Connor Line – Snipe UK’s Latest Junior Member
Only a month ago, Peter Wolstenholme (UK National Secretary) was contacted by a young man enquiring about Snipe sailing within the UK and further afield. On finding out that Connor was of junior age within the Snipe class, and realising the Junior Europeans were to be taking place very soon, actions were put in place to try and get Connor to the event.
Only a month ago, Peter Wolstenholme (UK National Secretary) was contacted by a young man enquiring about Snipe sailing within the UK and further afield. On finding out that Connor was of junior age within the Snipe class, and realising the Junior Europeans were to be taking place very soon, actions were put in place to try and get Connor to the event. Not only did Connor manage to compete in La Coruna, but he also made the long journey to North Wales and participated in our recent UK Snipe Nationals at Bala SC.
It was in Bala that a few UK sailors asked me who Connor was and how did he get to know about Snipe sailing. I took the opportunity to find a quiet corner, share a beer (he may be a junior but is old enough to drink!!) and find out a little bit more about him.
Connor is currently 20 years old. He began crewing in Cadets around age 7 at Waldringfield SC in Suffolk. He had his first cadet when he was aged 14 and raced on the Cadet circuit as part of the National Junior Cadet squad. Whilst sailing Cadets he participated in the Worlds in Buenos Aires finishing 20th overall as a crew and the Worlds in Bodstedt, Germany, where he finished in 10th place as a helm.
Since leaving Cadets, Connor has mainly been sailing RS200’s either as a crew or a helm.
Connor is now a sailing instructor at The Royal Hospital School sailing academy. It was here that one of his students from Brazil asked him if he’s ever sailed a Snipe and another (from the USA) mentioned that they are hoping to compete at the Snipe Junior Wolds in Miami!! Connor had never heard of a Snipe so after some googling he found the UK Snipe Facebook page.
Wheels were put in rapid motion to try and get Connor to the Junior Europeans in Spain with less than a week to go!! Peter and Matthew put a plan in place to try and get Connor out in a Snipe for some intense training the weekend before he was due to fly out. Unfortunately, that weekend was windy, with gusts of 25 knots so the training was rather limited by the conditions!!
Sue Roberts liaised with Martin Bermudez de la Puente to find Connor a boat, crew and accommodation, all of which came into place with help from many of our Spanish friends. Connor and Sue worked on flights. Sails were folded into a suitcase; Peter did the airport runs and Connor arrived in Spain in time to compete!
Connor has written a separate article on the event which can be found below.
Whilst having a keen junior sitting in front of me, I asked him what his first impression of SCIRA UK had been, Snipe sailing in general and how we could encourage more juniors to join the Snipe Class.
In Connor’s words he said:
“Providing information, encouragement and the hospitality given by the UK Snipe Class has been second to none. The UK Snipe class is very different in its approach to encouraging participation and goes the extra step to any of the other classes I’ve ever come across”.
Before stepping foot in one, Connor had thought the Snipe Class was a more senior class and he said he had underestimated the level of competition. To gain those coming out of University Conor thought having a competitive club boat for sailors to borrow would be useful. He also thought that, within the UK, boat logistics could be a sticking point as our two main Snipe fleets, located in the SE and NW of England, make it rather difficult to attract those living on the South Coast, where many keen young sailors tend to migrate towards after University.
Connor said that, alongside great racing in the UK, there was an amazing social side to Snipe sailing and the fun had when off the water was truly memorable!! He thought that if we can get the young sailors to an event, it will be one they will never forget and will want to return again and again.
His final words before we finished our beer and joined in with the drinking games taking place on the patio were:
“There are no barriers in the UK Snipe Class. By the time they’ve seen the problem, there’s always a solution”.
The good news is that Connor would now like to own a Snipe.
Welcome to the Snipe Class!
Snipe Junior Europeans – Club Nautico Marina Coruna, Spain by Connor Line
A Coruña, Spain is situated on the Atlantic coast, and provided the perfect stage for The Snipe Junior Europeans which took place from the 26th of July to the 30th of July 2023. The competition was a test of sailors’ skills in varying wind conditions, but also with the mighty Atlantic swell. There were 19 boats entered including one each from Portugal, Finland and the UK.
The powerful waves posed unique challenges during the starts, adding an extra layer of complexity to the competition as boats fought for the favoured committee boat end of the line, which occasionally disappeared from sight in the massive swell. On the first race there were many UFDs (including us) as the conditions made starting tricky and thereafter, the race committee chose to start every race with the ‘U’ Flag.
Bright blue skies, big waves, and the afternoon sea breeze for the 2nd race of each day meant that there was a lot to gain or lose with catching a wave and with the tightness of the racing proved getting a wave wrong meant losing a place. It was crucial to be able to change ‘gears’ within the boat with the course having a range of wind speeds and those who adjusted to these the quickest saw their lead extend. The racing was very tactical with the favoured side of the course ever changing with the shifts which came through and getting the favoured side wrong would prove to be costly.
I would really like to say a huge thanks to Martin Fernandez Doporto from CN Marina Coruna Club for agreeing to crew for me when he was aware I had only sailed a Snipe for the first time two days before arriving in Spain!!
I would also like to thank Martin Bermudez de la Puente for helping sort out all the arrangements in Spain to allow me to compete. The Spanish were great hosts having food for hungry sailors coming off the water with a BBQ, empanadas, Spanish omelette and a whole host of fruits.
A big thank you to the Spanish Snipe Class Association and Club Nautico Marina Coruna for organising the great event.
A particular thanks goes to the UK National Secretary Peter Wolstenholme and Sue Roberts who are both passionate about getting juniors to Snipe events. Their help throughout the whole process was invaluable.
Massive congratulations to the winners Carlos Bermudez de Castro Castro and Cesar Herrero Baspino and to everyone who competed. It was a great event and I am now working on my plans to try and get to Miami for the Snipe Junior Worlds!!