by Nicholas Grael
I have participated on the 3 last editions of the Snipe Jr. Worlds (Rio 2013, Talamone 2015 and Coruña 2017), and even though this edition had a fewer number of boats participating (13 boats less than what we had in Italy), the level of the competitors was fore sure the highest.
The first day we had two races sailed inside the bay with medium to light winds. The second day we had only one race sailed outside the bay with very light and shifted winds, a very cold and rainy day with a long time waiting ashore. The third day was back to inside the bay and we sailed three races with medium to strong winds, and the last day it were three races with strong winds sailed inside the bay
Resuming, the championship offered all kind of conditions for the competitors, the only things that remained still during the championship were the big shifts and big waves. The winners Tiago Brito and Antônio Rosa were very constant in all kind of conditions, always sailing very fast and deserved a lot winning the title.
What I think it were the bad parts of the event were the schedule of the championships (not having a spare day between the two championships) and the lack of social events on the junior championship.
Not having a spare day for the sailors to rest between the two championships was horrible. We had 4 boats from Brazil, 1 from Portugal and 1 from USA that raced both championships, and everybody was complaining a lot about ending the Jr. Championship and having to race the Senior Worlds on the following day. Me and my crew we had to sail 13 days in a row including the practice days before the Jr. Championship, and I believe the other boats did the same. It was a total of 60 upwind legs of racing (excluding the practices). The spare day could be the practice race for the senior worlds, so whoever wants to race can race, and who wants to rest or fix their boats can do it. It is also good for those Senior sailors that rented their boats for Junior sailors to have a day to prepare their boats for the Senior Worlds.
About the lack of social events on the Jr. championship: in Talamone we had a very nice dinner with music in the middle of the championship, and another one after the prize giving ceremony, and I believe all the Jr. sailors that participated in 2015 remember this championship as a memorable event. On this edition we had absolutely no dinner at the middle and at the end, and the sailors didn’t have the opportunity to socialize and make new friendships, and it was very harmful for the class, because as I know, the snipe is more than Serious Sailing, it is also Serious Fun.
Some Suggestions for the Snipe Class:
In this world championship’s Open Forum I raised an idea of decreasing the limit of making triangle courses (Olympic triangles or double triangles) instead of windward-leeward from 18 knots to 15 knots. I believe 15 knots is enough wind for the sailors to have lots of fun on the reaching leg, despite the fact that the reaching is much less dangerous than the downwind (less chance of capsizing and breaking masts). This is not a rule, just a recommendation, so the Race Committee should always have some common sense about this and evaluate whether the triangle courses are better or the windward-leeward, and they should also evaluate the size of the waves to decide it, specially in places like Coruña, where the waves were very tricky on the downwind and made it even more dangerous for the sailors. In the Junior championship we had 5 races (3 on the third day and 2 on the last day) that in my opinion would have been much better races if they were made in the triangle courses instead of windward-leeward.
Another suggestion that I have, but I didn’t raise it at the Forum, is to implement a board placed at the windward mark with the number of the boats that were OCS or UFD written on it. Some classes and championships already use this format. This would be better for everybody, better for the boats OCS because they are going to save their material and save energy for the next race, or return to the club before the other boats if it is the last race of the day. It is also better for the boats that were not OCS, because they are going to sail a much “cleaner” race with less boats. It is very sad and disappointing for the sailors to sail the whole race in hard conditions like we had in the Jr. and Senior Worlds to find out at the end of the race that everything you did on the race was in vain.