by Pietro Fantoni, SCIRA Vice Commodore
(Photo courtesy of Matias Capizzano)
In La Coruna we split, for the first time in the history of the Snipe World Championship, the boats in two fleets: Yellow and Blue fleet for the qualifying series (5 races) and Gold and Silver for the final series (6 races).
85 boats in total competed for the 2017 Worlds, at the 2015 Worlds in Talamone the boats on the same starting line were 83.
I wrote an article on this topic a few months ago, starting from the positive experience of 2016 Europeans in Santiago de la Ribera (where the fleet of 109 boats was divided into two).
But was the experience in La Coruna just as positive as for the Europeans?
During and after the World Championship I have gathered many opinions, some negative and others positive.
But the first question to ask is: Why in the past did we have only one fleet? That is because the number of boats was low.
1997 San Diego – 52 boats
1999 Santiago de la Ribera – 56 boats
2001 Punta del Este – 61
2003 Landskrona -58
2005 Gamagori – 51
2007 Porto – 57
2009 San Diego – 49
2011 Rungsted – 59
The Deed of Gift was changed with the reallocation system and with the spots for the former World Champions. So in 2013 in Rio we had 77 boats, 83 in Talamone and 85 in La Coruna. Much more than in the past.
At the Worlds in Talamone there were some problems, some the same as we had experienced in Rio: long waits in the water, many general recalls, unfair mark roundings. With 85 boats and the positive experience of the 2016 Europeans, it was decided to go with the two fleet system for the 2017 World Championship.
However, the differences between Santiago de La Ribera 2016 and La Coruna 2017 are remarkable:
Santiago de La Ribera: 2 separate race areas, 2 separate Race committees
La Coruna: 1 race course for the 2 fleets, 1 Race Committee, 2 separate starts on the same race area
The voices I have listened are many.
Some are happy with the fleets. Others – silver fleet sailors – felt themselves as “B sailors”, who could not compete with the best, who had to always wait for their turn on the starting line or waiting outside the harbour for their turn at the ramp.
Some are happy and would like to keep the fleet system (yellow and blue, gold and silver). Others would want to return to a single start, regardless of the number of participants, in a single race course (like in Talamone and Rio). Others would like to reform the Deed of Gift, returning to old quotas per country or, at least, limiting the reallocation system for the hosting Country, thus guaranteeing a higher quality of regatta.
The issue is not just deciding between 1or 2 fleets; but to also decide between a World Championship with a few boats or with many boats. In other words, a tightly closed World Championship or World Championship with more boats and therefore (perhaps) with more media impact and more incentive for sponsors.
The Board will shortly distribute a questionnaire to the participants of the last World Championship. We want to know the opinion of all Snipe sailors.