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An interview with Paul Earl and Shan McAdoo on the 2021 Snipe North Americans

by David Schmidt 8 Sep 08:00 PDT September 10-12, 2021
2019 Snipe North American Championship © San Diego Yacht Club

In 1931, the July issue of The Rudder sailing magazine contained an article about (and specs for) building a new, two-person sailing dinghy. The boat, which was drawn by Bill Crosby (who was also Rudder's publisher at the time) measured 15 feet and six inches, LOA, and carried five feet of beam on her hull, which weighed in at 381 pounds. It was called the Snipe, and by May of 1932 some 150 boats had been registered.

[Editor's note: to read the 1931 article, please follow the link at the bottom of this interview.]

Numbers continued to steadily grow, and fleets formed in Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Demark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K., the USA, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Today, flash forward 90 years and Snipes are still actively sailed, raced, and loved internationally.

The class holds it world-championship regattas on an every-other-year basis, while its North American and South American championships are contested annually. The 2021 Snipe North Americans will be hosted by the Jubilee Yacht Club, in Beverly, Massachusetts, from September 10-12.

I checked in with Paul Earl and Shan McAdoo, co-chairs of the 2021 Snipe North Americans, via email, to learn more about this exciting One Design regatta.

Can you please give us an overview of where the Snipe class stands in the latter half of 2021? What kinds of sailors is the class attracting these days?

The Snipe Class is in great shape in the latter half of 2021. The class has made great use of technology to get the word out on Snipe sailing internationally. At the local level the class is working to organize events to bring the next generation of sailors into the fold and it's working.

Because the boat has such a legacy and a varied stable of boats, a sailor can jump in at any level, with an antique or a grand prix boat or anything in between. Thirty-year-old boats can quickly be updated, get new sails, and win events. This in an affordable doublehanded package.

What kind of entry numbers are you seeing this year? Also, are there any notable geographical concentrations to this entry list?

As [of this writing] we have over 40 entries from 12 [U.S.] states and Central America. The concentration is from the Northeast but several [teams hail] from Florida, Maryland, and California.

We [ultimately] expect 45 to 50 [boats].

Weather-wise, what kind conditions can sailors expect to encounter off of Beverly, Massachusetts in September? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

The racing area is in Salem Sound, approximately one-half mile east of the N2 Beverly harbor channel entrance.

Average high temperature is 65-70 degrees with winds from the southeast eight to 12 knots.

Worst case-no wind or an ocean storm. Best case-five degrees warmer, same wind.

Do you see local knowledge playing a big or small role in the regatta's outcome? Can you please explain?

We have decent current, eight-foot tide swings, and rocky areas, so you need to pay attention.

Most participants are from outside the area so we don't see local knowledge as an advantage.

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting (and local) teams, what would it be?

Pick your side of the course and stick to it. In a 40+ boat fleet, crossing the middle is deadly. Pick your side and sail to win that side.

Do you have any teams that you are eyeing for podium finishes? What about any dark horses who you think could prove to be fast, once the starting guns begin sounding?

As the organizers, we try to stay out of the picking favorites game. That said, we are partial to all of the recent college grads.

Also, the guys coming from Miami and the "Diaz Sailing Academy" aren't going to make this regatta easy for others. In 2019 at the Nationals, we had a real gun fight going on the water and a local Tomas Hornos along with Kathleen Tocke ended up on top.

We would be thrilled to see that again as what we really want is world-class sailing in our amazing venue.

Obviously organizing and running a big regatta amidst a pandemic isn't easy. Can you tell us about the biggest logistical and organizational hurdles that you've had to clear to make this happen?

The regatta was originally scheduled for 2020. We had done some planning until it was postponed so recharging the organizing committee for 2021 was no problem.

The Jubilee Yacht Club and City of Beverly regulations have been supportive, and we have adjusted [our] social events on land as needed.

Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta's environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

We will again be providing cold water in gallon jugs on the water. Sailors can toss us their reusable bottle; we will refill them and toss back.

Shoreside, we work to use as many recycled goods as we can.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

This pandemic has us hankering to get out and enjoy our amazing venue and to be in the company of our friends. The Snipe Class has four-plus generations of sailors and a really warm feeling.

This group of sailors makes it easy because they are so good on the water and also ashore, and are such a family to each other. We love this above all other things Snipe. It makes all the hard work of organizing a great event totally worth it with "Serious Sailing and Serious Fun"!

[Editor's note: Follow this link for the July, 1931 The Rudder article: www.snipetoday.org/articles/snipe-yesterday/the-rudder-july-1931]

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