September 14-16, 2012. Etobicoke Yacht Club, Toronto, Canada:
Twenty-two teams completed six races in light air to decide the 2012 Snipe North American champions. On day 1 rain dominated the weather, but a moderate northwester showed good promise for racing. Ernesto Rodriguez/Anna Sepko found better pressure on the right and won the race, followed closely by Raul Rios/Edgar Diminich. Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz finished third, just ahead of World Champion Alexandre Tinoco, sailing with Kathleen Tocke.
Unfortunately the breeze quickly died off after the first race. Teams shivered in the rain, wishing they’d brought more clothes out on the water.
After a long delay and great patience from PRO Irene McNeill (and the competitors), the rain faded a bit and a six knot westerly filled in. A big left shift before the start created a large pileup at the pin, but the fleet sorted itself out and a right shift later squared up the course again. The breeze faded off over the course of the race, and many teams drifted across the finish line. Rios/Diminich won the second race, but with Rodriguez/Sepko in second they were now tied overall. Even so no one was sorry to see an A flag hoisted, indicating that would be all for the day.
Ashore, the fleet warmed up and dried out around the inside bar, and we later enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner and Steam Whistle Pilsner.
Day two dawned crisp and clear, a nice change from the rain, but with no wind. After a postponement ashore one race was completed before the breeze died again, and perhaps Ernesto and Anna woke up sooner than Raul and Edgar because they also won the first race of the second day. Jim Bowers/Julia Marsh finished third in conditions that closely resembled Jim’s home waters of Mystic Lake.
After another long (but much drier and warmer) lunch break, it was Raul and Edgar’s turn again to win the afternoon race—even after getting tangled up with Ernesto and Anna at the pin in the second start. Obviously the speed of these two boats was superior to the rest of the fleet.
Third place was also tied after day two between Jim Bowers/Julia Marsh and Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz. And with World Champion Alexandre Tinoco/Kathleen Tocke hovering just behind, we were all hoping for at least one more race—in spite of a very light forecast for Sunday.
Saturday night’s steak dinner was accompanied by the music of Harri Palm and friends, the official band of Fleet #877. Between music sets the raffle provided upgrades to many sailing wardrobes. The best prize (a Quantum jib) was won by non-Snipe sailors… and then quickly auctioned off to the highest bidder, Chris Haines, by band member-turned-auctioneer Harri Palm.
Day 3 also dawned crisp, cool, and windless. Again the fleet was held ashore until 11am, and then sent out in a light but building southeasterly. After a short delay the fleet was sent off, and more pressure on the left was balanced out by a right shift at the top of the beat. A tight battle for first was eventually won by Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz, with Ernesto/Anna in second and Raul/Edgar in third. The race committee finished the fleet downwind, in order to fit in a sixth and final race, which would earn everyone a throwout.
Another tangle at the pin took out several teams, but again Ernesto/Anna and Raul/Edgar were able to pop into the front group by the weather mark. Alexandre Tinoco/Kathleen Tocke rounded first and never looked back, leaving Kim/Carol, Raul/Edgar, Jim Bowers/Julia Marsh, and Ernesto/Anna to battle it out. Raul/Edgar managed to pass Kim/Carol right at the finish, giving them the tie-breaking regatta win.
Thanks to the Traveling Snipe Fleet, several new teams tested their skills against the top of the class. The top placing “newbies” were JJ and Tracy Hall, who quickly transferred their Albacore skills to a hard-chined boat and finished ninth in their first Snipe regatta. It was great to see so many new faces mixed with the old guard.