Snipe USA

2006 Snipe Nationals

July 14
15:46 2006

2006 USA Junior Snipe National Championship
2006 USA Snipe National Championship
Erie Yacht Club, Erie PA
July 7-14, 2016

Jr. Snipe Nationals | Crosby Series | Heinzerling & Wells

Traditionally, Snipe families have migrated to the Nationals annually for this week of recreation and competition with the family. This year, 34 of the 57 teams that participated in the Snipe USA National Championships involved families: husband/wife, wife husband/ parent/child, child parent, many parents competing against their children, brother against brother, other family members coming along, etc. The age of the competitors ranged from 8 to 76 years old. Experience levels ranged from just starting to “The Old Man”, Gonzalo Diaz, who has been sailing Snipes for 62 years, having started late at 14 years old in Cuba. Why do they do this? Constructive, goal oriented recreation for the entire family together. They can do this for a long time. A sport that teaches responsibility, teamwork, etc.

As one father said, “how else can I spend an entire week sitting next to my 14 year old daughter, just talking?” Other comments made frequently: “I know they are not at the Mall getting in trouble, hanging around with the wrong crowd”; “it beats sitting and watching them play soccer”; “provides an environment where my children can interact and compete with adults, take responsibility for maintaining equipment, and other positive values”.

The Erie Yacht Club, in Erie PA, provided the perfect environment for a “family affair”. Blessed with a protected sailing venue on a bay along Lake Erie, the sailing was comfortable for a broad spectrum of Class members. The sailing course was only minutes from the Club and easy for observers to watch from shore. The facilities provided ample space to store, rig and launch boats, form a “tent city” and “trailer park” close by, great food service and a host of club volunteers to support the on shore and on water activities. Holly and Gavin O’Hare from Annapolis (Holly grew up at Erie YC) organized this event and did a simply outstanding job. People came to the Club early and stayed late, enjoying the activities on and off the water. The Club management, staff and members made all the guests feel entirely welcome and part of the “family”.

The event started out on the weekend with Youth Championships for all-youth teams (not yet 20) and youth skippers with adult crews to help the less experienced youth learn the ropes. 19 teams participated in the 2 day, 5 race event. Some sailed their own boats, others borrowed boats from their parents or friends. The top two youth teams qualified to represent the USA Snipe Class in the Snipe Class Youth World Champs to be held in 2007 in Southern Europe.

The All Youth Championship was won by the team of Tyler Sinks and Ben Todter from San Diego. Austin Kana and Morgan Commette were second and Joe Morris and Wilson Stout were third. As Kana and Commette will be 20 next year, the Sinks/Todter and Morris/Stout teams will represent the USA at the Worlds. The Youth/Adult Championship was won by Katie Levinson from the Boston area, with her dad Harry crewing for her. The extended Levinson family has been participating in Snipe sailing for years. Peter Wolcott, with father Pierce crewing, was second, and 8 year old Christian Filter, with his father and World Class sailor Henry crewing, was third. These teams would switch positions and also sail in the main event. What bonding!

After the Junior event the Regatta has an eliminating regatta called the Crosby to determine which sailors participate in the National Championship event (Heinzerling) and which compete in the Consolation Event (Wells).

The Crosby was won by Augie Diaz and Mark Ivey, the current Snipe Class World Champions. Aside from Augie’s achievements, he was competing in the event against his father and his brother, each sailing their own boats. His mother, Carmen, also comes along to manage the men! They have been doing this as a family every year since 1965!

On to the Championship event, and the consistency of Diaz and Ivey paid off again – but the competition was made tougher due to the performance of Jim Bowers and Myrna Chan MacRae (Boston area) who had two victories in the Heinzerling series. Jim comes from a family of long time Snipe sailors, and Myrna was at the event with her husband John who skippered another boat (17th), and their young daughter. Several teams bought their young children to the event and obtained baby sitting while they competed on the water.

The top four teams qualified to go to the Snipe Worlds in Oporto Portugal in 2007: Bowers/MacRae, Rodriquez/Spina, Hornos/Quintero, and Szabo/Schoenberg. Diaz and Ivey are already qualified by virtue of being current World Champs.

Of note is that two youth teams were in the top ten in the Championship Series: Tomas Hornos and Enrique Quintero, and Nick Voss and Andy Rahn.

Also of note is that recent college star and graduate Brian Bissell, with Joe Morris up front, sailed to 8th place in his first major Snipe event.

The consolation Wells Series was won by Dustin Kays and Clayton Dixon from Atlanta. They are cousins, and grew up sailing Snipes at the Atlanta Yacht Club. They are 22 now. Clayton was also the unofficial “mayor” of “tent city”, which was formed by the Young Guns.

The 2006 USA Nationals was truly an event reflective of the Snipe Class themes “Serious Sailing, Serious Fun” and “family recreation, together for a life time”.

Come check us out by contacting the National Secretary or the nearest Fleet Captain. For contact information please go to our web site at


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