By Alex & Lisa Pline
Annapolis Snipe Fleet 532 and Severn Sailing Association served up a very competitive regatta with some interesting and challenging sailing conditions for the 2020 Snipe Colonial Cup Regatta. The regatta format was altered this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but despite all of the differences, the usual teams assumed the top spots on the scoresheet: Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke followed by Enrique Quintero/Charlie Bess and Augie Diaz/Claudia Loiacono, all from the Miami fleet. The “Under 30” contingent was very strong this year, comprising almost half the fleet. Newcomer Carter Cameron with equally new crew Elena VandenBerg, both post-college sailors, took 4th overall to win the Top U30 prize. Winner of the past two Colonial Cups, Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz took Top Woman Skipper honors beating 3 others in the category. Ten-year old Flora Cole took Youngest Skipper award, sailing with her dad Andrew.
The 45th Annual Colonial Cup, the traditional early season invitational regatta was originally scheduled for the first week in June as the first stop of the spring circuit, culminating with the Snipe Nationals at SSA June 25-28. Then came the coronavirus putting the world on pause. As a result the entire major regatta schedule was postponed a year, including the 2020 Nationals at SSA. As Maryland’s prognosis with the pandemic improved and recreational boating resumed, we started looking into what kinds of events we could run under the circumstances. Because we had the weekend blocked off for the Nationals, we decided we were in a position to delay the Colonial Cup to that weekend. Since this was the first Invitational hosted by SSA since the onset of the pandemic, a lot of thought between Regatta Chairs Chris Adriance/Kristin Mullins, Fleet Captain Lisa Pline and the Board of SSA went into planning a regatta that would be safe and compliant with Maryland COVID-19 regulations yet still maintain the “Serious Sailing, Serious Fun” the Snipe Class is known for. Many of the changes were to decrease “touch points” such as electronic pre-registration only, a Zoom skippers meeting Friday, no organized social events at the club and a cap of 22 boats to keep the number of sailors within the Maryland gathering regulations. Other preparations included operational changes at SSA such as spreading boats out over the lot, limited numbers of people inside the restrooms and physical barriers at the SSA snack bar by Botanas Fajardo. On the water, we used a 3 minute audible starting sequence to reduce personnel requirements on the main committee boat, reduced course options and staffed support boats with “family-unit” volunteers.
One interesting consequence of the lack of racing due to the pandemic is this pent up energy for getting back on the water. During the stay-at-home period, the Snipe Fleet ran a number of Facebook Live events encouraging members to use the time at home for maintenance and improvements on their boats and to keep fleet members in the loop about returning to sailing. Once recreational boating was allowed, fleet members were back at SSA practicing on the water and participating in informal weekend and weeknight racing. Because we were leading this charge (along with the Laser fleet) as the “the only game in town” and with no other racing in a typically busy time, we attracted a number of new and very active young sailors into the class.
Once the regatta was announced, that pent up energy was released and the registration filled up in just two days. The Miami fleet has also been practicing a lot and came out in force with five teams, along with 12 Annapolis fleet teams and four teams of other local/regional sailors. The demographic mix of teams was emblematic of what makes the Snipe such a versatile boat: 7 couples/family, 4 women skippers, and 8 under 30 teams. College programs represented in either current or recently graduated alums were College of Charleston, Stanford,Yale, Bowdoin, USNA, BU, MIT, St. Mary’s, Miami, ODU, and USF.
The weather for the weekend looked to be typical Annapolis conditions with a southerly(ish) gradient breeze augmented by the thermally-driven sea breeze that occurs with hot days. As it unfolded on Saturday, the breeze was more westerly, but once the land heated up it did shift around more to the south. However, it never really settled down and there were both large shifts (170-220 degrees) and pressure differences (8-15 knots) across the racing area. It was very much shifty lake-like conditions superimposed with the quintessential Annapolis “washing machine” chop due to the plethora of pleasure boats out on the bay. This combination of conditions made racing very challenging as the waves and wind were often incongruent. After an hour delay for the fleet to participate in the on-the-water memorial service for our friend Mark Murphy, racing got underway.
