SNIPES ARE A LOT OF WORK, BUT FUN IN BIG BREEZE
Heavy Air Set-up
DEPOWER & HIKE!
If you know it will be a very windy day, shorten your spreaders before going on the water and be sure to put pins in your spreaders. This can help prevent your mast from inverting.
Before the start, be sure you are at your strong wind setting (16 - 20+ knots). Women will arrive at this setting before heavier teams teams. Depending on your forestay length, it may be too hard to get that much tension on land. It will be easier on the water.
To be safe and to help prevent your mast from inverting, while sailing upwind, lock your mast by pulling the slack out of both the forward puller and the after puller. Light teams will sail with the mast very far forward (near the front of the partners). Let the mast go to that position and lock it in place.
THE VANG IS YOUR FRIEND - HIKE
In heavy air, the outhaul and main cunningham should be pulled to the maximum. The jib cloth should be pulled until there are no wrinkles in the jib.
You will need to hike a lot. You will use a lot of vang, pulling it on more in the major puffs. It is possible to use too much vang. If you have too much vang, you will feel stuck, not able to put the bow down. It will feel like the bow always wants to head up too much.
Crews be careful not to have the jib too tight - 2.5cm - 6cm (1" - 2.5") from the edge of the spreaders is usually good. Ease the jib a little in major puffs. Skippers need to play the mainsail, easing and trimming to keep the boat flat. Do not cleat the main. If you are easing the main constantly, you should also ease your jib leads (2.5 cm - 4cm/3/4" - 1.5").
If your boat has a traveler, you can ease it down some. This should help with forward speed and you won't fight the boat as much. You will know if you have eased too much traveler, if you gain forward speed, but lose height against the boats around you.
THE POLE MUST NOT TOUCH THE WATER
The vang must be eased before you round the windward mark, so that the mast does not invert. Hike hard around the mark and when the boat is stable, launch the pole. The pole is much harder to launch with strong wind and the crew may need to help the skipper cleat the jib sheet.
Once the pole is out, ease the control lines and jib halyard, but do not pull the mast back. Keep it neutral. Pull the board up to the normal downwind position. You may want to put the board down to the reaching position for the jibe.
On the downwind, the crew is responsible for bow maintenance, moving forward of the vang to help initiate surfing down a wave, and moving back before the bow submarines. Be sure not to let the pole touch the water, this can cause the mast to invert.
Pulling the main across during a jibe will be more difficult. The crew should not relaunch the pole again until the boat is stable. The crew may need to help the skipper cleat the jib sheet after the pole is launched.
Take the pole down early, well before the leeward mark.
Campeonato Nacional de Portugal 2019 CNCascais © Anna Zykova
In the Snipe Class, reaching courses are usually only sailed when the winds is 15 knots or above. Reaching is a skill and if you can reach well in a Snipe, you will pass boats and have fun.
Hike hard while rounding the windward mark. The crew then pulls up the board up to the reaching position. Be sure the boat is stable and flat before pulling up the board. The skipper should stay high until there is a good moment to drive down, so that the crew can launch the pole. The crew will need to help the skipper cleat the jib sheet. The crew then puts the jib sheet under the reaching hook next to the shroud. The skipper should ease the jib halyard about 2cm (3/4").
Both the skipper and crew hike on the reaches. The crew moves in and out, controlling the heel (angle of the boat). The crew should have the pole launcher line in their hand. The crew can hold the line while hiking out for stability and be ready to release the pole if the mast begins to invert or if the boat begins to capsize.
Reach to Reach Jibes
STABILTY AND PATIENCE NEEDED
The Snipe is relatively stable through jibes in windy conditions. The crew should release the pole well before the jibe mark. The crew should stay as far to windward as possible during this time. The crew may need to help the skipper pull the mainsail across during the jibe, but the timing is very important. Don't force the jibe too much.
The crew should move to the windward side as soon as possible during the jibe and trim the jib on the new side, as soon as possible to help stabilize the boat. Moving across the boat is not easy, because the vang and daggerboard will be in your way.
After the jibe, continue without the pole. When the skipper has the opportunity to head down, the crew can launch the pole again. Be patient after the jibe and wait for the best time to launch the pole . Being out of control with the pole up is not fast.
HELP PREVENT INVERSION
In all conditions, downwind, do not let the end of your pole touch the water. It puts pressure on the mast and can cause inversion
Be sure the vang is eased before rounding the windward mark.
IN VERY STRONG WINDS
Be sure you have secondary pins in your spreaders to prevent the spreaders from inverting (see photo).
As you sail upwind, pull the slack out of mast forward and mast aft lines to lock the mast (in the position where rests naturally).
If sailing downwind, do not ease the jib halyard completely.
Do not pull the mast aft downwind.
If sailing downwind or reaching in very strong wind, pull on the jib halyard before a major gust.
Downwind, the skipper needs to watch the mast in big gusts. If it begins to invert, the crew should release the pole immediately.
Downwind and on the reach, the crew must have the pole line in their hand, ready to release at any moment (while inverting or capsizing).