Raul Rios: On A Roll

Published on September 30th, 2015

10507659Puerto Rican Raul Rios has laid some impressive tracks as he starts his senior year at Boston College. Having dominated the Optimist class, winning the 2008 World Championship, he is now terrorizing the Snipe class. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck check in with Raul…

What kind of sailing did you start doing?
I started to sail the Optimist when I was ten years old and kept with it until I aged out. The Club 420 is only used in Puerto Rico to teach kids how to sail, so after the Optimist I started sailing the Snipe and International 420.

How did you get started in the Snipe class?
I started sailing in the Snipe Class by crewing for Ernesto Rodriguez just after summer of 2008; we were getting ready for the Western Hemisphere’s in Uruguay that November where we finished third overall.

Is the Snipe active in Puerto Rico?
The Snipe class is not really active in Puerto Rico. Sometimes we can get eight boats for a regatta, but none of them actually sail the boat on a regular basis.

Tell us about winning your first Snipe US Nationals in 2013 at 19 years.
I sailed with a good friend of mine, Mac Agnese. We have sailed against each other for a long time and understand the work we needed to put it. Just by having fun and enjoying the sailing made everything easier.

The Club 420 is the dominant class in USA for teen sailors. Would you encourage young people to try other classes like the Snipe?
I think it’s a good idea for young people to try other classes. Certain boats, like the Snipe, offer a bigger knowledge about sail shape and mast tuning. With this, a person will be able to understand the controls available to change any part of the sail or mast. These are important technical skills to learn as they apply to most boats people will sail later in life.

You have been on a roll in the Snipe class. What are some of the other highlights?
Some of my accomplishments during the past few years in the Snipe Class have been:
US Nationals Champion – 2013, 2014, 2015
North American Champion – 2015
Western Hemisphere and Oriental Champion – 2014
Pan-American Games Toronto, Gold Medal – 2015

What has attributed to this success?
I believe it has been the discipline I have created when it comes to practice and being able to identify the different weak spots in my sailing.

Are you involved in any other types of sailing?
I was granted an entry to the 2015 Lightning Worlds, which was just after the Pan Am Games. It is a similar kind of class as the Snipe, with a long history and a good atmosphere. Both boats have chines too, though you sail the boats a bit differently upwind.

The Snipe you can actually sail pretty flat while the Lightning has to always be on one chine. I compared it to a smaller keelboat, but the rudder reacts quite similar to the Snipe. Beyond this, there might also be some Olympic Sailing in the near future, and Match Racing.

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