Snipe USA

Remembering Billy Roberts

April 19
14:05 2019
Billy Roberts (left),the new Junior Snipe Champion of the US, receives the Owen Duffy Memorial Trophy from the International Commodore Ted A. Wells. His crew, Wert Fox, looks on with a great deal of pleasure as well he might. Right: “Fiddle Faddle” sailed by the two boys.

As a teenager, he was Snipe fleet champion at Chattanooga TN in 1951, winning over other well-known sailors such as Owen Duffy and his Dad, Dixie Roberts.  He raced a period-famous 1948 Snipe #7428 “Fiddle Paddle” which was built featuring the long waterline and flat forward keel concepts of Clark Mills who was becoming famous for building fast Snipes such as #6995 “Honey” which Francis Seavy raced to win the 1951 Snipe US Nationals.  Some details of “Fiddle Paddle” can be seen in photos in the booklet “Building a Plywood Snipe” (by Harold Gilreath, published in 1960). At last report, this  Snipe still exists, stored for many years  in northern Georgia

In 1952, Billy Roberts star begain to show brightly when he finished 2nd in the Snipe US Junior Nationals and 8th in the Snipe US (Senior) Nationals in hot competition with experienced sailors  [A photo of Roberts sailing “Fiddle Paddle”  with Brainard Cooper crewing can be found on p.5 of the October 1952 Snipe Bulletin, if the original can be found in SCIRA archives]

In the 1953 Snipe US Nationals, Roberts finished 2nd in the Wells Trophy Series.

In 1954, Roberts won the Snipe US Junior Nationals and finished 8th in the Snipe US (Senior) Nationals. [Photos of Roberts and crew and racing Snipe #7428 “Fiddle Paddle” are shown on p. 3 of the September 1954 Snipe Bulletin].

In subsequent years, Roberts moved on to sailing other boats and was well-known in Florida racing circuits for designing and racing high-tech catamarans.  He regularly returned to the Chattanooga area for visits with family and sailors there.

Roberts passed away recently on April 14, 2019 in Florida, he lived in the Palm Beach area.


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