A few weeks ago, I sailed the 2019 Snipe Open Worlds in Ilhabela, Brazil. It was my first time in Brazil for 26 years, and my first time steering a Snipe in a country where they are the most respected doublehanded class. Older, wiser, and in the back of the boat; all told, a much different perspective.
The 1993 Snipe Worlds was my very first international sailing experience, and I was gobsmacked at the level of professionalism South Americans bring to Snipe sailing. This year, I was—yet again—gobsmacked. So much effort and intensity and incredible sailing… But I was also able to pick out those wide-eyed sailors who were experiencing this high level for the first time, and remember back to when it was all almost too much to take in.
I wasn’t the only sailor onsite who’d sailed the 1993 Worlds, and it was great to catch up with friends from around the world who remembered me as a “crew with attitude.” Our goals may have adjusted since then, but for all of us still traveling around the world to sail this quirky 15 foot boat, the class motto continues to ring true. Serious Sailing—of course. But Serious Friendships—that’s what really keeps us all coming back for more.
Last year Kim and I won the Snipe Women’s Worlds, and before I left home several people asked me if we would win this regatta too—not understanding how much better prepared most of the teams would be (and, also, how much bigger they all are). Out of 70 boats, we were the only all-female team, and though our overall finish wasn’t what I’d hoped, we did receive several heartfelt compliments from our competitors. We’re not “the girls” anymore; we’re now “Carol and Kim,” even internationally.
It would be easy to dwell on all the mistakes we made, but instead I’m focusing on how much we learned (and how many fun stories we’ve added to our list). Next year I’ll be celebrating 30 years of Snipe sailing—and I can’t wait to put all those world-class lessons to use.
Photo courtesy Matias Capizzano. For more of his fantastic photos from the regatta, visit his Snipe Worlds 2019 Gallery.