Tag Archives: Snipe

2016 Frigid Digit

The weekend started out with a lot of rain in the Mid Atlantic on Friday, but at least we knew we wouldn’t get blown out like last year. However, while the wind forecast for Saturday looked pretty good, it promised to be very light on Sunday. There are two conditions that always remind me of the Frigid Digit: Cool, wet, foggy Nor ‘easter-like and bright, brisk, cool northewester after a cold front-like. Both are tricky conditions to sail in with different challenges. This year’s event was no different with the Nor ‘Easter-like version for Saturday.

We delayed on shore for an hour on Saturday morning as the radar map showed a very larger red line heading from the south. Luckily it was just a lot of rain and as soon it passed the 12 (of 16 that registered) set out in 10-15 knots from the Northeast. Unfortunately a number of local sailors all had prior commitments this weekend which kept the turnout a little low. Three windward/leeward (5 leg) races were run by PRO Mark Hasslinger and his crew. According to Carol Cronin, in most beats, staying left until the end of the beat even though your gut told you not to and despite some right shifts, proved to be a winning strategy. It certainly worked for her and Kim Couranz as they jumped out to a good lead by the first weather mark in all three races and easily hung on to the leads even with Kim’s unscheduled “potty break” into the bay (untied hiking strap) in race 2. Behind, the shifts were causing frequent position changes between Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno, Zach Kelchner/Miranda Bakos, Brett Davis/Ashley Love, Gavin/Holly O’Hare, Lisa Pline/Jessica Bennett and Alex Pline/Jill Bennett. In the end Lee/Nikki edged out Alex/Jill for 2nd by a point. One of the nice things about these conditions is the powerboats and the associated Annapolis “washing machine” were nowhere to be seen.

close finish

Squeaking out a 4th in a close  finish in the 3rd race.

We headed back to SSA about 4 pm as the breeze was getting pretty light and the fog and mist was hiding downtown. A nice taco bar was served and the warmth of the clubhouse was much appreciated by the competitors. Afterwards Steve and Sonya Pickel suggested we continue on at the Boatyard Bar and Grill, which a number of us jumped on without any arm twisting. I think we all deep down suspected the chances for any racing on Sunday were slim, so what the heck, might as well continue socializing at one of Annapolis’ fun spots. There were rumors of even a third act over at Davis’ Pub, but too late for this Snipe sailor !

Sunday brought continued light breezes again from the northeast, with cloudy but dry skies. Most of the fleet was late to the starting area as it was a bit farther out than usual, so the start was postponed for about a half hour. Once the race finally got underway, right on schedule the bottom of the breeze fell out quickly about half way up the first beat when the sun poked out from behind the clouds. After 10 minutes of just a few zephyrs, the committee wisely abandoned the race. Even without the postponement is was unlikely the race would have made a complete lap of the course before the wind died. We milled around for another 45 minutes just to confirm everyone suspicions, but it was just not to be so everyone was towed in. At least the sun came out as we were packing up and socializing. In addition to the top three overall, Steve Jahnige/Ryan Jahnige, relatively new Snipe sailors were the top placing boat in the silver fleet. A big thanks to regatta chair Doug Frazee for putting this year’s event together and to Carol Cronin, Andy Klein/Jessica Claflin and Jim Tomassetti/Simon Strauss who braved the dreaded I-95 from north of NY to get to Annapolis.

Full Results: http://results.severnsailing.org/2016/2016-Snipe_Frigid_Digit.html

2016 Snipe North American Championships

Note my finest hour sailing-wise, but I had a great time sailing with Lisa – despite being DSQed in a race for not doing my penalty turns fast enough after getting flagged for pumping.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Doug Hart Back On Top After 20 Years

Doug Hart has always been near the top of the score sheet but it took 20 years to repeat as North American Champion, having won last in the Bahamas in 1996. Sailing this year with Ryan Hopps they took the 2016 North Americans Birney Mills Trophy by a scant two points over George Szabo and Dianna Waterbury after a close last day. The winner was not known by the competitors until the scores were posted at the club because the variety of conditions over the three day regatta resulted in very inconsistent scores over the eight races sailed. In an unusual turn, the scores posted by Szabo/Waterbury were overall more consistent, but Hart/Hopps despite counting a 17 had four top 3 finishes. Nick Voss/Nicole Popp had been lurking well down the results sheet, but once they were able to drop a 45th from day one, they slid up to third overall. Fourth place team Jensen McTighe/Brendan Feeney counted no finish worse than ninth, a great result just ahead of their departure for the Snipe Western Hemispheres in Brazil. Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante rounded out the top 5.

upwind 31313

Upwind on the Chesapeake Bay.

