conditions of Guanabara Bay make it a favorite destination for competitive sailors.

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

With its beautiful beaches and favorable sailing conditions, Riviera Nayarit in Mexico is a popular destination for Snipe sailors. The area hosts various regattas that attract participants from Mexico and beyond.

Lagos, Portugal

The Algarve region, particularly around Lagos, is known for its stunning coastline and reliable winds, making it a favorite among Snipe sailors. Portugal has hosted several Snipe World Championships.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, with its rich maritime history, is a popular destination for Snipe sailors. The Mediterranean waters around Barcelona offer diverse conditions for both recreational sailing and competitive events.

Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda, located in the Italian Alps, is renowned for its consistent and strong winds. The lake often hosts international Snipe regattas, attracting sailors from all over Europe and beyond.

Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cienfuegos, situated on Cuba’s southern coast, is a rising star in the Snipe sailing world. The warm waters of the Caribbean and the enthusiasm of the local sailing community make it an inviting destination.

Tokyo Bay, Japan

With the inclusion of sailing in the Olympic Games, Tokyo Bay gained prominence as a sailing destination. It has become a hub for various sailing classes, including Snipe events.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina has a strong tradition in Snipe sailing, and Buenos Aires is a focal point for regattas and championships. The challenging conditions of the Rio de la Plata add excitement to the sailing experience.

Lake Eustis, Florida, USA

Lake Eustis in Florida is a popular destination for Snipe sailors in the United States. The lake hosts regional and national Snipe events, attracting participants from across the country.

These destinations offer a mix of stunning natural surroundings, diverse sailing conditions, and vibrant sailing communities, making them appealing for Snipe sailors seeking both competitive racing and recreational sailing experiences.

Racing in Snipe Class

For the competitive souls out there, Snipe sailing offers a vibrant racing scene. Discover the thrill of racing in Snipe class events, where tactics, skill, and a bit of adrenaline come together for an unforgettable experience.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Smooth sailing isn’t always guaranteed. Explore the challenges that Snipe sailors may face and gain valuable insights on overcoming these hurdles, turning them into opportunities for growth and skill enhancement.

Community and Events

Sailing is not just a solitary activity—it’s a community. Discover the vibrant Snipe sailing community and explore the events that bring like-minded sailors together, fostering camaraderie and shared passion.

Snipe Sailing Etiquette

Every community has its own set of unwritten rules. Delve into the etiquette of Snipe sailing, ensuring you navigate the waters with respect for fellow sailors and the environment.

In conclusion, Snipe sailing isn’t just a sport—it’s a way of life. As you embark on your own Snipe sailing journey, may the winds be ever in your favor. Happy sailing!

Is Snipe sailing suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! Snipe sailing is welcoming to beginners, and many sailing schools offer courses to get you started.

How do I choose the right Snipe boat size?

Consider factors like your sailing experience, crew size, and the type of waters you’ll be navigating. Consult with experienced sailors for personalized advice.

Are there Snipe sailing events for families?

Yes, many Snipe sailing events are family-friendly, creating an enjoyable experience for sailors of all ages.

What’s the typical lifespan of a Snipe sailing boat?

With proper maintenance, a Snipe boat can last for many years, providing countless hours of sailing enjoyment.

Can I participate in Snipe sailing races as a solo sailor?

While it’s more common to sail with a crew, some events may allow solo participants. Check the specific rules of the racing event you’re interested in.

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Michael Thompson

Embarking on a lifelong love affair with the sea, I found solace and exhilaration in the art of sailing. From navigating treacherous waters to harnessing the wind's untamed power, my passion has evolved into a mission to inspire others. Join me on a voyage of discovery as we explore the vast horizons of sailing's timeless allure.

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Snipe Rigging???????

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We have been given an older Snipe racing dinghy, circa 1974. It is in good shape and was obviously raced quite a bit at some point in its history. This boat has all sorts of fine tuning hardware for the rigging and we have had fun figuring out what everything does. One thing that has me completely baffled though is how to tighten the forestay. There is a bracket at the bow that has 6 or 8 holes in it where you can hook the forestay. Even on the very lowest hole the forstay is still slack. There is no adjustment on the top of the mast and tightening the shrouds only helps partially. The only way to get the forestay tight is to rake the mast pretty far aft, and this doesn't seem like the right answer. Under the deck there are a couple of rods that attach to a bracket on the back side of the mast. These allow you to adjust the mast fore and aft, port and starboard. A friend of mine thinks that since this system is supporting the mast the forestay doesn't have to be all that tight. This doesn't seem right to me. I found a tuning guide on the internet but it was obviously written for someone who already knows quite a bit about sailing (not me). So is there anyone out there who can shed some light on this for me? Thanks  

