By Gweneth Crook, SCIRA Commodore
Let me introduce myself. I grew up sailing Snipes and come from a Snipe family. My parents’ first big purchase after they immigrated to Canada in 1954 was a Snipe. From May to September each year we would travel around to Snipe regattas in Michigan, Ohio, New York and Maryland. There was also the Mid-Winter Championship, Team Racing and International Race Week. I was fortunate my parents liked to travel and took me with them. I started off sailing Snipes by crewing for my Mother and then my Father started crewing for me.
The Snipe Class really is a family and I am lucky to have many Snipe sailors who I regard as family members. I have been fortunate enough to compete in 2 World Championships, one in Karatsu, Japan in 1989 and the next in Santiago de la Ribera, Spain in 1999, I believe we were the only all-female crew at both. I have also competed in the Women’s World Championship and the World Masters Championship whose trophy is named after my Father.
My Father was Commodore of the Snipe Class in 2000 so it is a great honour for me to follow in his footsteps. I have benefitted so much from the Snipe Class it is only fitting that I volunteer to serve the Class. I started on the Board as the Secretary for the Western Hemisphere and Orient in 2012 and became Vice-Commodore in 2014. The Class would not survive and grow without the volunteer efforts of the Fleet Members, Fleet Captains, National Secretaries and Board Members who invest in the Class by volunteering their time. It is a big commitment and is greatly appreciated.
The Class motto is “serious sailing, serious fun”. The racing is of the highest caliber and offers all great competition. I have been hearing lately that many feel we are losing some of the “serious fun” that the Class is well known for. Whether you are racing at the fleet level or participating in international regattas the social side is an important factor in attracting and maintaining members to the Snipe Class. It can be as simple as a bring your own beverage event or supporting the bar/concession at the club, it is the getting together after the race and getting to know each other that will grow the Class.
I believe that communication is very important to the success of any organization. I, along with my fellow Board Members, are here to work for you, the members. Please feel free to get in touch with any of us; our contact information is in the bulletin and on the web site. We need to hear from you–the sailors!
It is an honour to be the first female and a second generation Commodore I look forward to working with you to grow this great Class of ours.
Those joining me on the Board this year are:
Pietro Fantoni is our new Vice Commodore. Pietro is co-editor of Snipe Today and recently was one of the Italian skippers at the 2015 Worlds in Talamone.
Luis Soubie is our new Secretary. Luis is from Argentina and had a very successful 2015 finishing second in both the Pan American Games and the World Championships.
Zbignew Rakocy from Poland returns as European General Secretary, Antonio Bari from Italy returns as Rules Committee Chairman and Renee Bartell from the USA is our Treasurer.
SCIRA also has returning Non-Voting Board Members:
Our Legal Counsel is Leigh Savage from the USA. Chief Measurer is Antonio Espada from Spain and our Vice Rules Chairman is Eric Reinke from the USA.
And last but certainly not least is our Executive Director Jerelyn Biehl of One Design Management in the USA.
SCIRA has some new additions with its Hemisphere Officers:
Welcome to Raul Rios, Sr. from Puerto Rico, as the Western Hemisphere and Orient Secretary. Most of you will probably recognize his name as his son had a very good year in 2015 winning the Pan American Games in the Snipe Class. Raul is a strong supporter of the Snipe Class in the Americas.
Ricardo Fabini, from Uruguay, is the new Vice-Secretary of the Western Hemisphere and Orient. Ricky has come back to the Snipe class recently competed in the Snipe Worlds. We are thrilled he has returned.
The make-up of the European Officers remains the same; Zbigniew Rakocy from Poland is European General Secretary, Kai Saarhelo from Finland is Vice European Secretary, Svend Andersen from Denmark is Northern European Secretary, Jerome Thomas from France is Southern European Secretary and Rafael Zakrzewski from Poland is Eastern European Secretary.
As I mentioned in my article for the Bulletin the Snipe Class could not run without all the volunteer positions and the one paid position our Executive Director. I am extremely grateful for all the time and energy they put into making the Snipe Class great! Next time you run into any of those mentioned above, your National Secretary or your Fleet Captain please take the time to say thank you.
I wish you a great sailing season in 2016 and hope that our paths will cross.