Re: sailboats

Posted by CLC on Feb 15, 2005

I grew up sailing Snipes and Lightnings. My Dad owned Snipe number 6760, built in the late '30s. Snipes, Lightnings, and so on are deceptively difficult to build. They require complex molds, among other things, and I'm quite certain neither has ever been tried in stitch-and-glue. WoodenBoat Magazine profiled the construction of a wooden Lightning a few years back; it's a hairy project.

Those boats and others in that ilk were intended to be one-design racing boats. These days the Snipe maintains class tolerances of 1/16", I think. One ill swipe of the beltsander and it's not a Snipe anymore, just a daysailing sloop. CLC has been approached by one-design classes at intervals, but even without the complex rigging the kits would cost over $4000. Nobody would buy it when they could get a race-ready used Snipe for $4000.

If you want a daysailing sloop, there are hundreds of other designs just meant for daysailing, far easier to build, more comfortable, with no concessions to being a one-design.

Ditto the Lightning, a 1200-hour+, $10,000 project that results in a lovely but fairly athletic daysailer. I think Phil Bolger designed a Lightning knockoff ("Sparkler" is the design name) that would take a fraction of the time and money to build but offer some of the same feel of the original.

I'd take the same money and time and build two Skerries: so you can sail in company, admiring each other's pretty lines as you go.

In Response to: sailboats by Karl on Feb 14, 2005



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