Annapolis Snipe Fleet 532 is experiencing its own comeback. Regatta Chairman and Annapolis Fleet 532 Captain Chris Ryan is a relentless promoter of the Snipe Class and had as a goal to get together the largest collection of Snipes seen on the East Coast for a long time. He succeeded attracting 69 registrants and beat the last two NAs held in Annapolis in 1994 (62 boats) and 1985 (68 boats) as well as being the largest regatta in North America since 2009 with boats arriving on single, double, and triple trailers from all over the continent. This was in part due to encouraging sailors with older model boats to participate with a Silver division and arranging many chartered or borrowed boats to insure that every available local boat would make it on the water. A great sign for the continued growth of the class were a significant number of junior sailors at the event, fresh faces from new teams or new crew members, and a re-emergence of less travelled class members. The event created a significant number of class membership renewals as part of the registration process as all skippers, crews, and boats were registered for the event.

Chris along with the rest of the fleet volunteers, the Severn Sailing Association (SSA), PRO Steve Podlich and his handpicked race committee put together a great event despite tryingly light conditions at the beginning of the regatta. Annapolis typically holds this regatta in the fall when the breeze is freshening as the temperatures drop, but for this edition the NAs was held concurrently with the Colonial Cup, the annual SSA Snipe Spring Invitational. In keeping with the nutty weather the mid-Atlantic has been experiencing this year – the spring felt more like Seattle than Annapolis – with less than a week to go, the forecast was for light easterly breezes and cooler temperatures throughout the weekend. For those who don’t know the Chesapeake Bay weather, easterly breezes coupled with cool overcast conditions are almost never a good prognosis.

As boats streamed in on Thursday, fleet members Brett Davis, Steve Pickle and Jon and Happy Anthony with their teams got all boats through measurement and registration. The class approach to streamlining measurement helped speed the process by limiting measurement to boat weight and new sail measurements. It was hoped to run a practice race Thursday afternoon, but the breeze completely turned off after a few boats left the dock for a practice sail: a bad omen. On the social side, the regatta saw the return of a large tent to be used for evening dinners as well as a real beer truck (well trailer, but close enough!), something not seen on the SSA lot for some years: a good omen.

Friday morning started as predicted with a light, but sailable easterly and racing began promptly at 11am. Fortunately, being a weekday the pleasure boat traffic was nonexistent so the 5-7 knot breeze, although tricky, was enough. Starts were very competitive causing multiple recalls and a steady appearance of I and Z flags. The downstream current at the start pushing competitors towards the starting line did not help and contributed to the number of general recalls and affected which side of the course was favored. As the first race progressed the breeze got lighter and lighter, but still a fair test of skill and the first boat finished within several minutes of the 90 minute time limit, but unfortunately a number of boats did not make the time limit window. After a pause, the wind came back up and a second race was run in similar conditions, with only a few boats not making the time limit window. Hart/Hopps showed their light air prowess with two firsts. Eventually Steve Podlich called it a day and the fleet headed in for the evening’s social activities and Taco Bar dinner.

On Saturday, a very patient race committee ran three races. The first was (as expected) sailed in a very light southeast wind. The ebbing current was wreaking even more havoc on the starting line than the day before and the Z flag (20%) penalties figured prominently on the scoresheet for race 3. It looked like it might be the end of the day after race three with the breeze going down to nearly zero, but wisely Steve Podlich chose to keep us out waiting and eventually the breeze came around to a southerly direction and increased slightly when the clouds began to clear. With the current abated and the wind shift to the south, the second two starts were much more manageable for the competitors (and the race committee) and even got crews and skippers into the hiking straps by the last leg. With more consistent scores and no drop (yet) Szabo/Waterbury finished the day tied with Hart/Hopps. Back on shore the competitors participated in a post-race debrief followed by a crab-themed dinner including MD hard shelled crabs. The “locals” had a lot of fun introducing “out of towners” to the proper technique for “picking crabs” as it is called.

