The Snipe is a 15'6" two person IYRU International Class racing dinghy sailed in 26 countries around the world. Racing opportunities range from local club regattas to National and International Championships. Class management is through the Snipe Class International Racing Association. Emphasis is on one design racing and improvement of sailing skills rather than on design breakthroughs.
Tight design measurements and a minimum weight of 381 pounds encourage sound boat construction. A twenty five year old Snipe won the 1990 U.S. National Championship and wooden Snipes won the 1983 and 1987 World Championship. Recommended crew weight is between 270 and 325 pounds. However, the only prerequisite is a keen interest in sailboat racing. Many couple and family teams sail and race the Snipe. Recently the North American Championship and the U.S. Masters Championship were won by husband and wife teams. A father and his 11 year old son won a race during the Midwinter Championship in Florida. Active fleets in Europe, the Orient and South America have programs to make boats available for many regattas and encourage U.S. sailors to fly over and participate with them.
Championship racing in the U.S. is conducted at District and National levels. The U.S. National Championship and the North American Championship are open regattas which serve as qualifiers for International Championships. America's best sailors have raced Snipes in the World Championship, the Western Hemisphere Championship, the Pan-American Games, the Junior Worlds, Woman Worlds, and the Masters Worlds.
The U.S. National and U.S. Junior National Championships are a week long event. Typically, 60 to 80 boats compete during this mid-summer regatta. The U.S. Masters Championship and North American Championship are 4 day events held in the late summer. The locality of a Championship regatta is moved around the country so that Snipe racing is promoted throughout the U.S. There are many other excellent regattas sponsored by individual Fleets. One of the oldest and most popular is the Snipe Winter Circuit. By using two weeks of vacation during mid-March, Snipe sailors can race in the Midwinter Championship at Clearwater, Fla., the Don-Q Rum Keg Regatta at Miami, Fla., and finish in the tropical waters of the Bahamas for the Bacardi and Gamblin Series at Nassau. Other popular regattas are the Holloween Regatta, hosted by the Atlanta Yacht Club, after which the conversation on the way home centers on the costume party. St. Petersburg Yacht Club's Dead of Winter Regatta, held on New Year's Weekend, is gaining popularity as is Bermuda Race Week. The list goes on and space prohibits descriptions of other U.S. events and the extensive European and South American schedules. The World Masters Championship for 2008 will be held in Sweden in August, preceded by the Scandinavian Open Championship.
Locally, Fleet 001 at White Rock Lake is part of Snipe District II which has 12 fleets and 200 active members. District II hosts 8 to 10 sanctioned regattas annually. Major regattas such as the Southwestern, District Championship, Firewater, Rocky Mountain Championship, and Joe Ramel draw 10 to 30 boats. Although the Snipe Class offers serious racing on the water there is still time for fun off the water. A typical regatta includes dinner and a party. Snipe sailors realize that while the racing is important, it is the friendships that endure.
Beginning in January 2000, Fleet 001 offers the opportunity for experienced sailors to use a club boat owned by the Fleet and located in a davit at the Corinthian Sailing Club on White Rock Lake. For more information on this program, please contact fleet captain Ken Culver on the Texas contacts page.