White Rock Lake, May 28-29, 2016. Report by Gene Soltero
(photo courtesy of Cathy O’Neal)
Snipe Fleet 001 has been racing on White Rock Lake since 1932, hosting the Southwestern Snipe Championship each year for the past 84, except during WWII. When the fleet started, the lake was past Dallas, surrounded by the suburbs of Lakewood, Casa Linda and Fisher. Since then, the suburbs has been swallowed up by the city and the lake is more or less in the center of Dallas and part of a 15-mile long city park containing recreation trails, sports fields, golf courses, dog parks, and horse stables. On Memorial Day weekend (May 28-29), the Fleet and Corinthian Sailing Club hosted 15 competitors for the 80th sailing of the Championship. Eight local boats were joined by five Denver boats and one boat each from the Texas Gulf Coast and Oklahoma.
Sailing in unusually light and flukey conditions (2-8 knots) the competitors were frequently strewn across the lake. But the Race Committee, made up of sailors from the local Corinthian class fleet, successfully finished the scheduled five races, three on Saturday afternoon and two on Sunday morning. Five out of the top six finishers each had one race finish in the bottom half of the fleet, indicating either parity among the sailors or representing the effects of the ever changing wind direction and velocity.
By the start of the final race, Laura Dalgleish (a past winner) had a comfortable 4 point lead over Steve Tautz and Gene Soltero (also past winners). The nice starting breeze evaporated quickly and it took the lead boat (helmed by Andrew Sommer—an MIT collegiate racer in his first Snipe regatta) a little over 27 minutes to reach the first mark. Gene was able to stay ahead of Steve on the last leg in the drifting conditions, while Laura was overtaken by two boats, losing to Gene on the tie-breaker.
All in all, a good time was had by all, including all the Colorado and Oklahoma sailors getting to Dallas in time Friday night to attend the Fleet’s welcoming Paella Party.