snipe sailboat rigging

the crappy video shows a link tang on the fore stay and what looks like a turnbuckle on the shroud. you adjust the forstay for the mast rake you want ( for the days wind pressure ) and then adjust the shrouds for rig tension. back in the day when I raced the snipe we left some slack in the shrould tension so the mast would bend forward during the downwind and on the upwind the forstay would be tight when you sheet in on the main. Rigging a sailboat, Snipe pt 2 08 - YouTube  

overbored said: you adjust the forstay for the mast rake you want ( for the days wind pressure ) and then adjust the shrouds for rig tension. v=pIh-qK8maMk]Rigging a sailboat, Snipe pt 2 08 - YouTube[/url] Click to expand...

there is also this tuning notes which has some measurments for mast rake Destination One Design - Preparation  

snipe sailboat rigging

Hope you can see this link: Tuning Your Rig - UK-Halsey's Encyclopedia of Sails I owned a Lightning 19' sailboat for a few years that had also been rigged for racing. I too was surprised by the aft rake of the mast when I set it up. My Lightning had a similar sounding mast step that was adjustable but I never adjusted it to try to get a more vertical mast. My understanding is that the aft rake (towards the stern) is a setting that is used to keep the boat from having too much weather helm in higher winds so I left it that way. I never any winds much more then 15 - 20 in that boat and it performed like a thoroughbred except the aft rake meant that the boom was a tad low(er). Even in winds as light as 2 knots the Lightning would still move faster then any keel boat. My advice is to try it as it is before attempting to correct something that may already be pretty well set up. Bending the mast aft brings the center of effort aft and closer to the center board. If you need to tighten the fore stay consider tightening the back stay to do so. Watch out for a low boom and a fast boat. My $.02  

The Lighting rig has a lot more aft rake designed into it than than a Snipe rig . and he won't be able to tighten the backstay as suggested because a Snipe does not have one. it has swept back spreaders and aft mounted shrouds to take the downwind loads  

Actually, my the shrouds on my Snipe are mounted just aft of the deck, and I have no backstays of any kind. I think I will try as sugested and just rake the mast until the forestay is tight, and then sail the dumb thing. Thanks for all the advice.  

We have a snipe, it is old but works well. The fore stay, if the jib has not been rigged will be loose. Not until you put the jib on and tension that will the shrouds go taught. Our jib is tensioned using a muscle box on the floor of the boat. varying tension on your jib will allow more or less flex in your mast. The fore stay cable will be very loose, and is supposed to be when you tension the jib sail.  

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Snipe Sailboat Parts & Equipment


Class Description

The Snipe is popular for many reasons. The Snipe class motto is: Serious Sailing, Serious fun. This boat is a classical beauty that sails well and handles safely even in heavy wind conditions. The purchase price of Snipe Sailboatsis attractive and the boat keeps it's value and racing performance for years. The tactical challenges and tight one-design class racing provided by the snipe class attracts some of the best sailors in the world. World champions from other classes of sailboats can frequently be found fight for a spot on the starting line at championship snipe regattas. At the same time, the Snipe class is know for being friendly and accomadating to a wide range of sailors. You will likely find sailors of every age range competing against each other at a snipe regatta. The Snipe is a hard chined double handed dinghy that handles well in a variety of wind ranges. �The boat's bendy rig and simple sail plan allow a broad range of crew combinations and weights, and the technical aspects of the Snipe make it a fun and challenging boat for all levels of competition. The Snipe Class International Racing Association (SCIRA) is a widely popular and well run organisation that covers most of the world. There are strong local fleets throughout the US and international events take place in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The Snipe Class offers a fully packed racing calendar, with local regattas, beginner events, international regattas, and national and world championships.

Class Specs

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  1. Snipe Rigging 101

    3. Tightening headstay (to keep it out of the way while sailing, especially important for jibes) 3. Optional: Tensioning line tails under the side decks. Whisker pole. Of all the Snipe rigging challenges, this is probably the hardest to get right because there are so many variables. And rigging it so it works easily is crucial—for every level ...


    THE SNIPE 4. SAILING 5. THE TRIM 6. SAILING CLOSE-HAULED 7. TACKING 8. REACHING 9. RUNNING 10. GYBING 11. THE DOCK 12. HEAVE TO 13. SAFETY 14. CAPSIZE 15. RACING ESSENTIALS ... Make adjustments of the mast positions, rig tension, sail trim or weight distributions so the boat sails faster. Weather side- Same as windward side. Wind direction ...

