The second weekend in August will usually find about 10 boats from Annapolis making the trip over the Bay Bridge to attend the annual favorite Oxford Regatta, complete with Saturday night band and schmancy awards party at a waterfront plantation. This year, however, due to a multitude of conflicts, it didn’t look like enough boats would be able to attend, so we notified the Oxford organizers Snipes would not make it this year. We could have just taken the weekend off, but NO! Fleet Captain Lisa Pline had seen a lot of interest from new/prospective sailors and decided to use the opportunity to try a new idea for fleet building.
The dilemma was how to get new people out while still making it fun for the active members. The idea: have a one-day Crew Clinic, followed by short course races where the Crews switched boats after every race in Round Robin fashion. At the completion of a full Round Robin (6 races), the scores for CREWS were calculated separately from the scores for SKIPPERS. The best scoring CREW (over multiple skippers) was given a prize as well as the best scoring SKIPPER (with various crews).
The result was a super-fun event that kept everyone on their toes and mingling with new people. It is an idea we will definitely do again! We had 10 new-to-Snipe sailors from ages 12 to 50 (give or take) come for the Crew Clinic on land with Nikki Bruno demonstrating some of the pole launching logistics while 7 experienced Snipe sailors rigged boats to take out on the water. With the variety of skill level ascertained, 4 of the crews were put in a group to spend some extra time just learning the ropes, while the other 6 crews were sent out to start the racing. Note that the newbies joined in the racing about halfway through, so everyone got a taste of the fun! We did end up having one extra crew, but that just meant each crew had one race on a support boat as a “bye”.
Most surprising was how much fun even the skippers seemed to have. People enjoyed getting to know different people and the challenge of short course racing. Even some of the more experienced crews reported they learned some new tips from skippers they had not sailed with before. And those on the support boats seemed to enjoy hanging out and doing some heckling from the sidelines.
Thanks to all our current fleet members who supported the day – particularly Alex Pline (who ran the races), Zack Kelchner and Bradley Adam (support boat), Marissa Milliken (support rhib with the newbies), and all the boat owners/skippers: Bianca Mesa, Lisa Pline, Trevor Davis (in Brett’s boat), Bryan Stout (in Zack’s boat), Nikki Bruno (in Paul Green’s boat), Brad Milliken (in the Loaner), and Garrett Merganthaler (in Bradley’s boat).
Oh, the winners? Congrats to Steve Sinatra (recruited from NJ by Nikki ) who was top crew at the end of the day and to Garrett Merganthaler who had the highest Skipper score! In truth, though, the real winner of the day was the Snipe Class 🙂