After the San Diego Olympic Classes and invited sailors wrapped up their busy weekend of intense racing in the SDOCR, 32 Snipe sailors were getting their rest and preparing their boats for another day of competition on the Pacific Ocean. The Snipe North American Championships, which started on Saturday, October 6, ran one day longer than the SDOCR. Conditions for the final day were smoother than previous under sunny skies with an 8-12kt consistent breeze from the south.
The Snipe North American Championship also doubled as a Pan American Games Qualifier and impressively, nine countries came out to San Diego to fight for qualification. The overall winner of the regatta was Ernesto Rodriguez and Kathleen Tocke (USA), followed by Matías Seguel and María Jesus Seguel (CHI) in second and Doug Hart and Cragan Smith (USA) in third.
Other notable finishes include Diego Escobar and Marianna Shand, the top junior team from Mission Bay Yacht Club coming in 6th overall; and Molly Pleskus and Grace McCarthy, the top women's team and SDYC Jr. Sailing Alumni and Coaches, finishing 11th overall.
Nearly half the races were dominated by both Rodriguez and Seguel, who were sailing neck and neck and pacing each other. Despite retiring in Race Seven, Rodriguez and his crew sailed well with three bullets on day one. Going off the urban myth that San Diego is a race-right venue, it was unusual that the left side was paying off much more than the right. Rodriguez used this to his advantage by getting off the line quickly and protecting the left side.
One race in particular, Rodriguez recalls his strategy. “We pulled off a good start at the pin. Most of the fleet tacked right away and we waited about 30 to 40 yards before we tacked and got a huge lift.”
Seguel was close coming in just one point behind Rodriguez, who was a huge help in getting the Seguels a boat from Miami to San Diego. “We sailed very fast upwind and downwind today. We were in the right place during almost all of the races, allowing us to recover from a bad start. Ernesto did very well the last two days so it was hard to beat him… that was our goal for today and we ended up beating him twice.”
Both Seguels are new to the Snipe class, only having sailed the boat for a year. This regatta was a huge success for them. Seguel hopes to return to the U.S. for the 53rd Don Q Snipes in Miami this March and continue working towards his goal, the Pan American Games in August 2019. Rodriguez and Tocke will be competing next in the Snipe Western Hemispheres in Buenos Aires from October 20-27, 2018.
Canadian Judge Don Martin explains the regattas importance to the Pan American Games. “Because the Snipe Class and the Pan American Games is a mixed division, it makes things even more complicated. We have to look at 32 boats on the water and see who has mixed crews and make sure both the skipper and crew are from the same country. That makes them Pan Am eligible. There are 12 spots open in the Games for the Snipes and four of them were on offer at this regatta.”
Congratulations to the qualifying countries from the North American Championships:
USA 31337 Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke
CHI 29893 Matías Seguel/María Jesus Seguel
ECU 30761 Edgar Diminich/Irene Suarez
GUA 28211 Jose Daniel Hernandez/Josselyn Echeverria