  3. How to Rig a Snipe: Stepping the Mast

    Alex Pline explains how to rig a Snipe.Part 1: Stepping the mast on a Persson SnipeThanks to Alex and Lisa Pline (Annapolis Snipe Fleet)


    SNIPE RIGGING 101 PREPARING & SAILING A SNIPE. SNIPE / TUNING GUIDE It is important to get the basic measurement of the rig correct so that you only have to make minor adjustments on the water. To begin, first identify your mast type. MAST TYPES The masts that work best are the so-called "bendy masts." The most

  5. Snipe Deck Layout

    Class History This popular racing dinghy has an active international class association that attracts some of the best sailors in the world. The boat's bendy rig and simple sail plan allows a broad range of crew combinations and weights to make this modern, tactical racer great fun to sail. LinksInternational Snipe ClassMcLube™Harken Canvas Boat Specifications LOA: 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m)LWL: 13 ...


    Make sure that your hull is minimum weight (381 lbs.) and that it is as smooth as possible. Fill and fair all imperfections in the hull. Pay special attention to the area around the bailer. Most top sailors sharpen the last 4-5' of the chines and the intersection of the transom and hull in the back of the boat.

  7. SNIPE

    SNIPE. Save to Favorites . Beta Marine. BOTH. US IMPERIAL ... (Verses ** S.A. (100% Fore + Main Triangles) which is the area as defined by the rig measurements.) S.A. (reported) can differ depending on the size of the head sail used to calculate the S.A. Sailboat Rigging Diagram. ShipCanvas. KiwiGrip. Bruntons. Rudder Craft. Latell Evolution ...

  8. Complete Snipe Tuning Guide

    Complete Snipe Tuning Guide - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. snipe dingie tuning

  9. Snipe

    Snipe is a 15′ 5″ / 4.7 m monohull sailboat designed by William F. Crosby and built by Lillia (Cantiere Nautico Lillia), Schock W.D., Grampian Marine, Nickels Boat Works, Inc., Helms - Jack A. Helms Co., Jibetech, Aubin, AX Boats, Eichenlaub Boat Co., and Loftland Sail-craft Inc. starting in 1931. ... Rig and Sails. Type Sloop Reported Sail ...

  10. Snipe (dinghy)

    A Snipe sailing. The Snipe is a racing sailboat, with early examples built with wooden hulls and more recent ones with hulls made from fiberglass. It has a fractional sloop rig, a spooned raked stem, an angled transom, a transom-hung rudder controlled by a tiller with an extension and a retractable daggerboard. It displaces 380 lb (172 kg).

  11. Getting started in the Snipe Class >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

    Sailing the Snipe with a little bit of leeward heel−no more than 5 degrees−puts the chine in the water and creates lift to help overcome its less efficient daggerboard. Tunable Rig The Snipe ...

  12. Rigging a sailboat, Snipe pt.1 08

    John and Deborah Rigging a sailboat, Snipe 08

  13. The Endurance of the Snipe

    On the water, top Snipe sailor Jato Ocariz serves as the fleet coach, coming alongside boats between races to offer advice. On the second day, with the wind now around 15 but still a strong chop ...

  14. Snipe Sailing Boat: A Thrilling Adventure on the Waters

    The Genesis of Snipe Sailing: A Visionary Design. In the early 20th century, the inception of Snipe sailing can be traced back to the visionary boat designer, William Crosby. With a specific goal in mind, Crosby sought to craft a small, affordable, and competitive racing sailboat that would be easily manageable by a crew of two.

  15. Snipe Rigging???????

    Rigging a sailboat, Snipe pt 2 08 - YouTube "FULL TILT II" 2011 BENETEAU FIRST 30 "GOLD RUSH" PRINDLE 16 "SEA GIRLS GO" '64 Naples Sabot ... The Lighting rig has a lot more aft rake designed into it than than a Snipe rig . and he won't be able to tighten the backstay as suggested because a Snipe does not have one. it has swept back ...

  16. Snipe Sailboat Parts and Equipment

    Sail Area (ft2/m2) 128. 11.8. Weight (lbs/kg) 381. 173. Discover top-quality Snipe sailboat parts and equipment at MAURIPRO Sailing. From high-performance sails to reliable rigging, find everything you need to optimize your Snipe for speed and reliability. Benefit from expert guidance, competitive prices, and free shipping on orders over $99.