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Snipe Nationals Becomes a Tuning Tutorial

October 26, 2016

Weather rarely cooperates with our regatta schedules and the 2016 Snipe Nationals was not an exception. Lack of breeze made for interesting sailing, but also created a great opportunity for some tuning tutorials with George Szabo.

With super light conditions over three days, the Snipe US Nationals managed just enough races to constitute a regatta, with Quantum sails leading Augie Diaz and Peter Commette to second and third places. While it wasn’t an intense weekend of racing, Quantum’s Snipe expert George Szabo said it was a great opportunity to practice (and learn more about) Snipe tuning in light air. Szabo answered a few questions about the regatta and how to race in such light conditions.

How did the light conditions affect the race?

Typically when lake sailors come to open water, we’re moving their jib leads forward, making mainsails more full to be fast on open water. This regatta was the other way around for us. We worked to get the mainsail flatter with the max forward shroud placement on the deck, and also by using more forward pusher when the crew was sitting inside the cockpit. The plan was to induce more bend in the mast and flatten the mainsail.

How did you optimize your jib?

We kept a tighter-than-normal headstay in the flat water by keeping slightly more tension on the shrouds. If the crew was inside the cockpit, the leeward shroud was tight. When the crew was sitting on the rail, the leeward shroud was set a little loose. A tighter headstay means less forestay sag and a flatter jib. On flat water, a flatter jib points higher.

You used a more forward shroud placement on the deck – why? What was the advantage?

Moving the shroud forward 1-2 holes helped push the spreaders into the mast. This induced more fore-aft bend in the main, making the mainsail flatter.

How did these adjustments work for you?

We tried a lot of things between races, and the changes above seemed to be the best. Later, when we compared out set up to the fast boats, we saw that they had similar settings.

Looking back at the event, is there anything you would have done differently?

I wish I hadn’t capsized on the roll jib in light air. That cost us a few places.

Also, we expected more wind, so we measured in two of the fuller P-4 mainsails. Developed with Paradeda, the P-4 is a new design that was recently third at Westerns. In a light air lake, the flatter topped C-5 would have been a better choice to measure in. The Colorado fleet guys really like the R-5 main – that sail was developed for heavy air and has the flattest head of all of our mainsails, but it became a lethal weapon in four knots. We saw them in the front of the fleet numerous times.

For future events, how would you encourage sailors to prepare for unexpected conditions like you experienced?

Keep a notebook. Record all your settings. Then go back to the good ones when possible. Don’t be afraid to try setting outside of the box to see what happens.

The tuning guide is a pretty good place to start. Hours of on-the-water testing go into finding the settings in our tuning guide, and the guide has received several updates lately.

Overall, Quantum sails finished 2nd, 3rd, and 6th at Nationals – congratulations to everyone on a great race!

Click here for full results.

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Teaser photo by Freid Elliot.

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