This year on the Snipe we’ve had a goal all summer to: finish all of the races in a regatta, Jess driving, and not breaking anything. We finally had the perfect day to do it. ‘Jess Wind’ if you will that’s just enough to be challenging, but not so much that we’re overpowered. We had a 3-boat Portsmouth class sailing against Lee’s FrontRunner and Mike’s San Juan 21. The wind was 8-10 out of the North East and the RC set a course between areas A and B.
In the first race we had a good start and sailed well, but didn’t have the boat tuned as well as we could. We focused on reading the wind and keeping the boat moving and sailed a solid race finishing behind the other boats and taking a 3rd after the handicap was calculated.
For the second race we had the boat going a little better and made some good tactical decisions. We were the first boat to the first weather mark, but were overtaken by the Front Runner downwind and the San Juan was still able to correct over us.
In the 3rd race the wind was as far right as it had been all day – knowing it would go back left we banged the left corner while the rest of the fleet went right. Sure enough it came back and we had very solid lead at the first weather mark that we were able to hold the rest of the way around the course and got the bullet. Jess’s first as a driver.
In the 4th race we again had a good weather leg leading the other boats to the first weather mark, but didn’t have enough separation and still finished 2nd.
Jess sailed great. She’s learned a ton about the boat and being a driver and we’re both making the boat go better and improving our maneuvers. We wore out a few parts that need fixing, but nothing that was unexpected and nothing that prevented us from sailing.
For FBYC’s Long Distance Race Jess and I took out the snipe. After not being able to finish the Open House Regatta earlier this year, we were excited to hold everything together and have a respectable mid-fleet finish.
We got Jess’s snipe back in the water for the first time this year. We made some upgrades – mainly new halyards and halyard turning blocks in the mast.
We got to FBYC early for the One Design Spring Series #2 event – Jess towed the boat behind the jeep for the first time – and we got everything rigged and in the water. We were a little late to the start of racing and caught the 3rd race. We were in the Portsmouth class with two San Juan 21s.
We were about halfway up the first leg when the halyard that we had just installed broke – putting our jib in the water. We attempted to sail under main alone, but got stuck in irons and so far behind we gave up on that race. For the next race I drove under main alone around the short 2 lap windward leeward. We still managed to beat the San Juan 21s around the course, but one of them corrected on time to tie with us so we got a 1.5 for the one race we finished.
We started the Memorial Day Weekend by hosting a Young Adult Member cookout at FBYC. We had a great turnout of nearly 40 people and beautiful weather for a party that apparently went well into the night.
Jess and I spent Saturday morning putting the Snipe together for the first time since Labor Day of last year. We fixed a few things along the way including some trouble with the main halyard that kept jumping the sheave at the top of the mast. Eventually we made it onto the water and sailing pretty good in the 10-14 knots of wind. About 20 minutes into our sail we heard a pop, saw the jib come down a little bit and realized that we blew out a block at the bottom of the mast for the jib halyard. We sailed in and ended our hopes to sail the boat again tomorrow.
With the Strange Bird Snipe restored it was time to take it for a sail. Jess, Laurie and I rigged it and went for the first sale on what turned into a gorgeous Monday of Labor Day Weekend. Even better – she floats! We took turns sailing while figuring out how everything is rigged and what still needs some work.
It’s been a goal to get the Snipe Strange Bird out sailing before the end of the year and it looks like this might happen on Labor Day weekend. Since I picked it up in December a lot has been done to it to get it back into sailing shape:
patched holes in the hull
strengthened, reinforced and repaired damaged rails
Late last year I came by a Snipe and began getting it back into sailing shape this year. One element to getting it sailing was to get a road-worthy trailer under it. After trading some cash and an old AppleTV I got a used Laser 2 trailer that would fit the snipe nicely. I replaced some of the hardware, addeda jack and new wiring and lights. The hardest part would be building the bunks and what made it harder was the fact that I’d have to do it while the boat stayed upside down in my backyard.
We made a pattern for the bottom of the hull by using a jig to draw a line on the board that matched the shape of the hull. See the device here.
The shape fit the hull perfectly and just needed to be mounted to the trailer.
My adventure with the Snipe sailboat began in early December. It’s a boat that has intrigued me since looking at pictures of the 1st Snipe World Championship at the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club when I was growing up. My girlfriend Jess has been sailing them in Dallas and I think for a variety of reasons they could be a good boat at FBYC for those that would want something smaller and with fewer sails than a Flying Scot. A Laser sailing friend of mine has one that he hasn’t sailed for some time and said I could have it for a case of beer. So today I rented a trailer and went up and got it. It’s going to need some work, but it’ll make a good boat for getting started in the Snipe.