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USA Snipe class launches membership growth initiative
Team McLube


The Publisher

Mar 1, 2011, 10:29 AM

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The 15 1/2 foot, 2-person Snipe class, now 80 years young, remains a popular, tactical racing dinghy with fleets around the world. But like most corners of the sport, the class is struggling with growth issues. But a new initiative hopes to change that.

At the Winter Meeting of the USA Snipe Class the Board of Directors approved a new Class development program designed to bring the Snipe sailboat into contact with people previously not exposed to the boat. The Class will be acquiring a group of newer, competitive Snipes and related equipment which will travel around the USA demonstrating the one design Snipe sailboat to interested groups and sailing clubs.

“The motivation for the program is to try to stem the slowly declining Membership and boat ownership of the Snipe Class in the USA and the aging membership of the Class,” explained class officer Don Hackbarth. “As the Class membership is aging we are not replacing exiting members with younger sailors. They are largely being exposed only to product provided to them by high schools and colleges and manufacturer classes.

“The program will be used to expose the Snipe sailboat product and organization to a larger portion of the sailing market, particularly the young adult market, increase the ‘touches’ in the market, follow up with those who have a positive experience, help and keep them involved and hopefully, when they are established and able, they will be able to acquire a boat.

“We will hopefully be presenting the product at Clubs, Sailing Centers, College programs that currently have no Snipe Fleet contact, as well as help the Fleets conduct clinics which can reach out to the young adults in their market area. Identified sailors who are not currently Members will also be invited to participate in regattas. As an example, the Atlanta Snipe Fleet will be having a college weekend introducing the Snipe to the college teams in our area. For that group we will provide three with a ‘scholarship’ to attend and sail in the Halloween Regatta (paying their fees etc.)

“We discussed the idea of committing product to one or more teams for an extended period of time, say a year, but came to the conclusion that we would be better served to expose the product during the year to multiple parties and then follow up with those that show a continued interest.

"The program will be funded entirely by donations. The funds to kick off Phase 1 have been raised and Phase 1 will start in May 2011 and run thru the fall. Phase 1 will consist of 3-4 boats and related equipment, a truck and trailer and a Class Representative. Snipes and Snipe sailors in the region will supplement the Class equipment and personnel. A travel schedule will be developed this spring. Reserve your dates now if you or your sailing club is interested.

"The Snipe sailboat is a hard chine, 2 person racing dingy designed in 1931. The Snipe’s durable design and construction results in hulls remaining competitive for extended periods of time. The Snipe is known for its adaptability to sail in all types of conditions and be effectively handled by sailors of all ages and size. Many Olympic sailors have sailed in Snipes to develop their dingy tuning and tactical skills. Many Snipe sailors and Snipe families have been in the Class for 50+ years. It is one of the oldest and largest International one design Classes. In the USA the Snipe Class has approximately 700 Members."

For more information about the Snipe and the Traveling Snipe Fleet please contact Don Hackbarth at

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