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Old 29-05-2016, 19:00   #1
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What is a snipe boat? and others?

So I have been doing a TON of research on learning to sail and it looks like I have found my avenue to go with, I found a sailing club that races Snipe Class racing fleet (INSA), a multi-class racing fleet (ENSA), the Manawa Match Racing League (MMRL). I am not sure what these fleets mean or consist of. Any help?

I think the route I want to go is a 15' 1 or 2 person, learn on that and then go up from there.
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Old 29-05-2016, 19:13   #2
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

You can try using Google. You can usually sift thru that info and come close to getting all your answers.

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Old 29-05-2016, 19:28   #3
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

I have never sailed a Snipe, but it looks like a fun little 2-person boat. Note that racing Snipes will have some extra sail controls, meaning extra strings to pull. Depending on your level of interest, that might either be something nice to learn (it is), or just extra confusion for a newbie. A one-design racing fleet (Snipe or other) may be a little more serious than a multi-class racing fleet, which is probably a little more laid back, although these are generalities. Either way, if you can find somebody looking to train a crew, racing can be an excellent 'crash' course in sailing. Heh. Match racing means only two boats racing at a time, and is *very* serious and rule-oriented. Probably not for beginners.
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Old 29-05-2016, 19:50   #4
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=3162



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Old 29-05-2016, 19:55   #5
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

Thanks for the helpful info. I am starting to get a hang of the different boats.
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Old 29-05-2016, 20:16   #6
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

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Originally Posted by sandy stone View Post
I have never sailed a Snipe, but it looks like a fun little 2-person boat. Note that racing Snipes will have some extra sail controls, meaning extra strings to pull. Depending on your level of interest, that might either be something nice to learn (it is), or just extra confusion for a newbie. A one-design racing fleet (Snipe or other) may be a little more serious than a multi-class racing fleet, which is probably a little more laid back, although these are generalities. Either way, if you can find somebody looking to train a crew, racing can be an excellent 'crash' course in sailing. Heh. Match racing means only two boats racing at a time, and is *very* serious and rule-oriented. Probably not for beginners.
Very good answers above!

A Snipe can be sailed casually (as my parents did on theirs in 1960) or it can be competitively raced.
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Old 30-05-2016, 08:21   #7
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

If you find a sailing club with 420, it is an excellent boat for basic training on, with an instructor.
It is a beginners 2 person sailboat used for learning and youth racing.
Can easily keep two grown-ups.
This is what we do in the club where I keep my beach catamaran.
See the boat:
420 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
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Old 30-05-2016, 08:45   #8
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

the old lightenings were great introductory boats. Cal 20 is also up there.
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Old 30-05-2016, 09:16   #9
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

Being competitive drives your skills and teaches competence. IMHO, dinghy racing is far and away the best way to learn/hone the basics (and the not-so-basics) of sailing. My family built Snipes from kits in the mid-'70s and learned to sail by racing them.

Snipes are fun, classic boats. But as mentioned above, to be competitive, both skipper and crew need to be able to finesse a few more control lines than just the main and jib sheets. New sailors to dinghy racing need 1. to understand and exercise weight control, 2. to keep their eyes on the telltales, and 3. to watch the water for changing wind conditions and other boats--plenty for most beginners The Snipe is not nearly as complicated as other boats their size, but the "extra strings to pull" can distract a newer sailor from these essentials.

I second Mark's suggestion of a 420. These are boats built for club racing (esp. college). They have very simple, sturdy rigs and allow for a great deal of "go-fast" techniques, such as roll tacking in light air. Because the 420 is mostly a club boat, finding a used one in decent shape can be a little tricky, but they are plentiful and quite a bit cheaper than a Snipe in good competitive shape.