Once again, Sunday started light with current pushing competitors over the line, the appearance of the Z flag, multiple recalls and a lot of alphabet soup on the score sheet in race 6. But for race 7 the breeze finally increased out the south to the point where skipper and crews were full out hiking and the “Annapolis Washing Machine” was on – at least the medium rinse setting anyway – thanks to the Chesapeake chop and pleasure boat wake. This was the quintessential Annapolis condition that we all know and love and it was great to finally see it given the earlier forecast. Despite the breeze beginning to fade, after race 7 the race committee “leap frogged” the course to start the last race with plenty of time to spare. It was a shorter course, a little less than an hour race to close out the 8 race series, a pleasant surprise the way it looked on Thursday. The fleet blasted in as the breeze increased with the impending approach of a cold front, but thankfully the predicted thunderstorms didn’t materialize until after most competitors had packed up.

In addition to the awarding the Birney Mills Trophy to the North American champion, the Kim Thompson Trophy for the top crew and the Colonial Cup Trophy to Hart and Hopps, awards were presented to Fleet 532 members Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud for the Silver division and Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney for the Junior division, both scored separately within those divisions. The Chuck Loomis Trophy was also awarded to Jensen McTighe as the top placing Junior in the overall score.

This was definitely not a “one setting” regatta and being able to perform consistently in the top three in a wide variety of conditions was the key to success. Variety may be the spice of life, but it is also a great test of skill.

