Cheating shall not become legal

Published on May 5th, 2022

Each one design class defines what it wants to be through its regulations. Some allow full freedom for development, while others have strict mandates on permitted equipment. But regardless of the restrictions, it is generally advised to prepare the boat to those limits.

The Snipe Class is somewhere in the middle, and like most classes, relies on its members to maintain the boundaries. In this report by Snipe sailor and rules expert Antonio Bari, he calls out a failure in this oversight:


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in the 2022 Snipe Master Europeans. A great event, very well organized and managed by the Real Club Nautico de Valencia and T10 Sailing, with more than 100 boats on the water and an exciting onshore program.

Forced to stay at home, I daily searched for results, images or videos, but while searching I also found something not exactly complying with our rules.

I am referring to the GPS tracks published on Strava by several participants (and, unpleasantly, by two of the top finishers) showing their race track on the course.

We all (I hope) have read the Class Rules and know that GPS are not allowed. I’m sure that most of the Snipe sailors are now raising their hands and saying that wrist GPS trackers don’t help the regatta strategy. This is only partially true, a GPS may help a lot in case of large fleets and very long starting lines, nevertheless if something is forbidden it can’t be used.

Same with the new Blue Wave stays adjusters. More and more crews are rigging their boats with this easy adjustable stuff, great to change the settings while sailing. And many, especially among the top sailors, do freely use it while racing.

Once again, the fitting itself isn’t prohibited, what is forbidden is adjusting the shrouds length while racing. This is undoubtedly a great advantage and some top sailors use this advantage to change gear when the conditions change, knowing they are cheating.

On a lighter side, when searching for the news, I found a regatta advertising (not a local regatta, but an International Championship) showing a picture with a non-complying daggerboard and daggerboard safety line. Well, this may or may not give advantage (depending on the case), but is a clear cheating. This rule too is clearly explained in the Class Rules. Why not complying?

One fundamental rule when writing a Class Rule is “if you cannot control a rule compliance, delete the rule”.

Our Class rules may not be perfect, some of the rules may be hardly applicable or their limitations may not give advantages. All acceptable observations. If a rule needs to be changed or deleted, a proposal can be submitted to the Board for evaluation.

But, unless a proposal to amend a rule isn’t submitted, discussed and approved by the Board and World Sailing, the rule must be respected. Cheating shall not become legal.

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