Snipe USA

2007 Ron Payne Memorial Regatta

2007 Ron Payne Memorial Regatta
May 13
11:26 2007

2007 Ron Payne Memorial Regatta

Lauderdale Yacht Club

May 12, 2007


On Saturday, May 12, Lauderdale Yacht Club hosted the 3rd Annual Ron Payne Memorial Snipe Regatta. A total of 18 competitors attended this year’s event. In addition to the excellent turnout, the field of competitors was extremely deep, including Augie Diaz, who is the reigning World Champion, Ernesto Rodriguez, 2005 National Champion, Peter Commette, 1996 National Champion, former Olympian Gaston Vredoni, and Hal Gilreath and Gonzalo Diaz, Jr., both U.S. Team members.

After a scenic jaunt through Port Everglades inlet out to the ocean, the competitors were eager to start the first race, which began in a light westerly breeze. There were multiple lead changes in the shifty conditions. It was great to see the Old Man (“El Viejo”), Gonzalo Diaz, Sr., in the lead halfway through the last leg of the race – in his 70’s and still racing these athletically demanding dinghies! Up until that time, LYC’s own father/daughter team of Peter and Sheehan Commette had been leading for most of the race. However, in the shifting, dying westerly, neither boat would prevail. Nearing the finish line, a pack of boats led by Robby Brown (and crew, Merrill Varn) caught a nice puff on the south side of the course, a precursor to the coming sea breeze, and came out ahead of the pack on the other side led by the Old Man and crew, John Kehoe.

After the sea breeze filled in from the E-SE, race 2 was started. The right side of the course paid dividends on the first beat for Ernesto Rodriguez and his crew from LYC’s high school program, Megan Place. After some tight covering and jockeying for position, they beat Peter & Sheehan Commette across the line, who were followed by the Mexican team, Jorge Murrieta / Andres Akle (here in the US to train for the Pan-Am Games and the World Championships).

Races 3 and 4 were sailed in a building sea breeze, which steadily rose to about 15 knots. Race 3 was won by the Mexican team of Murrieta / Akle, who jumped out to an early lead and covered the competition around the race course. At the finish, Murrieta / Akle were followed by Dave Hiebert / Todd Halgins and Augie Diaz / Pam Kelly.

Going into the last race the Mexican team held a one point lead over Diaz / Kelly and a four point lead over Commette / Commette. Diaz / Kelly sailed very consistently in the oscillating sea breeze and were able to hold off Murrieta / Akle and Commette / Commette to win the regatta. Following closely behind Diaz / Kelly in race 4 were Rodriguez / Place, Gilreath and LYC’s Carr Moody and Vredani / David Harrison (LYC high school sailor).

Many thanks are extended to the race committee led by PC Clyde Wright, which did an excellent job completing four races by 4:00 p.m., and the LYC staff for coordinating an excellent post-race cookout. Thanks are also extended to Commodore Fred Welker for scoring the event and presenting the awards, and to John Payne for the tremendous photos accompanying this article and additional ones which can be seen on the LYC web site.

This regatta is dedicated to the memory of Ron Payne, a much loved and tireless contributor to the LYC Yachting Committee and Board of Governors, an avid Snipe, 470 and Laser sailor, an avid rower, and the 1958 Snipe National Champion crew. In 1958, Ron was a teenager just hanging out on the docks with his buddies on a lazy summer day, when John Wolcott of Fairfield, Connecticut, found himself in desperate, emergency need of a crew for the National Championships which were about to begin. Thus began Ron’s lifelong involvement in the Snipe class.

For great photos by John Payne see the Photo Gallery page.

Final results stated below and on LYC’s website:

1st Diaz, Augie Kelly, Pam 10.0
2nd Murrieta, Jorge Akle, Andres 13.0
3rd Commette, Peter Commette, Sheahan 22.0
4th Brown, Robby Varn, Merrill 23.0
5th Rodriquez, Ernesto Place, Megan 26.0
6th Vredani, Gaston Harrison, David 31.0
7th Gilreath, Hal Moody, Carr 32.0
8th Crivello, Gouzalo Fernamdez, Raprel 32.0
9th Padron, Rogelio Palacios, Caroline 35.0
10th Hiebert, David Halgins, Todd 37.0
11th Voss, Nick Fink, Tommy 44.0
12th Diaz, Gonzo Frow, Trevor 46.0
13th Porzelansin, Gabriel Schriber, Greg 53.0
14th Diaz, Old Man Kehoe, John 54.0
15th Voss, Ken Voss, Kay 54.0
16th Agnese, Mac Agnese, Jorge 56.0
17th Baker, Robin Plitt, Janet 56.0
18th Gingras, Paul Gingras, Sally 73.0

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