Snipe Class Rules update
by Gus Wirth, Technical Committee Chairman
The Snipe class rules for 2023 have been approved by World Sailing and become effective 1 July 2023. A large portion of the rules have been rewritten to adhere to World Sailing format but don’t actually have any practical effect on what we have already been using.
However, there are several changes that were submitted and approved by the Board of Governors for incorporation into the rules that require some explanation, the most controversial of which is Rule F.6.3(a) Shroud Adjusters.
The operation of shroud adjusters is regulated by rule C.9.6(a) which states:
C.9.6 CONDITIONS FOR USE, STANDING RIGGING
(a) The length of the shrouds and the forestay shall not be adjusted while racing.
The interpretation of this includes shroud adjusters. This rule has been in effect for a long time. So if someone were to adjust their shrouds while racing, it would be cheating.
Rule F.6.3 SHROUDS, Rule F.6.3(a) states:
Any shroud adjusters that do not allow the manual adjustment of the shrouds with the rig under tension.
The meaning being you can not use shroud adjusters that can be operated under tension.
The problem with this rule is that there is no objective test criteria to evaluate operability. Such a test would require a definition of required tension, tool use or no tools, and conditions of use. It would also require a test program to evaluate parts. As such, this rule should be considered unenforceable until further notice.
An example of a problematic shroud adjuster is the QRT Toggle Terminal by Blue Wave. It looks like it might violate this rule based on its appearance with the built in handle. But in a statement directly from the manufacturer:
“If you adjust the QRT turnbuckles under high load you risk either to damage/twist the handle in a way that it can’t be locked into position, and secondly, possible galling of the threads.”
Breaking your boat because of cheating is never a good idea.
Based on this information, with no other criteria, these QRT shroud adjusters would be permitted.
The Sta-Master(TM) shroud adjusters would also be permitted due to their decades long use and practical experience.
SCIRA Rules Committee Chairman