Twenty-two teams from 7 countries attended the 77th Snipe Midwinter Championships, hosted by Clearwater Yacht Club on March 15-17 in Clearwater, FL. As four teams present had already qualified for the Pan American Games the regatta was a great opportunity to get a feel for the competition.
Over 3 days we got nine races in 5-13 knots of breeze, providing great conditions for racing. Having not sailed the boat recently, my crew Alexandra Damley-Strnad and I began the first day with speed and starting issues but were able to constantly make positive adjustments to our technique and sail trim throughout the regatta. These improvements led to consistent finishes with all but three races outside the top 5.
The regatta highlights were holding off two multiple Snipe Midwinters past champions Augie Diaz and Ernesto Rodriguez in Race 4 to win it, and coming back from 13th place in Race 9 to finish 3rd.
Canada was well represented with 6 boats led by coach Thomas Fogh. We sailed well enough to finish top Canadian – giving us some momentum we hope to carry to the Snipe Pan American Trials at the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club in May.
We were happy with our 5th overall finish given the high level of competition. Congratulations to Snipe legend and mentors Augie Diaz and Kathleen Tocke for winning the Championships. The fleet now heads on to Miami for the Don Q regatta but I am heading to Palma de Mallorca, Spain to prepare for my first European Laser regatta.