–Alex Pline

Series Standing – 8 races scored

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 20/ 31297 Doug Hart/Ryan Hopps Mission Bay Yacht Club 1 1 2 [25] 4 17 6 3 34.00 1
2 57/ 30337 George Szabo/Dianna Waterbury San Diego Yacht Club 4 8 7 [11] 3 4 4 6 36.00 2
3 63/ 28814 Nicholas Voss/Nicole Popp Coral Reef Yacht Club 3 [45] 5 4 6 12 8 5 43.00 3
4 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 8 5 [32] 8 9 7 3 8 48.00 4
5 09/ 31027 Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante FEVELA/SYC [70/OCS] 2 10 13 5 2 2 16 50.00 5
6 49/ 31130 Ernesto Rodriguez/Eduardo Supercrew no club affiliation 7 [22] 3 16 7 11 5 2 51.00 6
7 08/ 30288 Augie Diaz/Julia Melton BBYC/CRYC/CGSC 21 6 6 7 1 1 [24] 10 52.00 7
8 02/ 30473 Arthur Blodgett/Terra Berlinski no club affiliation 9 7 1 3 [27] 3 12 17 52.00 8
9 34/ 28854 Randy Lake/Nikki Bruno no club affiliation 5 4 12 [19] 2 14 19 1 57.00 9
10 05/ 30860 Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz Severn Sailing Association 16 [18] 13 2 11 6 11 4 63.00 10
11 21/ 29114 David Hernandez/Christine DeSilva Coral Reef Yacht Club 6 11 [21] 10 10 15 1 11 64.00 11
12 16/ 8653 Hal Gilreath/Andre Guaragna Florida Yacht Club 12 3 17 18 8 5 [22] 9 72.00 12
13 03/ 31171 Jim Bowers/Julia Rabin Winchester Boat Club 2 24 [27] 5 17 9 25 12 94.00 13
14 67/ 29682 Wilson Stout/Byran Stout no club affiliation 15 19 18 1 12 19 [23] 20 104.00 14
15 47/ 30759 Enrique Quintero/Simon Sanders Coral Reef Yacht Club 20 [62] 15 12 15 10 9 23 104.00 15
16 14/ 30903 Cameron Fraser/Elizabeth Glivinski Medford Boat Club 22 9 [47] 15 23 18 10 21 118.00 16
17 45/ 31355 Andrew Pimental/Megan Place Sail Newport [29] 27 14 27 14 22/ZFP 7 13 124.00 17
18 18/ 30904 Lee Griffith/Hillary Noble Surf City Yacht Club 19 20 4 30 13 22 20 [32] 128.00 18
19 51/ 31280 Art Rousmaniere/Jesscia Bennett Winchester Boat Club 23 23 9 9 20 27/ZFP 17 [37] 128.00 19
20 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard Severn Sailing Association 18 13 8 28 21 24 [32] 22 134.00 20
21 55/ 29044 Sonya Smith/Steve Pickel Severn Sailing Association 10 16 [36] 22 26 26 15 26 141.00 21
22 31/ 29782 Zachery Kelchner/Lauren Schoene Severn Sailing Association 13 31 23 26 19 20 [35] 19 151.00 22
23 07/ 29671 Tarasa Davis/Kim Calnan Atlanta Yacht Club 25 26 30 24 34 [42/ZFP] 13 7 159.00 23
24 13/ 28142 Bryan Fishback/Lorie Stout Severn Sailing Association 11 33 26 36 31 [41/ZFP] 21 14 172.00 24
25 39/ 30629 Gavin O’Hare/Holly O’Hare Eastport Yacht Club 24 21 [42] 31 22 32 27 25 182.00 25
26 58/ 31013 John Tagliamonte/Linda Epstein Winchester Boat Club 37 [70/DNF] 39 20 16 31 18 27 188.00 26
27 65/ 30606 Peter Wolcott/Kerri Wolcott Quassapaug Sailing Center 34 28 24 6 32 [54/ZFP] 41 24 189.00 27
28 23/ 30500 Brian Hetherington/Max Hetherington SSA 40 15 [54/ZFP] 17 37 30 28 28 195.00 28
29 56/ 30749 Christopher Stang/Lindsey Stang no club affiliation 41 [42] 16 32 25 37/ZFP 29 18 198.00 29
30 06/ 30391 Brett Davis/Christina Perrson SSA 17 10 41 39 36 35/ZFP [70/DNF] 30 208.00 30
31 46/ 31313 Alex Pline/Lisa Pline SSA 30 32 59/ZFP 14 24 [70/DSQ] 38 15 212.00 31
32 32/ 30687 Sean Kelly/Trisha Kutkiewicz SSA 38 25 44 40 29 [45] 30 29 235.00 32
33 48/ 31357 Eric Reinke/Morgan Commette SSA 33 12 25 29 28 43/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 240.00 33
34 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA [53/TLE] 40 19 23 38 52 36 33 241.00 34
35 64/ 30325 Harry Waskow/Rosalind Hansen Surf City Yacht Club 14 48 22 [52] 41 48/ZFP 43 31 247.00 35
36 04/ 30262 John Coolidge Atlanta Yacht Club 44 37 [70/ZFP] 21 35 36 39 36 248.00 36
37 53/ 24089 David Schoene/Sandy Westphal SSA 35 17 34/ZFP 48 46 [70/DNF] 34 38 252.00 37
38 29/ 30928 Chris Jankowski/Eleanor Wells SSA 31 30 38 33 18 39/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 259.00 38
39 10/ 29147 Liz Dubovik/Alex Romagnoli Chatham Yacht Club [53/TLE] 14 33 34 53 37 45 44 260.00 39
40 35/ 31256 Ed Machado/Jon Robertson Mission Bay YC 39 29 37 54 [58] 42 14 46 261.00 40
41 28/ 29536 Julian Inglis/Nathan Poulton GCBC 36 38 28 45 [49] 47/ZFP 33 34 261.00 41
42 66/ 29111 Joel Zackin/Pam Corwin Quassapaug Sailing Center 42 41 [59] 42 40 50 16 35 266.00 42
43 22/ 30600 Kevin Hetherington-Young/Audrey x2 Winchester Boat Club 28 47 53 38 42 [61/ZFP] 26 41 275.00 43
44 52/ 29499 Adam Rousmaniere/Jennifer Rousmaniere Winchester Boat Club 26 51 [57] 47 43 41 42 39 289.00 44
45 54/ 31344 Luciano Secchin/Cicero Barcelos Iate Clube do Espirito Santo [53/TLE] 49 48 41 51 16 37 49 291.00 45
46 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 53/TLE [56] 31 53 30 44 40 45 296.00 46
47 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club [53/TLE] 34 29 50 47 48 48 42 298.00 47
48 19/ 29318 Christopher Hains/Barbara Mann Guelph Community BC 45 52 [70/ZFP] 49 39 38 31 47 301.00 48
49 01/ 31157 Martin Bebb/Anne Rusnak no club affiliation 47 60 11 44 48 54 50 [70/DNS] 314.00 49
50 70/ 30301 Chris Ryan/Nicole Ryan SSA 27 36 43 43 33 [70/DNF] 70/DNS 70/DNS 322.00 50
51 41/ 29964 Robert Panza/Charlie Baywood Quassapaug 48 46 46 35 54 [56] 49 50 328.00 51
52 62/ 30236 Kenneth Voss/Kay Voss CRYC/CGSC 53/TLE 54 51 [56] 55 35 44 43 335.00 52
53 37/ 30510 Keisha Meyer/Josh Meyer Bellport Bay Yacht Club 53/TLE 43 49 [59] 50 43 47 51 336.00 53
54 26/ 29987 Jason Hill/Maryl Ludden no club affiliation 53/TLE 39 [64/ZFP] 55 45 49 53 48 342.00 54
55 40/ 29311 Gilmore O’Neill/Connor O’Neill Medford Boat Club 50 [58] 54 57 56 53 46 40 356.00 55
56 11/ 31061 David Eggleton/Tyler Eggleton SSA 32 35 48/ZFP 37 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 362.00 56
57 43/ 26280 Gareth Petko-Bunney/Kimberly Leonard Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 50 [64] 62 57 57 51 52 382.00 57
58 44/ 30819 Francisco Perez/Kerry OBrien OHCC 46 44 55 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 39 70/DNS 70/DNS 394.00 58
59 24/ 28714 Matt Heywood/Chris Bickley North Cape Yacht Club 49 53 [70/ZFP] 51 44 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 407.00 59
60 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 53/TLE 65/TLE 35 60 61 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 414.00 60
61 38/ 30390 Howard Miller/David Miller Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 59 56 58 60 58 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 414.00 61
62 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 53/TLE 61 60 [70/DNF] 52 55 70/DNS 70/DNS 421.00 62
63 15/ 27734 Mark Fuhrmann/Lee Polites SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 52 46 59 59 70/DNS 70/DNS 426.00 63
64 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 53/TLE 55 [70/ZFP] 61 62 60 70/DNS 70/DNS 431.00 64
65 30/ 31322 Todd Johnson/Faye Ferguson SSA 43 57 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 60/ZFP 70/DNS 70/DNS 440.00 65
66 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 53/TLE 63 [70/ZFP] 63 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 459.00 66
67 59/ 31007 Guy Thomas/Will Thomas Lincoln Sailing Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 65/ZFP 52 70/DNS 467.00 67
68T 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T
68T 60/ 29908 John Upton Rush Creek Yacht Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Subdivision: Junior (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 1 1 [5] 1 1 1 1 1 7.00 1
2 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard SSA 2 2 1 [3] 2 2 2 2 13.00 2
3 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA 4/TLE 4 2 2 4 [5] 3 3 22.00 3
4 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club 4/TLE 3 3 4 [5] 4 5 4 27.00 4
5 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 4/TLE [5] 4 5 3 3 4 5 28.00 5


