Snipe USA

Ron Payne Memorial Regatta

Ron Payne Memorial Regatta
May 09
09:48 2016


Lauderdale Yacht Club


The annual Ron Payne Memorial Regatta was sailed May 7th in the ocean off of the Dania Beach Pier, with the Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show in the background to the north of the course. It was a spectacular day all around. Winds were moderate (8-12 knots, with some big holes until the wind steadied toward the end of the day). The wind started from the west, with challenging shifts, and moved 180 degrees to the right during the day. Add in current (counter-current flowing south for the first two races, switching to north for races 3-6) and chop going every which direction, and both sailors and race committee were working hard to process all! Host, Lauderdale Yacht Club, well-handled the varying conditions, with world class sailor Tom Lihan as PRO running the races. All 6 races were fair and held in comfortable, sunny, bathing suit weather.

Ernesto Rodriquez and Monica Willson won the first three races, and, though they were much less dominating after that, they never really had to look back. Hal Gilreath and Andre Guaragna were a strong second. Peter Commette (a vanquished defending champion) and Chase Sabadash squeezed into third.

Ron Payne’s wife (and crew), Wingate, usually comes for registration and presenting the trophy in Ron’s memory. This year she could not be with us, as she was on a long-planned vacation to Alaska. Her daughter, Eleanor Grace, and grandson, Aiden (age 14), flew in from Seattle just to take Wingate’s place. This was an extraordinary gesture on the family’s behalf, making the regatta more special for all.

Ron Payne was a long time Snipe sailor with an infectious, happy, funny, intense character. His family originally was from Ohio. When he was a young teenager, hanging out on the docks at one of the Ohio lakes yacht clubs, a visiting Connecticut sailor asked him to crew, because his crew just injured himself. The regatta was the 1958 Snipe National Championship.

Ron and Win campaigned a 470 and a Snipe for many years. She was pregnant “on the wire” crewing on the 470 with their first child.

Ron Payne also was an active member of the Snipe Class and the Lauderdale Yacht Club. When he died young of cancer in 2004, we renamed our annual Snipe Ocean Regatta to honor this special person in our community’s history. Note that the boat number on the perpetual trophy’s Snipe sail is USA 26466, the number of Ron and Win’s last Snipe together.

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