Ernesto Rodriguez and Kathleen Tocke, arguably the top US team at the moment and near the top worldwide, came out of the corner fighting by winning the first three races and posting a 2nd in the fourth of four windward/leeward races for the day. Newcomer to the Snipe Carter Cameron (just having signed on to the fleet’s Lease to Own boat program) with first time Snipe crew Elena VandenBerg was the top Annapolis boat in 4th, just nipping at the heels of the top three from Miami. The fleet was remarkably well-matched with very tight starts, mark roundings, and finishes. Most teams had at least one deep race and were eagerly anticipating completion of (at least) two races on Sunday so there would be a drop race.
After some late day Saturday thunderstorms, Sunday rolled around with the breeze around to the northwest, never a good sign on a hot day. Just as the fleet arrived in the starting area the breeze shut off thanks to the land heating. After bobbing around for an hour or so, the southerly filled nicely and a light but still shifty race was completed. This time Augie Diaz/Claudia Loiacono came out swinging with a win. The last race got underway as the breeze started to lighten and after the first lap, things got pretty weird with the northwest and southerly breezes fighting each other. At the second leeward mark rounding, the course was literally in the middle of the convergence zone but the Race Committee did their best to shift the course, and the race was completed, so there would be a drop race. Unfortunately, the breeze was too unstable and it was too late in the day to sail any more races and the fleet headed for the dock.
The Annapolis Snipe Fleet would like to thank Severn Sailing Association for doing all the hard work that enabled us to have a regatta in this difficult time, PRO Steve Podlich and his team of volunteer Race Committee, as well as the Miami Fleet for making the long drive to come sail with us!
Jill Bennett Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dfYqnqyPsZQt79u2A
|Pos||Sail||Skipper/Crew||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Race 4||Race 5||Race 6||Total
|1||31337||Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke||1||1||1||2||||2||7.00||1|
|2||31114||Enrique Quintero/Charlie Bess||3||2||3||||3||4||15.00||2|
|3||30288||Augie Diaz/Claudia Loiacono||5||3||||1||1||6||16.00||3|
|4||29940||Carter Cameron/Elana Vandenberg||2||5||2||10||||8||27.00||4|
|5||30473||Arthur Blodgett/Nikki Bruno||4||9||||8||8||1||30.00||5|
|6||30552||Christian Filter/Kimmie Leonard||8||||4||3||12||3||30.00||6|
|7||31295||Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz||6||||5||9||9||5||34.00||7|
|8||29682||Lorie Stout/Bryan Stout||14||11||||7||2||7||41.00||8|
|9||29966||Evan Hoffmann/Shalom Fadullon||9||12||8||||4||12||45.00||9|
|10||30337||Casey Cabot/Isabella Fadullon||11||7||9||6||||13||46.00||10|
|11||30629||Gavin OHare/Holly OHare||10||10||12||||7||9||48.00||11|
|12||30299||Trevor Long/Jessica Bennett||12||4||7||||16||11||50.00||12|
|13||30301||Chris Ryan/Nicole Ryan||7||8||10||11||||17||53.00||13|
|14||29782||Zack Kelchner/Katherine Bennet||||6||15||5||15||14||55.00||14|
|15||31313||Alex Pline/Lisa Pline||15||[22/DNF]||11||15||6||15||62.00||15|
|16||29044||Brittany Slook/Emma Remis||13||16||14||12||18||||73.00||16|
|17||30195||Henry Filter/Sandy Westphal||[22/DNS]||22/DNS||22/DNS||22/DNS||5||10||81.00||17|
|18||31061||Rich McVeigh/Carol McVeigh||18||17||17||17||14||||83.00||18|
|19||3111||Alvaro Sanchis/Charlotte Mack||17||15||[22/DNS]||22/DNF||20||16||90.00||19|
|20||28142||Flora Cole/Andrew Cole||[22/DNF]||22/DNS||22/DNS||22/DNS||11||22/DNF||99.00||20|
|21||28999||Kristin Mullins/Chris Adriance||[22/DNS]||22/DNS||22/DNS||22/DNS||21||18||105.00||21|