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Snipe Class: Promoting women in sailing

Published on July 7th, 2022

The Snipe Class has a long tradition of women’s championships on the national, regional, and world level. This was witnessed at the 2022 Snipe Women’s European Championship on July 1-2 in Belgium.

This event was established in the 1990s by the Moscow fleet, and after a hiatus, was revived in 2019 by the Belgian Class Association which was looking to host a major championship on the tiny lake of Galgenweel in the city of Antwerp. The event is now held every two years, alternating years with the Snipe Women’s World Championship.

Though Lake Galgenweel is small, it boasts five dinghy clubs and an enthusiastic fleet of Snipe sailors. The class championship rules were modified to allow for shorter courses with more laps, more races, as well as introducing a Medal Race to the Class.

The idea was to host a championship on a small lake to help attract women who might be intimidated by a championship on the sea. The formula of lake sailing, easy charters from a big fleet, short courses, and traditional Belgian comradery proved successful again in 2022.

The Snipe Class allows the opportunity for women to compete at the local and international level, without a major financial or time commitment. The focus for the event is inclusion which helps to attract many former top women sailors seeking a competitive dinghy class for adults.

The previous Women’s European Champion was Olympic Silver Medalist Gintare Scheidt while Europe Dinghy Olympian for Poland, Weronika Glinkiewicz-Madej, was competing in her first international event since retiring from Olympic sailing in 2004.

With twelve races planned over three-days on a small, very shifty lake with significant velocity changes, consistency was key to being in the top of the fleet. Doing this best was the Spanish team of Rosa Foruria and Laura Morata Lamadrid, winning the final race to take the title by five points over American Kathleen Tocke with Italian Arianna Buzzetti as crew.

Being a women’s event and Antwerp being the diamond capital of the world, teams on the podium were presented with diamond necklaces crafted by the Race Committee Chair. The curtain closed on one of the most fun and unique Snipe events of the year and teams are looking forward to preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Championship in Valencia, Spain.

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