By Art Rousmaniere
Please, let’s all of us openly admit that numbers of Snipes on the starting line and at fleet parties is like my mother’s chicken soup: some is good, but more is better.
Given that, let’s all be selfish about making this so – let’s get more boats on our fleet racing and regatta starting lines. And give us strength not to fall into the comfortable trap of dismissing this as a task for someone else, such as the class officers, fleet captain or the hot shots.
It’s quite easy, really. At the root of it, there are two simple steps:
1. PROACTIVELY SEEK OUT. Pledge that at least once this summer, each of us will reach out to a non-regular crew, friend, offspring of a fellow sailor, local college sailor, or club-member who tends to peer longingly at what we are doing and ask that he/she sail with us. Maybe even hand them the tiller for bit. For some, this may be an anxiety generator over concern with one’s season scores that could be put in jeopardy. I assure you that you will survive – try it.
2. LET THEM EXPERIENCE THE THRILL. Pledge that at least once this summer, each of us will have someone else sail our boat – be it a single 3-boat fleet race, a local low-key regatta or national regatta, it does not matter. You can even be the crew. You get to choose.
In either or both cases, take that deep breath and make the call remembering that this, in fact, is a selfish move on your part to add Snipes to your starting lines or more party-goers to your Snipe parties.
Think about it – all of us are benefactors of someone who took this step at one time on our behalf. I am forever in debt to Meredith Adams for asking my wife-of-one-year Jennifer to crew for her in a fleet race in Newport RI 30 years ago. I vividly recall Jennifer coming home that evening excitedly declaring that she had found our first boat. 25412, The Swedish Chef, remains in our family fleet of three Snipes. And Carol Cronin started in Snipes crewing for Ed Adams 15-ish years ago and then many other skippers before wrestling the tiller into her hands and evolving into a national-level skipper.
Give it a go. Be selfish. And have some serious fun along the way.