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Subdivision: Silver (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 2/TLE 2 2 [6/DNF] 1 1 6/DNS 6/DNS 20.00 1
2 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 2/TLE 1 4/ZFP 2 3 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 20.00 2
3 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 2/TLE 5/TLE 1 1 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 23.00 3
4 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 2/TLE 3 5/ZFP 3 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 31.00 4
5 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 42.00 5


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Information is final

Principal Race Officer: Steve Podlich
Jury Chair: Elliott Levy

14 (Snipe) Questions to Alex and Lisa Pline

Appearing in Snipe Today, April 7, 2015

Alex and Lisa say: “We were a fission of two separate Snipe circles and still maintain our own “identities” in the class so we have answered separately, just the way we roll!”

1) Your first time in a sailing boat?

Lisa: Although I was too young to remember, my first ride in a sailboat would have been on a Butterfly (12′ scow) on Lake Lotawana, MO.  I do remember crewing in a “double handed” nationals at age 4 in a terrifying stormy race and skippering on my own at age 6.

Alex: When my parents moved to Massachusetts when I was 2, my father bought a Bullseye, a 12’ local keelboat (after having had a wooden snipe a number of years earlier).  I don’t remember it, but that summer they took my sister and me sailing a number of times and tell the story of our sleeping the whole time under the cuddy cabin.

2) Your first time in a Snipe?

Lisa: Bermuda Race Week 1986.  I had met James Jacobs Laser sailing on the Potomac a few weeks earlier when I get a call: “I need a crew for Bermuda Race Week.  It’s as important to win the party as winning the race.  You have 24 hours to decide.  Click.”  Now THAT’S an introduction to Snipe Sailing!  No place/event on earth personified “Serious Sailing, Serious Fun” as much as Bermuda Race Week did.

