After a 5-year hiatus, the 80th Snipe Midwinter Championship was run in the awesome new venue of Upper Keys Sailing Club in Key Largo, FL. Eight boats with Annapolis Fleet members participated in the 26-boat fleet with the full Snipe range of World Champions and hopefuls, weekend warriors, and new-to-Snipes sailors. The scheduling one week after the Comodoro Rasco brought back the idea of the circuit with some travelers doing both regattas, while others shared boats that had traveled down on doubles.
The conditions on Saturday were ideal with a lovely 8-14kt offshore breeze in the very protected Buttonwood Sound on the north shore of Key Largo, allowing the RC to get in 4 races. Even when the front rolled through on Sunday morning and the breeze was a solid 15-20kt, the protected waters made it like sailing on a big beautiful lake with palm trees, enabling 2 more races to be sailed (6 total). The nature of the sound made for short course racing (30-40 minutes), which of course in this competitive fleet means super tight roundings and several general recalls until the U-flag became the standard modus operendi. Upper Keys Sailing Club was super welcoming with great hospitality (pizza Friday, Cuban dinner Saturday, and cookout after racing Sunday), a great bar, a casual yard vibe with plenty of space, easy beach launching, and friendly members. They seemed to enjoy hosting us as much as we enjoyed being there!
Trevor Davis sailing with Diego Escobar (fellow Team USA competitor at the JR Worlds in Portugal) were the top placing Annapolis boat in 6th. The Miami Machine continued their dominance with Ernesto Rodriguez/BB Bellacosa, Raul Rios/Lexi Pline, and Enrique Quintero/Charlie Bess taking 1, 2, 3. Check out Carol Cronin’s great regatta recap at SnipeToday.org: https://www.snipe.org/regatta-reports/2023-regatta-reports/snipe-midwinters-2/
The Comodoro Rasco the weekend before the Midwinters was also a fantastic event, with the aforementioned Miami Machine dominating in the same 1, 2, and 3 order. The top Annapolis Fleet member was Arthur Blodgett/Gracie Howie (who we stole from Miami!) in 4th. For the Rasco, it was Saturday that was the frontal day, but in that case, the RC gratefully cancelled racing for the day early so that competitors could enjoy brunch in the Grove or catch up on whatever needed attending to. Even though the clouds looked ominous Sunday morning, the RC was able to get 3 great races sailed in a fading breeze, starting at 8-10 and dying to 5. RC saw some weather coming so sent the fleet in as the skies opened up, raining buckets during pack-up. Coconut Grove Sailing Club held welcoming parties on both Friday and Saturday with great Cuban appetizers and hospitality at their bar. Several competitors went into the Grove Saturday night and had lasagna in honor of the many years that the Diaz family hosted us with a lasagna dinner at their home during the event. For the detailed “blow by blow” of the racing, Kathleen Tocke wrote up a great report in SnipeToday: https://www.snipe.org/regatta-reports/2023-regatta-reports/comodoro-rasco-8/
The Annapolis Snipe Fleet had a great group go down for the first half of the Winter Circuit – we were over 30% of the competitors at these two events, having 7 boats with Annpolis-based sailors at the Rasco, and 8 at the Midwinters. Sailors who enjoyed the festivities were: Kim Couranz, Alex & Lisa Pline, Nikki Bruno, Arthur Blodgett, Brady Stagg, Gracie McDougall, Devon Feusahrens, Jill Bennett, Trevor Davis, Evan Hoffmann, Shira Golub, Marissa Milliken, Tyler Mowry, Chloe Constants, and Greg Virgin. Greg will remember this event as the delivery and christening of his new DB!