14 Questions to … Kim Couranz

I’ve been lucky enough to sail a Snipe with Kim Couranz since 2010. Kim’s based in Annapolis, only a short walk from the home of Snipe Fleet 532 (Severn Sailing Association). Since our homes are about 400 miles apart, we mostly meet up for regattas, though we do try to fit in a practice day or two when our schedules permit.

The very definition of “super crew”, Kim guilts, grins, and cajoles me into sailing my best. And when I don’t, she prescribes (and supplies) large doses of the best regatta medicine of all: laughter.  -Carol Cronin

– 1. Your first time in a sailing boat?

When I was a kid, maybe 6 or so, our across-the-street neighbors had a Sunfish. They car-topped it to a nearby lake, and convinced me to come out with them on it. It was pretty windy and was terrified when it started to heel. Well at least I thought it was windy, probably wasn’t really!

– 2. Your first time in a Snipe?

1996 U.S. Nationals in Pensacola, Florida. It was so hot people were getting off the water and jumping into the pool with full sailing gear on to cool off. That was so long ago I don’t remember a heck of a lot more about it!

I’ve been lucky enough to sail a Snipe with Kim Couranz since 2010. Kim’s based in Annapolis, only a short walk from the home of Snipe Fleet 532 (Severn Sailing Association). Since our homes are about 400 miles apart, we mostly meet up for regattas, though we do try to fit in a practice day or two when our schedules permit.

The very definition of “super crew”, Kim guilts, grins, and cajoles me into sailing my best. And when I don’t, she prescribes (and supplies) large doses of the best regatta medicine of all: laughter.  -Carol Cronin

– 1. Your first time in a sailing boat?

When I was a kid, maybe 6 or so, our across-the-street neighbors had a Sunfish. They car-topped it to a nearby lake, and convinced me to come out with them on it. It was pretty windy and was terrified when it started to heel. Well at least I thought it was windy, probably wasn’t really!

– 2. Your first time in a Snipe?

1996 U.S. Nationals in Pensacola, Florida. It was so hot people were getting off the water and jumping into the pool with full sailing gear on to cool off. That was so long ago I don’t remember a heck of a lot more about it!

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

I don’t know if it was bizarre—but I definitely learned from it! At a J/24 Midwinters in Key West a looooong time ago, it was so very windy that one boat raced with just its jib up. And they beat everyone in that race. So it looked bizarre, but worked, as they didn’t spend the entire time flogging sails and going sideways. So it helped me to think about finding different solutions to challenges on the water.

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

When sailors use the rules as a sword rather than a shield. (Except when the time is right: For example, tacking on your closest competitor on the last leg of the last race can be necessary.)

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

Snipe Worlds in Denmark, 2011. It was pretty darn windy most of the time, and my skipper Carol Cronin and I are a very small team, so it was quite challenging. And I love a good challenge. We didn’t have a super finish, but we worked very hard and I’m proud of our effort. And off the water, we were lucky to stay with a wonderful family (thank you Piet and Pia!) so getting back to the house felt like going home every evening. Also, pretty much every Comodoro Rasco Regatta I’ve ever sailed (thank you Carmen for having us all to your home!).

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

Not one in particular but any regatta where the final finishes are resolved through drama rather than on-the-water sailing skill.

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

Can I say it’s to be Bibi Juetz when I grow up? Sailing fast with good, strong men as crew who wear, at least from the American perspective, not many clothes?

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– 8. Sailing goals for 2015, and beyond?

To sail as fast and smart as possible at the Snipe Worlds and the Laser Masters’ Worlds (Kingston, Ontario, Canada in July).

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

I’m an only child, so it’s fun for me to have a sailing family, so I now have many brothers and sisters!  My skipper, Carol Cronin—I’m so lucky to get to go sailing with such a great friend. I have learned a lot from sailing with her, and it’s super to go to regattas with someone you enjoy hanging out with, even if sailing wasn’t part of it. Carol’s husband, Paul, is great to talk with about sailing and boat setup—he has such a good way of explaining how rig tune and such affect sail shape. Peter Commette and Andrew Pimental have pretty much completely opposite ways of going about getting boats set up—but I learn so much from both of them. And of course Old Man Diaz—he’s my hero! My Annapolis sailing family, some sail Snipes, some don’t—but Margaret and Steve Podlich and Lisa and Alex Pline—and their kids.

– 10. Why the Snipe?

Because it’s challenging for the mind and the body, and the fleet is so very good (and fun people, too). If you work hard, you’ll see results. And because it’s nice to sail with other people on the same boat. My jokes to myself get pretty old on the Laser!

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

I do love Biscayne Bay, with the perfect Snipe-sized waves and usually good hiking breeze. I sailed Laser Masters’ Worlds in Mussanah, Oman, in 2013 and while we might all have wished for a bit more breeze that week, it was a terrific experience. All the sailors stayed at the same hotel, so we got to spend lots of time with friends new and old from around the world. All the boats were kept right at the hotel, and the sail to the race course was perhaps 10 minutes. It’s a great place to sail.

– 12. Besides sailing, what other sports do you practice?

I like to run. A lot. And for a long time. Usually by myself. I enjoy trail ultramarathons, and all the training that leads up to them.

– 13. Are you superstitious?

I wouldn’t say superstitious, but I do like routines and taking time to do things the right all the training that leads up to them. way. Like thoroughly rinsing sailing gear at the end of the day. And getting a good cup of coffee in the morning.

– 14. Your perfect holiday?

Wake up, run many miles along a gorgeous coastline. Eat a big and decadent breakfast. Nap/read a book while I digest that awesome breakfast and wait for a juicy seabreeze to fill in. Sail a dinghy—hard—for a few hours. Hot tub, shower, massage, and pedicure. Then a long dinner (pasta, seafood, wine, and chocolate) around a big table with lots of dear friends and many, many laughs.

 

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