LIGHT WIND SNIPE SAILING

Upwind

In light wind, we do not recommend light teams having a tension less than 18 on the gauge.  Smaller teams require more pre-bend.  If there is a puff, it will be more difficult to flatten boat and get maximum acceleration from the pressure. 

Skippers should be careful not to over-trim the main.  New Snipe sailors from the Laser class usually trim the main too tight in light conditions.  Watch the telltales on the main.  A guide for trimming the main in light air - if the leeward line of the bridle of the mainsheet is taut (no slack), your mainsheet is too tight. 

In light air, the jib is usually eased 5 cm - 7.5 cm (2" - 3" ) from the spreader.  In extremely light conditions it can be more eased. 

Roll tack the boat in light air, but be patient, because the boat is heavy and will turn very slowly.

Upwind

IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG

The crew is responsible for the angle of the boat.  In light conditions it is okay to have a little heel to leeward. Unfortunately, this will result in the crew sitting in uncomfortable positions in the boat.  When the crew moves to the leeward side of the boat, they will face backwards and therefore the skipper should communicate tactical and wind information to the crew.  The crew should still turn forward to check the jib trim when they sense a change in pressure.  Even in the lightest of wind, the crew should not sit on the leeward deck.  It is impossible to trim the jib properly in this position.   

 

The outhaul should be tight, but not at its maximum.  There should be some jib cloth on, but allowing small wrinkles in the jib.  If you have an old mainsail, you will still need some main cunningham.  To give the boat more power, the mast can be pulled back a little using the aft puller. Pull on a little vang.  This will help give the leech some power/snap when you rolled tack.  When the crew is finally sitting on the windward rail (deck) pull on the vang, just until the slack is out.

Downwind

RESIST SAILING TOO HIGH

The crew needs to be very smooth with their movements when launching and jibing the pole in light wind.  When launching the pole, the last bit should go slowly, so the rig doesn't shake.  If the wind is very light, the skipper will not ease the jib halyard all the way.  Too much jib sag is not fast in light wind.

The mast can be pulled back downwind (aft puller), but must go forward again before turning upwind.  Vang should be very loose.  Outhaul, jib cloth, and main cunningham are off.

The skipper should tell the crew how far to leeward they want them to sit.  The crew sits very forward, close to the shroud and the skipper usually moves forward, sitting on the cleats for the control lines, near the jib cleat (we know, not comfortable).

The Snipe is heavy making it difficult for both the skipper and crew to feel the boat downwind.  This becomes easier with more Snipe experience.  New Snipe skippers usually want to sail higher downwind, because it feels better.  This is not good and does not end well tactically, stay low.

BE PATIENT & SMOOTH