Davis and Calnan win Snipe Women’s Champs
Published on August 25th, 2019
The 2019 Snipe U.S. Women’s Snipe National Championship Regatta was held in Lincoln, Nebraska on August 24-25. The championship was made up of women who have decades of experience and some who are newer to the sport. The sailors wrapped up the weekend competition after six tough races. Through choppy waters and wind, 28 women fought to win the national championship.
The regatta was hosted by the Lincoln Sailing Club, which has put on an annual open regatta the past 52 years. It is the first time the U.S. Women’s Snipe National Championship has been held in the Midwest, and just the second time it’s been somewhere other than one of the coasts. It was held in Atlanta last year.
“We feel like this helps us get the word out about sailing around here,” said Mary Buckley, commodore for the Lincoln Sailing Club. “People are always surprised to hear that we have such an active sailing scene in Lincoln. It’s more active and competitive than people think.”
Buckley, a past competitor in the national championship, said the Lincoln Sailing Club aimed to create a memorable event for out-of-town participants, providing boats, arranging accommodations and lining up “boat buddies,” volunteers who launch the boats, carry equipment and deal with all other aspects of running the regatta.
Buckley said the focus on putting on a welcoming event allowed for a friendly environment in a competitive atmosphere. “There’s a lot of camaraderie in sailing,” Buckley added. “Most of the people here know each other. It’s kind of like old friends getting back together.”
Those friends included Mary Ann Rix, a lifelong sailor and matriarch of four generations of Snipe sailors. She traveled from Wichita, Kansas, to see the Snipes in the water.
“Gosh, when I first started sailing you didn’t see a woman skipper. All the girls were crew,” Rix said. “Now I see women sailing all over the world. It’s fun.” Tarasa Davis agreed, saying she was impressed and encouraged by all the young women getting into the sport and competing. “I’ve been sailing for my entire life, and for most of it I was the only female skipper,” she said
Facing choppy water and building waves, the sailors competing in this weekend’s U.S. Women’s Snipe National Championship were able to experience the true challenge of Snipe sailing, according to Davis, director of the United States Sailing Association and a former national champion.
“You’ve never won and you’ve never lost until you’ve been able to reach the finish line on a lake,” said the Atlanta native. “Sailing is about being physical and analytical. You’ve got to be able to keep your head out of the boat and be physical with the boat.”
Davis, 52, didn’t make it easy on the competition. “Now I see all these girls out here, and I really would like to see one of these whippersnappers try and win it all,” Davis said. “I threw down the gauntlet and said it’s there’s for the taking.”
Davis, who has been sailing since she was only five-years-old, took home the national championship title again with crew Kim Calnan. Even for national champion, this win is just as sweet as the first. “We did it. It is magical,” said Davis.
There were also college teams in the competition. One of those was the University of Nebraska Lincoln, who just created their sailing club. “Most of them just learned to sail this year, which has been awesome to see. They’ve gotten so much better, they’ve improved so much over the weekend,” said Sailing coach, Jennifer Lee.