14 Questions to … Art Rousmaniere

Art Rousmaniere is the US National Secretary and a long-time member of the Snipe Class along with his wife Jennifer. He sails out of the Winchester Boat Club in Massachusetts, the host of the 2017 US Nationals.

– 1) Your first time on a sailing boat?

I have 6 older brothers and a younger sister in a sailing family so I suspect my first time in a sailboat was in my father’s 30-foot Atlantic. These typically race with 3-4 crew members but my father was a social animal so we oftentimes sailed with 6-7 and there was always continuous chatter aboard – not necessarily about sailing.

– 2) Your first time on a Snipe?

My first time was on the maiden voyage of our “Swedish Chef” (McLaughlin 25412). I bought it with my wife based solely on her enthusiastic review of her first sail on a Snipe the previous summer as crew for Meredith Adams in Newport.

Art Rousmaniere is the US National Secretary and a long-time member of the Snipe Class along with his wife Jennifer. He sails out of the Winchester Boat Club in Massachusetts, the host of the 2017 US Nationals.

– 1) Your first time on a sailing boat?

I have 6 older brothers and a younger sister in a sailing family so I suspect my first time in a sailboat was in my father’s 30-foot Atlantic. These typically race with 3-4 crew members but my father was a social animal so we oftentimes sailed with 6-7 and there was always continuous chatter aboard – not necessarily about sailing.

– 2) Your first time on a Snipe?

My first time was on the maiden voyage of our “Swedish Chef” (McLaughlin 25412). I bought it with my wife based solely on her enthusiastic review of her first sail on a Snipe the previous summer as crew for Meredith Adams in Newport.

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

This is a tough one for me, having sailed most of my Snipe races in small lakes where “bizarre” is almost the norm. So I choose the first race of the light-air 1986 US National Heinzerling series at Lake Chatauqua NY with Jennifer crewing for me. We led this race around all marks but with a mere few hundred yards to the finish the 2-4-knot breeze died and inverted into a barely-enough-wind-to-push-you-along run that resulted in most of the fleet catching up and lining up mostly beam-to-beam approaching the finish. We were able to stay ahead by a nose and got the gun but it must have been by a shackle-thickness as all the other boat numbers where hailed rapid-fire style immediately afterwards. I felt for the race committee’s line caller.

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

The occassional competitor who chooses to be selective on which rules to abide by or who screams at his/her crew.

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

My 9 year-old son Adam crewed for me in his first Nationals (1997 Toms River, NJ). We missed the cut in the heavy-air Crosby but won the lighter-air Wells. Close behind are most of the Lake Quassapaug regattas over the years where I either skippered or crewed for Adam or daughter Kelly (I crewed for 29-year-old Adam at this regatta this past summer).

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

Can’t think of any. This either means that all have been glorious – or I have already forgotten it/them!

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

Drive around the US or Europe with Snipe in tow and sail in a few months of regattas – a sailing version of the Bruce Brown’s 60’s surfing movie “The Endless Summer”.

– 8) Sailing goals for 2017, and beyond?

Focus on the “Serious Fun” element of the class motto.

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

I don’t think I have ever has as much fun getting my butt kicked as this past September by all the recent grads half my age at my college sailing team’s alumni regatta. While I truly enjoy hanging out with my age-peers, the most important people are the ones with the fresh energy and ideas that this group brings.

– 10) Why the Snipe?

The boat is simple, but not easy. The people press you on the water and hand you a beer on land.

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

I like steak, but I don’t eat it every day. Similarly, I would go bonkers if I sailed in the same conditions every day. To a large extent, the sport of sailing is a like a decathalon: you start with (mostly) the same tools but get challenged in so many different ways. That being said, I prefer 5-12 knot breezer with some shiftyness to mix things up a bit.

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

I play hockey fall-thru-spring and soccer spring-thru-fall. Another “sport” I play is being a mentor for a competitive high school robotics team throughout the academic year (but mostly during the winter), which I have done for 13 years.

– 13) Are you superstitious?

No. I walked across the path of my pet black cat Lucy for her 23 years and am still here to tell the tale.

– 14) Your perfect holiday?

July 4th, and not because of the fireworks. Instead, the image in my mind of lounging in my back yard or overlooking the water with cool drink in hand is a perfect stress-reliever.

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