Two other dinghies to consider that have strong international fleets are the Lido 14, Vanguard 15, both excellent boats for continuous skill building. Keep it simple. Keep it fun!
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Old 30-05-2016, 09:23   #10
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

Snipes are not that complicated a boat (there is no spinaker), but the level of competition can be high. I would see if anyone in the local club needs a crew, which would be a great way to learn. On the other hand if you were to buy a boat, I think you would find a lot of support for a steep learning curve to become a great sailor. This is a cruisers forum, but racing adds a whole additional dimension to sailing that can be quite engaging.
I think it would be a lot of fun.
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Old 30-05-2016, 09:42   #11
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

Welcome to the sailing world, looks as though you have the bug..be careful as it is addictive..The first boat I sailed on was a Snipe and just being on the boat got me hooked..The Snipe is a comfortable boat to sail goes well on all points of sail..The best part of having one would be the class sailors and their knowledge. You cannot read about fine tuning and getting the most out of a boat..Snipe sailors have most likely been at it for a long time, what you learn in a dinghy will take you a long way in being competent at the helm..Have been at this since the late 50's and their is more pure joy sailing a dinghy than large boats..happy hunting Don Friday Harbor
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Old 30-05-2016, 10:21   #12
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

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Originally Posted by superdad88 View Post
So I have been doing a TON of research on learning to sail and it looks like I have found my avenue to go with, I found a sailing club that races Snipe Class racing fleet (INSA), a multi-class racing fleet (ENSA), the Manawa Match Racing League (MMRL). I am not sure what these fleets mean or consist of. Any help?

I think the route I want to go is a 15' 1 or 2 person, learn on that and then go up from there.
So, a Snipe is a very popular, traditional, hard-chine sloop that is sailed by two people. I think it's among the most popular designs in the U.S., or at least it was. Small, pretty wet, and fun to sail. Not an ideal learn-to-sail boat, but not bad.

I am going to take a guess at your alphabet soup:

INSA sounds like a one-design racing fleet. Everyone races Snipes, and there's no handicapping. Good way to improve your skills, especially if the tone of the racing is supportive and "family oriented" instead of being cut-throat.

ENSA sounds like a fleet that either has many one-design classes with separate starts, or it's handicapped using the Portsmouth formula. This is WAY too complicated to get into, but suffice to say that over time, racers have figured out which boats are faster than others, and by how much, and they have established handicaps so that different boats can race against one another.

MMRL is another variation but its Match Racing which has a different flavor than fleet racing. Two boats sail against each other in short races and basically try to finish first without regard to how long it takes. Lookup Match Racing on the US Sailing web site or other web site. It's a different animal, but probably not what you'd be doing for a year or two or more.

If the price to join the club is modest, and if the boats are in reasonably good shape, this sounds like an idea way to get your feet (and probably your seat of your pants) wet.

Chuck Hawley
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Old 30-05-2016, 12:42   #13
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

I bought my first sailboat, a Snipe, in the 70s because I thought it BEAUTIFUL! I'd never even been sailing! Learned a ton on that boat and loved it, but moved up a couple of years later to a small trailer sailer with auxiliary and a small cabin for cruising....

I don't think you could go far wrong with a Snipe. It sure worked for me......; at times I sailed with 3 aboard. Very manageable.....
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Old 30-05-2016, 16:21   #14
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

My first boat I actually owned was an International Snipe sailing dinghy, hard chine and, if my memory serves me correctly, was 15'2" in length. Mine must have been an antique as it had cotton sails (No. K7) and was constructed of mahogany. When I first acquired it I researched the subject but could only find mention of construction in marine ply or GRP. It was slow as but a good place to start sailing so, enjoy!
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Old 31-05-2016, 12:48   #15
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Re: What is a snipe boat? and others?

A snipe is a great boat to learn with. I bought one over 25 years ago knowing almost nothing about sailing. It has a jib and a mainsail as do most larger boats. The boat is very responsive and gives quick feedback when you do something right or wrong. Bigger boats respond the same but slower and with more momentum. I believe you can learn more and faster on a small boat such as a snipe than going out on bigger boats. I have sailing friends that skipped the small boat learning experience and are totally dependent on their motor for maneuvers that small engineless boaters have to learn. Its an inexpensive way to learn since you can probably sell it later for about what you paid for it. Good luck
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