Alex: It was in Cleveland in 1988 when Bill Buckles let me try the boat. There was no wind, but on an impulse I bought the boat when Bill said if you buy it, I’ll take it to Florida for this new regatta they are starting up (the first annual Dead of Winter); you just show up and sail. How could I refuse? It was a done deal!

3) The most bizarre thing that happened in a regatta?

Lisa: 1996 Women’s World in Spain:  Sherry Eldridge and I were in position to win the regatta in the last race – all we had to do was maintain the 2nd place we had approaching the finish, when we tacked to cover and the rig “flopped”.  Luckily it was light enough air that in the 5 seconds it took me to realize that the weather shroud was no longer attached at the deck. We were able to tack back over without the rig breaking and limp across the line, but lost the places needed to win the regatta.  Nothing had broken.  The pin had just come undone. Bizarre.  Or possibly the worst luck ever!

Alex: Not really bizarre, but scary was the 1996 Midwinters in Clearwater, the year of the “big blow”. After the second triangle, going by a number of people capsized thinking we are on the edge of control, we went around the leeward mark with he main and jib ragging and barely able to control the boat. We were the last boat standing I looked at Lisa and said this is not worth it for 11th place so we took the main down and planed in under just the jib. We had to jibe in the channel, a notoriously sketchy spot and was anticipating a problem, but since the main was down, it might have been the smoothest jibe we had ever done.

4) What is the thing that angers you most in a race/regatta?

Lisa: If I’m angry at a regatta, I need to find a new way to spend my leisure time.

Alex: Drama queens. This sport is supposed to be fun and when people just won’t let something go or use issues for some personal gain it makes life very unpleasant. Sure there are things that make us upset, but have a drink , make a joke and get on with life. Otherwise, it’s too much like work and who needs that? See life lessons learned in #6.

5) Which is the race/regatta you remember with the most pleasure?

Lisa: There are so many, it is hard to choose!  Any one of the Bermuda Race Weeks (1992 when I met Alex, 1993 when Alex proposed, 1997 when we sailed won with me being 4 months pregnant, giving our new Snipe the name “Hike Like A Mother”); any Winter Circuit… basically any regatta in the late 1980’s/early 90’s.  Lordy, the Snipe Fleet knew how to throw events back in the day!

Alex: Definitely it was Bermuda Race Week 1997 when Lisa and I won with her being pregnant with Lexi. With a different crew it was the 1999 NAs in Boston where Sherry Eldridge and I finished 5th and qualified for the Westerns in Rosario Argentina.

6) And the race/regatta you would like to forget?

Lisa: The one in Atlanta where that god-awful picture of me crewing for Alex in righteous 80’s attire, dorky glasses, and goofy hat ended up on the cover of the Snipe Bulletin.  I think I’m even holding the shroud.  Please make it go away!

Alex: Haha, Lisa keeps complaining about my posting that picture on Facebook. For me, it was the Columbus (Ohio) Open in 1994. Typical light air lake regatta and were winning going into the last race when I made the tactical mistake of squeezing out someone at the start (not naming names) who returned the favor at a weather mark later in the race intentionally pushing us back to the middle of the fleet. Going up the last beat, I knew it was lost and as Lisa tells the story, she could see the top of my head starting to blow off, so she grabbed me by the ears and said “Don’t be a dick!” Advice that has served me well for the last 20 years!

7) Your “dream in the peak” (your sailing dream)?

Lisa: My “dream in MY peak” would have been to win a Women’s Worlds (see #3), but my current dream would be to win a Women’s event sailing with Lexi.  I think we might be the only Mother/Daughter team for the record books 🙂

Alex: I’d like to win a national level Snipe event, especially with Lexi. I think it would be cool for her to get her name on a trophy like the DonQ Rum Keg for posterity’s sake.

8) Sailing goals for 2015, and beyond?

Lisa: See #7, but more broadly getting back in the boat with Alex and encouraging Lexi to continue sailing in the class.

