Snipe USA

Fleet Captains Handbook

Important Forms & Links


Here is an outline of the important role the Snipe Fleet captain plays in the Snipe organization.

As a SCIRA USA Fleet Captain you are responsible for many duties.  Please keep in mind that the success of your Fleet depends on your organizational skills, your ability to delegate and follow up, and your ability to communicate with your Fleet.

SCIRA USA Fleets are not all the same, each one has its own challenges and needs.  You will need to try different strategies to maintain a healthy active Fleet.

Most of all, your Fleet members are interested in Serious Sailing, and Serious Fun®.  This means that you need to organize quality club racing, regattas, road trips to regattas, and parties on and off the water.  SCIRA USA sailors come in all ages, shapes, and sexes, so keep the entire Fleet and prospective Fleet Members in mind while organizing these events.

The sport of sailing offers the unique environment where entire families can participate in a competitive sport together over their entire life span.  Along with the motto of Serious Sailing, and Serious Fun® please promote the concept of family weekend recreation, together for a life time.

Now for the basic important stuff:

  1. You are responsible for making sure all your Fleet Members are current SCIRA USA Members.  SCIRA USA is the organization that manages the Snipe Class in the USA and enforces its rules.  It collects membership dues in order to continue to keep the tight One Design rules in effect.  Without SCIRA USA the Snipe would disappear as a Class and all of our value in the boat would go with it.  Keep your Fleet Members current.  You can contact the SCIRA USA office to check the status of all your Fleet Members.  Any Fleet Member that shows up to a regatta without a SCIRA sticker on the boat should be asked to join at that time.  It is easy to do. . Have the form available and the envelope to mail.  Just have them fill out the Membership registration and Dues Payment form from the web site and get a check from them and you send the money and information to SCIRA USA.  Go to snipeusa.com and see the membership dues link for more info.
  2. You are also responsible for all District Dues (established and collected by each District) and Fleet Charter Fees ($10.00 to SCIRA USA) for the same reason.  SCIRA USA is a great family to be a part of.  All families need funding to stay healthy.
  3. You should have a list of all your Members, their phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.  Contact the SCIRA USA office for a current list – they can email it to you!
  4. If you have a big fleet, assign a phone committee to help contact Fleet Members about upcoming events.  Direct contact is always the best way, it is much more personal.
  5. You will also need a Treasurer.  This person should help with the checking, reporting, and the cash flow of your fleet.
  6. It is a good idea to have some business cards made up.  They should include how to contact you as Fleet Captain and the SCIRA USA web page address.  This will help you to land new Fleet Members.  Put our slogan on it “Serious Sailing Serious Fun®”.
  7. In big fleets you will need a Secretary to help with the names and addresses.  Delegate this to a qualified Fleet Member.  But be sure to follow up with that person monthly.
  8. As fleet captain you will be responsible for all communications.  In large fleets, delegate to an editor that can write newsletters and keep a calendar of events up to date.  A web page is a good idea.  You can also link to snipeusa.com.  Make sure that it is up to date and that your Fleet knows where to find it.

How to succeed in building your fleet

  1. Enthusiasm.  This is a simple word that makes everything easy.  You need to have enthusiasm about what you are doing.  When you lose it, it is time to step aside.
  2. Energy.  It takes a lot of energy to go to regattas, write newsletters, organize regattas, collect dues, and the million other things the fleet captain needs to do.  You must find the energy and stick with it.  Spread the work out to people who will get the job done and keep in touch with them.
  3. Fleet Cheerleader.  Your Fleet needs to be “IN THE FACE” of all the other classes.  Get noticed.  Make sure to take part in multi-class events.  Write articles for the club newsletter.  Put ads up in the club house.  If you are too loaded down delegate this job.  It is one of the keys to a successful Fleet.
  4. Teach.  Sailors are all out to try to learn more.  Even the best sailor in your fleet wants to learn more and beat the best sailor in other fleets.  Take the time to pass the knowledge on to the less experienced, newer sailors in your Fleet.  Debrief after races, and regattas.  Hold friendly clinics.  Write go fast tips in the newsletter. Train crew and rotate them to the race committee if they are not on a boat.  Bring a tool box and a smile to the parking lot before and after each race to help those in need.  This will go a long way in making new sailors feel part of the SCIRA USA family.
  5. Party.  You must have more than just sailing.  Snipe sailors enjoy Serious Fun.  Organize events for the fleet to attend even when there is no sailing.
  6. Sail.  Serious sailing is also a must. Schedule lots of Fleet Races.  Not all Fleet Members will want to go to regattas. Try to get the best race committee. Set up crew list. Use the SCIRA rules for conducting a regatta more times than not.  The class has worked hard to build an image of serious sailing.  Short courses should be used only rarely, and the rules of racing should be followed strictly at all events.  Rules seminars are another way to make sure that your fleet is up to snuff.
  7. Communication.  The most important part of a successful fleet is communication.  The fleet captain must oversee all communications.  They must be frequent and accurate.  A calendar of events is vital to this communication.  Today the best way to do this is through email.  However, there is no substitute for the phone.  ALL YOUR CALENDARS SHOULD BE POSTED TO SNIPE.ORG, SNIPEUSA.COM, & YOUR LOCAL CLUB CALENDAR. District Governors want to hear from Fleet Captains. Call them use their experience to solve your local problem. Send the list of your fleet to the District Governor.
  8. Successor.    Make sure that the Fleet Captain that follows you is also a spark plug.  Nothing can kill a fleet more than electing a Fleet Captain that is not enthusiastic!  Help the new Fleet Captain to up and running.  Now you know how much work it is.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the last Fleet Captain was there with experience to help you!

Get as many different people in your fleet involved in something.  The whole fleet should be assigned some job or task at least once in the year.  The best way to make an idea successful is to have the people implementing it behind it.  So accept ideas and let the person with the idea implement it.  Everyone is interested in making their own idea work.  There is a certain need for each of your fleet members to be successful in sailing and in life.  Delegate some task to each member at least once a year, no matter how small, and you will create a fleet that works together.  You will add to the SCIRA USA family.

You can find a great deal of information on the Snipe Class Web page at www.snipe.org as well as what is going on in the US at www.snipeusa.com.  Send a note to the web-master and provide them with information about your fleet, upcoming regattas, and ways that you have promoted the Snipe Class.

The US Sailing Fleet Captain Handbook is a great source of information and direction. It can be found on the US Sailing web site, and it has many great ideas to accomplish the above mentioned task and goals.  Set your goals as SCIRA USA Fleet Captain and work at meeting them.  It should be fun, challenging, and rewarding.  Thank you for putting time back into SCIRA USA.

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