Mission Bay, September 21-23. Regatta Report by John Fretwell. Photos cortesy of Paul Henkart.
The 2012 US Snipe Master’s Championship was held September 21-23 at Mission Bay Yacht Club. San Diego’s Fleet 495 hosted the event and was very pleased to see the strong turnout, with 32 teams from across the country hitting the water! Regatta Chairman Lanny Coon and his team of Craig Storms, Bob Bowden, Vicki Martin, Megan Murphy, Gus Wirth and many others handled charter boats, housing, and a social schedule that guaranteed this would be Serious Sailing, Serious Fun!
Day 1 saw three races sailed in perfect warm-up conditions with a steady 6-9 kt westerly sea breeze. Doug and Beth Hart wasted no time setting the pace with a rock solid 1-1-3 for the day, while legends Jerry Thompson and Jeff Lenhart each took an OCS to put the pressure on themselves early. Friday night’s festivities were amazing, with a street taco and margarita fiesta hosted by competitors Admiral Dixon and Kiki Smith (Race 3 winners!) from their appropriately commanding home atop Point Loma! Snipe style acoustic jams were provided by competitors Ray Treppa, Cap’n Jack Fretwell, Zank Bennett and yours truly.
Saturday was a different story. Around starting time the breeze quickly climbed to the 12-16 kt range, making things a whole lot more athletic for the venerable fleet! Two good length races were sailed with Gregg Morton/Stacey Szabo and Craig and Lisa Leweck each grabbing a bullet, while Dixon took an OCS to thicken the plot. Dinner was hosted at MBYC and from the photos circulating the internet, this crowd still knows how to rock a party!
Sunday brought yet another set of variables as both brains and the racecourse were enveloped in pea-soup fog. Through several false starts the pressure and direction wavered wildly from 5-15 kts with 20 degree shifts! Three races was the goal, and with the course shortened significantly and breeze up, traffic was pretty scary! Morton/Szabo grabbed another bullet in the first race, while Team Hart took an OCS, bringing the field back into play. New race leaders appeared in the second and third races, with Packy Davis/Sonya Smith and Ken and Julie Redler each taking a first. In the end, Doug and Beth Hart prevailed by two points over Dixon and Kiki Smith, with Team Leweck another three points back. All three married teams! Jerry Thomson (12th) was the top Grand Master, sailing with Mandi Smith. Dave Schibler and his daughter Karen were the top of several family teams, and Tarasa Davis and Aine Fretwell were the top women’s team.
At trophies it was clear that a great time had been had by all, and the crowd was gearing up for the 2013 Masters in Erie, PA. Long live the Snipe fleet!