Rodriguez-Tocke dominate Snipe North Americans
Published on May 21st, 2017
The Snipe North American Championship attracted 28 teams for the three day event (May 19-21) in the ocean off Dania Beach of Fort Lauderdale, FL. With near perfect conditions, Ernesto Rodriguez and Kathleen Tocke dominated the 8-race event which enjoyed mostly sunny skies with East-southeast and ranged winds from 14-18 knots, with gusts into the mid-twenties.
Competitors came from Ecuador, Canada, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Peru and the USA, covering the age range from 13-year-old Michael Morley to Gonzalo “El Viejo” Diaz, still kicking it at 87.
PRO Tom Lihan and the LYC race management team ran three races on Friday. The occasionally gusty winds built up a lumpy sea state of three to four foot waves with the occasional six footer mixed in to add a bit of excitement.
Utilizing triangle courses, Rodriguez and Tocke had their boat set up perfectly and won all three races, wire to wire. Their margin of victory in each race was over one minute. Second for the day was the team of Jensen McTighe and Andre Guaragna with scores of 2-4-2. In third were Augie Diaz and Eddie Mintzias with a 4-3-4 score line. Raul Rios and Mac Agnese held down fourth, one point behind Diaz, with Doug Hart and Diego Escobar (a San Diego high school student) rounding out the top five.
“My experience sailing the Laser in big waves really paid off,” noted Rodriguez. “The important thing is to not oversteer in the big waves which leads to hulls and rigs slamming down on the back side of waves. Also the flat out hiking we do in Lasers translates well to the Snipe.”
He was also quick to point out the value of Kathleen as his crew. “She’s fantastic and having her on board made a huge difference. She has crewed Snipes for Augie for years and knows exactly what to do to make the boat go fast, and that saves time. A split second saved can be huge. She had us powered up all weekend, and I could just concentrate on steering.”
Saturday saw similar conditions with a bit less wave action. Rodriguez and Tocke continued their dominance of the fleet by again winning all three of the day’s races. This made them hugely popular at the daily prize giving as each race winner receives a bottle of champagne.
Second through fifth places saw no change from Friday.
An interesting wrinkle in Saturday’s racing was the selection of course W2. Although it is a published Snipe Class course, many of the competitors were obviously not familiar with it, and/or missed it in the Sailing Instructions. The course is kind of a modified trapezoid course in that boats must sail through the leeward gate on the way to the finish. An even dozen boats earned a score of RET by missing the gate.
Sunday brought calmer seas and slightly lighter winds. With two races to go, it was doubtful anybody could catch the leaders. The duo never gave the rest of the fleet a chance reeling off two more bullets for a perfect score line of eight bullets. Augie Diaz took advantage of a slip up by Jensen McTighe in race eight to move into second. “We were a bit hesitant off the starting line and kind of lost track of where we were,” explained Jensen. “That put us behind on the first upwind leg.”
Raul Rios and Doug Hart once again rounded out the top five.
Winning the Snipe North American Championship and the Birney Mills Memorial Trophy was Ernesto Rodriguez. By virtue of being the top crew, Kathleen Tocke was awarded the Kim Thompson Memorial Trophy. They also were winners of the Ron Payne Memorial Trophy, an annual event by Lauderdale Yacht Club that was used for the North Americans, with the award presented by Ron’s widow Wingate. Ron was a long-time Snipe sailor, and Wingate was his crew for dozens of regattas.
Jensen McTighe was presented with the Chuck Loomis Memorial Trophy as the top junior skipper. The Snipe class really goes out of its way to promote junior participation in the class, hosting many junior regattas and championships. That’s one reason why the class has remained so popular. Snipes. Serious sailing, serious fun!
Final Results (Top 10 of 28; 8 races, 1 discard)
1. 31337, Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke, -1-1-1-1-1-1-1- ; 7
2. 30288, Augie Diaz/Eddie Mintzias, -3-4-2-4-4-3-4- ; 24
3. 30027, Jensen McTighe/Andre Guaragna, 2-4-2-[29/RET]-2-3-4-9- ; 26
4. PUR 29841, Raul Rios/Mac Agnese, 7-2-3-[29/RET]-3-5-5-2- ; 27
5. 31297, Doug Hart/Diego Escobar, 5-5-7-3--2-7-3- ; 32
6. 29442, Peter Commette/Connie Commette, 6-[29/OCS]-5-4-7-7-2-8- ; 39
7. 30860, Carol CRONIN/Linda Epstein, [29/DNC]-16-18-5-6-6-10-5- ; 66
8. 31391, Brett Davis/Bryan Stout, 13-7-11-7-[29/RET]-15-8-11- ; 72
9. 29511, Taylor Scheuermann/Charlie Bess, -14-16-9-11-8-13-6- ; 77
10. 31424, Andrew Pimental/Megan Place, 3-[29/OCS]-6-29/RET-5-16-6-14- ; 79
Source: John Payne