Originally published on snipe.it (December 2010).
– In the last years a new life began for the Snipe class in Croatia. Can you tell us how important was the class in the past and now in your country?
Snipe always had a big significance in Croatia. For years this was the most numerous and frequent class on which generations and generations of sailors where raised. Today it is almost impossible to speak with older sailors who will not gladly remember their days in Snipe or the Class itself.
Also not only that it was the most numerous but also a very successful class. Among many great results I can remember Grego-Nikolic 1st place at Europeans 66, then 2nd in 64 & 68 and 2nd at worlds in 76, Ivancic-Sirola 2nd at 70’ Europeans. Many Snipe sailors will also remember the famous Barbanera where we have been very successful, and so on.
When all of this is taken into consideration it is obvious what Snipe once represented and how the revitalization of the Class is important.
– How is the situation in Croatia about the small boats (dinghy)?
I think that in one hand the situation is very good if we take a look the results we are achieving, especially in Olympic classes and when those results are compared with the relatively little number of sailors.
On the other hand there is way to big concentration of the sailors in single crew boats while multi crew boats are almost completely ignored.
As I understood the popularisation of two person boats will be one the main priorities of the Croatian Sailing Federation, and there is where I also see a good opportunity for further popularisation of the Snipe Class in Croatia; especially within the youth sailors.
– Can you explain your strategy for developing the class in Croatia?
As I had already mentioned, in the past the Class was extremely popular and successful which give us a good base for development. I would say that only the present financial troubles people today have stand in the way of faster growth, but there is no doubt that the Class in Croatia will continuously and steadily grow. For now the development is mostly focused on sailors that are already familiar with class from the past and would like to sail Snipe again. However we must bring Snipe Class to youth sailors as that is the only proper way to develop Class on long-term and healthy basis.
Generally speaking I think that Snipe Class has become or is considered more like boat for “older” which should be changed on the world level in the future. If we manage to grow the Class in Croatia we will make a good job, but if we manage to parallel expand it to youth sailors we will do excellent job.
– Which are the difference and the points of contact between Croatia and Italy?
Croatia and Italy take part of the same climate and a very similar mentality and therefore I think we understand each other well in all subjects and so in sailing as well. I don’t think there are much differences between us. Personally I enjoy hanging out and sailing with my Italian friends, especially my friends from Trieste & Muggia region.
– What do you think about the situation of the class in Europe and particularly in South Europe?
As I have been sailing Snipe only some five years now; it is difficult for me to dentally evaluate the situation in Europe. I think that Class is very well organised as on European so on World level, but I would say that this is normal and expected from a Class with such long and wealthy tradition.
However as I already mentioned it is obvious the lack of youth sailors, except maybe Spain which is clearly ahead of others. It would be interesting to see their strategy of development; draw some lessons and try to apply them.
South Europe is extremely important part of Snipe family from where two out of four biggest fleets are coming. Italy and Spain should be the leaders and main developers of the Class in this region, and give South Europe much greater importance as I think she’s having now. Here I mostly refer to South European Championship which at this moment as I see it does not represent a regatta of great importance. Because of this I’m very happy as it seems that this year will have more bids than previously.
– Can you tell us your program or your ideas as South European Secretary?
My role is primarily to assist European Secretary in the terms of South Europe and South European Championship. In that respect I would like and will try that we bring the importance of South Europe and SE Championship to a higher level. It would be great to have a continuous rotation of the championship among all SE countries. Better connections between the members and the importance of the SE Championship as the central competition in the region will be my main tasks.
– Thank you Damir and see you soon!
Thank you very much and best regards.