Alex: I’m just glad to be back sailing competitively with family and enjoying the Snipe community again. Like I said in my SnipeToday article, it really is like waking up from a long winter’s nap, and in that sense just being back is enough. Also not having any real results expectations makes doing reasonably well even more enjoyable. As Lisa always jokes, the key to happiness in life is low expectations. Not sure what that says about her marrying me though…

9) The most important people for you in sailing, and in the Snipe?

Lisa: Alex, of course, but also Peter Commette that he came back to the Snipe after “lapsed” years with back issues and family – certainly a role model for us.  Also Old Man – how can I ever whine that I’m too old to hike when I see Old Man still with the energy for the Snipe on and off the water?  Gotta also mention Phil Richmond here for recruiting me to skipper his boat (Phil crewed) when I was too young to be able to afford my own boat.

Alex: Lisa no doubt, but I also agree Peter’s return to the Snipe was inspiring and he was prescient about how enjoyable sailing with Lexi would be after relaying his experiences sailing with his daughters. Although never involved with Snipes, Bill Ragg with whom I sailed on his big boat in Cleveland, had a huge effect on me because he was the kindest and most loyal skipper anyone could ever imagine. A real class act.

10) Why the Snipe?

Lisa: By now it just feels like “home”, but originally the small boat, tactical, awesome people, awesome events is what snagged me out of college.  What has lured us back are the friends that we have across the country that we look forward to re-connecting with.

Alex: I came into the Snipe on a whim from Lasers, but now that I am here, I could not imagine sailing any other boat (regularly anyway). While I am a bit of a gear head and certainly could enjoy a boat like the 505 from that perspective, I like the Snipe because there is just enough adjustability to make it interesting and challenging technically, but not overly complex where technical understanding is a key success factor; there are many people who are not technically inclined but do very well in the boat (I married one!). I think the heavier weight of the Snipe is a real plus for the class because it makes the boat much less sensitive to overall crew weight. These characteristics of the boat result in a very heterogeneous group of the people sailing it. This mix of people is one of the gems of the class that makes the social aspect so good. Also, after trying to be competitive in the cycling world where I didn’t pick my parents well enough, it’s nice to come back to a boat that physical ability is not the limiting factor. The Snipe is a quirky boat and having a lot of experience to know how to make it go can overcome a lot of brute force.

11) Your perfect sailing venue and your perfect conditions?

Lisa: My perfect conditions (8-10, light chop) would indicate Biscayne Bay or the Chesapeake, but best venue ever was Spanish Point Yacht Club.  Two minutes to the race coarse, the most hypnotizing warm blue water, awesome bar/club to hang out… often too windy for my “ideal”, but no place was more perfect for a Snipe regatta.

Alex: Spanish Point Boat Club in Bermuda for all the reasons Lisa mentions, but I have to say this year’s DonQ was about as perfect as it gets. Leisurely, warm mornings and races after noon in 8-12 knots is about as good as it gets!

12) Besides sailing, what other sports do you practice?

Lisa: Walking.  I subscribe to the motto: “No pain, no pain.  What’s the problem?”

Alex: Competitive cycling.

13) Are you superstitious?

Lisa: Not at all!

Alex: NO!

14) Your perfect holiday?

Lisa: Bermuda Race Week where after your last race there were still 4 cocktail parties left!

Alex:  Bermuda as Lisa mentions (that cocktail party quote is a Bill Buckles classic), but what would make it even more perfect is if the kids were there and either also sailing or hanging out and enjoying themselves with friends.

Snipe Sailing Act II: Waking Up From a Long Winter’s Nap

It’s funny how an occasional impulsive decision can end up having such a profound impact on the trajectory of one’s life. Buying my first Snipe from Bill Buckles in 1987 – the venerable purple Champipple – was one such decision. I used to sail with Bill on a Hawkeye, a Dubois 47 during the waning days of IOR racing in Cleveland. He used to disappear in March and April to sail some boat called a Snipe (he was one of the US builders at the time at Mueller Boat Company in Lorain OH) and always came back tan with great stories of fun sailing, daiquiris and mopeds in Bermuda. Having been away from small boats since going to college in Cleveland, I thought, what the heck, might be a good way to get back in, so I went for a short sail one day on Lake Erie in almost no wind and Bill said if you buy the boat, I’ll take it to Florida for this new regatta they are starting up (the first annual Dead of Winter); you just show up and sail. How could I refuse? It was a done deal!

