14 Questions to … George Szabo

– 1) Your first time on a sailing boat?

Three weeks old in a Star – they had me hanging in a bag on the front of the cockpit.

– 2) Your first time on a Snipe?

1989/90 ish. A friend was practicing in one, and I gave it a spin for 5 minutes. I thought the tiller was ridiculously long. I first raced in one in 1991 at a collegiate regatta in Japan – we won.

-3) The most bizarre thing that happened in a regatta?

Being removed from my Snipe by the bowsprit on an Ultimate 20. The guy didn’t want to go above us on the run, so he decided to jibe. His pole was so close to the water, and he was so close to our Snipe that he swept me off the deck while I was driving. I was pulled off the Snipe and went in the water, the Snipe capsized, it was the first time I had capsized a Snipe.

4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta?

Dealing with heated rules discussions. It is frustrating when people see your decision to protest as a personal comment on how they live, instead of accepting they made a mistake. Protests can be a part of sailing – we need to remove the emotional part.

– 1) Your first time on a sailing boat?

Three weeks old in a Star – they had me hanging in a bag on the front of the cockpit.

– 2) Your first time on a Snipe?

1989/90 ish. A friend was practicing in one, and I gave it a spin for 5 minutes. I thought the tiller was ridiculously long. I first raced in one in 1991 at a collegiate regatta in Japan – we won.

-3) The most bizarre thing that happened in a regatta?

Being removed from my Snipe by the bowsprit on an Ultimate 20. The guy didn’t want to go above us on the run, so he decided to jibe. His pole was so close to the water, and he was so close to our Snipe that he swept me off the deck while I was driving. I was pulled off the Snipe and went in the water, the Snipe capsized, it was the first time I had capsized a Snipe.

4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta?

Dealing with heated rules discussions. It is frustrating when people see your decision to protest as a personal comment on how they live, instead of accepting they made a mistake. Protests can be a part of sailing – we need to remove the emotional part.

– 5) Which is the race/regatta that you remember with the most pleasure?

Would that be the Special Juniors regatta (senior crews for a junior) where there was no wind, and a photo of our boat ended up in the newspaper – only there was no one in the boat because we were either swimming or we were having a contest to see who could launch my skipper further in the water? Or

Would that be the time in Atlanta where it seemed like a good idea to go to the Halloween party dressed as a Snipe – so we built a full sized exact replica Snipe out of cardboard as a costume to fit 6 people? Or

Would that be the time that after my tent was relocated from the lawn to the swim platform in the middle of the lake, we re-pranked the organizer of the prank by completely covering and soaking his Snipe with liquid Soap? (He couldn’t hold onto his sheets, and was barely able to sit on the boat. To this day (over 10 years later), he has renamed the boat “Mr. Bubbles”.) Or

Would that be the regatta where I met my future wife (who was also racing Snipes) on the dance floor, just before midnight?

– 6) And the race/regatta you would like to forget?

Can’t remember. But the regatta I got the most grief for was finishing 7th at the PCCs two weeks before winning the Star World Championship.

– 7) Your “dream in the peak”? (Your sailing dream?)

To get back down to my Snipe weight

– 8) Sailing goals for 2013, and beyond?

To get back down to my Snipe weight.

– 9) The most important people for you in sailing and in the Snipe?

I assume that this is the wrong time to bring up the fact that when I was 8 years old,  I didn’t like my beginning sailing class, and preferred swiming at the pool. My Beginning sailing coach, Jerelyn Biehl, tells the story to this day how she threw me out of class. I have always wondered what type of sailor I would have been if I had different coaching from the beginning! 🙂

– 10) Why the Snipe?

Because it was there, and because it was the fleet with the best parties – so we had to go there to see what all the fun was about.

– 11) Your perfect sailing venue and your perfect sailing conditions?

Nassau, Nassau, Nassau. And of course – Lake Bracciano is equally as good.

– 12) Besides sailing which other sport do you practice?

When I’m not sailing, my biggest sport seems to be working on my honey-do list at home. We have a fixer house and I spend plenty of time trying to make it nice.

– 13) Are you superstitious?

Does this sound like superstition?

  • Don’t call home during regattas
  • Don’t shave during regattas
  • Wear the shirt that won the last event
  • Stay out late, win the races the next day, and try to repeat the entire process for a second day.
  • Eat the same food that you ate the last time you did well.

Yup – tried all of that and more. Didn’t work.

– 14) Your perfect holiday?

Hmmm. On a beach or in the mountains. Unfortunately I spent my last vacation sanding and painting my house.

1 thought on “14 Questions to … George Szabo

  1. George, does that mean you wouldn’t be a Snipe National, North American, and Star World Champion if Jerelyn hadn’t been your first sailing instructor? That’s how I read this!

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