Getting Started in the Snipe Training Program: All someone has to do to get started learning to race in a Snipe is to sign up as a guest (or member) of the fleet and register for fleet event notices (and RSVP's) at Our fleet registration for a guest is free for the first five events, If you want to continue after that then you join the fleet as a member at the cost of $50 for each half year or part of the half year. There is no fee for Meetup. Registering at both locations gets your name on our rosters for emails from us about activities and allows us to keep track of attendees.
We have beginner and intermediate training on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, and training is sometimes available on Sunday afternoons. Here are the descriptions of the activities:
Thursday Drills for Skills: We meet at 6PM during the daylight savings time period. This session focuses on boat rigging and handling skills for skippers and crew, for beginners as well as experienced Snipe sailors. There are specific exercises to develop proficiency in race crewing and basic boat handling. We rotate skippers and crew if necessary to make sure everyone gets out on the water. We will be there until after dark, so bring something to eat and drink while waiting your turn on the dock and for the short social time after sailing. The curriculum changes from week to week, depending upon who is attending. If there are a lot of attendees, the more experienced sailors are paired with the newcomers and those who have attended a number of sessions are expected to pass on what they have previously learned.
Saturday Short Course Series: We meet year round Saturday mornings to rig boats followed by racing as soon as we are ready but (hopefully) no later than one hour after rig-up time. In the hot summer (last two Saturdays in June and all of July and August) the rig-up time is 8:00 AM. The rest of the year it is at 10:00 AM. Any of our guests or fleet members are welcome to join in, but we need to know in advance who is coming so that we can have boat assignments ready. in addition to your RSVP on MEETUP please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday at noon to indicate if you have a skipper/crew arranged and which loaner boat you prefer, or if you are attending without prior arrangement for boat, crew and/or skipper. If we don't have an even number of skippers and crews, we will switch out every couple of races, so that everyone gets a chance to be in a boat. Sailors should dress appropriately for the weather. Shorty wetsuits are required December 15 through February 15. Don't forget water. Bring a change of clothes in case you get wet. If you have sailing gloves, bring them as well. We will have extra life jackets. We usually have enough experienced skippers to take out beginners right to the race course. Sometimes, the more experienced crews will be training newcomers on basic crewing techniques in a boat while it is tied to the dock.
We usually set up a short windward-leeward course with the starting line about 1/4 the way from the leeward mark to the windward mark. The Race Officer for the day will make all the skipper/crew assignments and run the races, using a college racing style 3-minute countdown with a horn or a whistle. The race officer might be in a safety boat at the vicinity of the starting line, but also might be one of the skippers in a racing boat. No finish positions are taken, but each participant is awarded one point for each race started. At the end of the year the Short Course trophies are awarded to those who have accumulated the most points during the year. The course is set up to take 5-10 minutes to finish a race. As the last boat crosses the finish line the three-minute signal is made for the next race. This way we usually get a minimum of five races and as many as twelve races completed in the two hours that we schedule for this activity.
Sunday Long Course: The Snipes race on Sundays with the other CSC fleets. Skipper, crew and boat arrangements are made ahead of time. Those who are interested in attending respond via Meetup so that others in the fleet have an easy way to know who is available. As part of the fleet’s training program, there is a rating level system, from 0 as a beginner to 5 for those who qualify to race in world class events. The fleet has a wind velocity/sailing level matrix that we use to determine who can skipper a fleet boat on a given Sunday, and who can crew with which skippers. We will make assignments and make boats available based on the forecast, but if the conditions on the day of sailing are more severe than the forecast, some of those who had planned to go might have to stay ashore. If is not unusual for beginning sailors to get the chance to crew on Sunday, especially if they actively participate in the Thursday and Saturday sessions and the skippers get to know them and their capabilities. As we get into summer and the winds die down, beginners who have skippered on Thursday and/or Saturday may have the opportunity to skipper on Sunday with an experienced sailor as crew.
Personnel: Tim Capper is the Principal Training Officer. Other Training Officers are Tim Tetsch, Art Matje and Jim Stillson. Ivana Alvarez and Emily Gomez head up our newcomer welcoming committee and they can provide additional assistance for newcomers to the training program.
Other Training Resources
FIND ALL THE PARTS ON A SNIPE DIAGRAM
FIND ALL THE PARTS ON A SNIPE DIAGRAM (with an accompanying parts list)
LEARN THE POINTS OF SAIL
CURRENT DRAFT OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM DETAILS
2021 Edition of the Snipe Basic Sailing Manual