Bermuda Race Week 1993

Sailing in Great Sound Bermuda at International Race Week in 1993

For the next eight years or so, our little group in Cleveland including Terry McSweeney and a number of others sailed local Midwest regattas and started travelling south for the circuit for a number of years, often doing the master migration beginning with Halloween in Atlanta (October), Red Lobster Cup in Sanford (December), Dead of Winter in St. Pete (January), Midwinters in Clearwater/DonQ in Miami (March), International Race Week in Bermuda (May) with the boats finally coming back to the US in New Jersey for an east coast regatta. Along the way in those years I made a ton of US Snipe sailor friends and my Snipe sailing began to improve.

Then came Race Week in Bermuda in 1992. I arrived a day later than most people and when I walked into Spanish Point Boat Club Terry immediately came up to me, bought me a rum drink, pointed across the room and said I’ve got the girl for you. Well, he was right and to make a long story short, Lisa Foulke and I were engaged there 12 months later. Because we were living in separate cities (Annapolis and Cleveland), we sailed a lot of regattas together in the next year. As we traveled over the next few years, eventually settling together in Annapolis, we meshed our two Snipe circles together making even more new Snipe friends. In 1995 we upgraded to Hike Like a Mother a Perrson we picked up in Clearwater. We really hit our stride sailing together with some good results, switching off skippering for a number of years. In Women’s Worlds years Lisa steered, competing in 1994 in Japan (our honeymoon with Sherry Eldridge!), 1996 in Spain, 1998 in Annapolis, 2000 in Italy and 2002 in St. Pete. Also throw in a couple stints on the SCIRA board and some fun non-sailing travel around for meetings and the circle of Snipe friends grew even larger.

As you can tell from the double entendre boat name, along came Lexi and Ellie (we won Bermuda Race Week when Lisa was 5 months pregnant with Lexi). We sailed as best we could when they were young, but when they got a little older their lives drove the schedule. As Lisa always says, it was our turn before and it will be our turn later, but it’s their turn now. We did get a new JibeTech in 2006 but unfortunately, I hurt my back in the first regatta we sailed it in and couple that with the family priorities, the wind literally came out of our sails.

Fast forward 6 years through the usual junior sailing programs, a few local events and some less than successful attempts to get the kids interested in Snipe sailing, and along comes the awesome local High School sailing scene, which hooks Lexi into sailing like there is no tomorrow. Once the hook was set, Lisa and Lexi start sailing the Snipe together, and Lexi realizes that we actually know how to sail and that there is this really interesting, fun group of people of all ages that sail Snipes. Thanks to people like Peter Commette and the Diaz Family, who mentor young sailors, which has definitely been the case with us, the Snipe regatta schedule is again prominent on the priority list. During the Junior Worlds Qualifier in Annapolis in June 2014, it was an awesome sight to see a pack of young Snipe sailors competing hard and having a great time getting to know each other.

As a bystander in this renewed family Snipe fervor – and maybe it’s just nostalgia of the aging – I was getting, frankly, a bit jealous. Not just about the sailing but about the opportunity to enjoy the sailing and my family together. So that got me thinking, why not give it a try and see how it goes throughout the summer. I was (and to a certain extent, still am) scared to hurt my back, but I’ d never know if I could do it or not if I didn’t try. It’s been just about a year now with our local SSA regattas/invitationals Colonial Cup and Frigid Digit, North Americans in Boston, and most recently the DonQ. I’m certainly not hiking as hard, but that’s what’s great about the Snipe, it’s not just about physical ability. And you can always find a younger crew to do the hiking for you!

2014 Women's Nationals in Boston.

2014 Women’s Nationals in Boston.

Over this past year, it has been fantastic to sail again with Lisa, watch Lexi develop into a great Snipe crew and reconnect with many old – and new – Snipe friends. One thing I have found is that while I am a bit rusty (mentally and physically), it’s like riding a bike, “the sensations” of how it feels to be racing in and socializing around Snipes, come back quickly. I started to notice this especially after the North Americans and the Frigid Digit last summer; and, this past weekend at the DonQ really capped it off. Maybe it was the contrast of the warm sun and beautiful sailing on Biscayne Bay after a cold winter, but I really feel like I am finally waking up after a long winter’s nap. And of course we have a current double entendre boat name that reflects this for both Lisa and me (for you Elton John fans) – The Bitch is Back. And it is good, no, great to be back.