From the Outgoing Commodore Luis Soubie
Mendoza, Argentina, December 31, 2022. 12 years ago, I was just like any other Snipe sailor with over 20 years of experience.
Mendoza, Argentina, December 31, 2022
12 years ago, I was just like any other Snipe sailor with over 20 years of experience.
I sailed a lot, I traveled to most major events, but I did not participate or contribute in any way to the Class organization, nationally or internationally, besides expressing my discontent, loudly occasionally with the decisions made.
In 2011 I decided to take a step forward in my country and was elected National Secretary and later in 2014 I was invited to join the SCIRA Board as Secretary of WH&O (now WH&A).
The years went by quickly and in 2018 I was elected Vice Commodore. I remember now Commodore Rakocy congratulating me saying “Luis, you are going to be the next Commodore.” It sounded weird and was a surprise for me. Never did I think about that, and I was unaware of the Class tradition with the Vice Commodore stepping up and being Commodore, and since I am not what you would call “an ambassador”, I never imagined people voting me for that position. It wasn’t my goal at all and I wasn’t sure I even wanted that. But I had 2 years to get used to the idea and I was not going to refuse such a great honor to my Class, so in 2020 I became your Commodore.
I am not a politician and this type of position requires skills in diplomacy that you know I lack, but I tried to make up for it with work and love for the Class.
The beginning couldn’t have been worse. COVID began as soon as January and by March we were in a nightmare. The first Board decision with myself as Commodore was to cancel the Masters Worlds, and the second was to stop all events on the calendar. Not the start I nor the Board dreamed. Good for me I was not a politician and I didn’t care much about what people would say on our backs at that time!! Sailors and friends were calling from all the countries without a hard lockdown, complaining and defending to keep sailing. Things happened so fast! I remember I called for a meeting, it was a Friday and the Board had strong doubts about what to decide. When the meeting took place the following Wednesday, it became very clear and that it was irresponsible to continue racing. We were the first Class in the world to stop our major events, in one week 25 more Classes followed, in one month all sports world-wide stopped.
Everything was canceled. It was very tough, but the Board spent 2020 and 2021 planning for the future and making a financial plan to survive some years without sailing and therefore without the possibility of collecting dues—our main revenue resource. We had to cancel the deep change in our data base that I wanted to do. Canceling and rescheduling event after event, knowing that it was going to be almost impossible to hold them, but with the help of the hosts, we all worked to be ready when the right time would come. Finally, in 2021 we held the Europeans and the WH&A, even when many sailors were not able to travel from the lockdown in their countries, the Class started to go back to a more normal condition.
This last year we finally held the Words at Portugal after canceling the ones at Japan. Due to my country’s lockdown, I wasn’t able to travel to any event during 2021. When I qualified as national Champion, I decided not to participate as a sailor at the Worlds in order to be there as the SCIRA Representative for the sailors without being a competitor. It was a bitter sweet travel. I enjoyed the events very much but my father died the day before I jumped on the plane for the Junior Worlds, so I am not exaggerating when I say that the family of the Class healed me in that hard time.
So, today is my last day as your Commodore after these 3 intense years.
It has been the honor of my life to lead my beloved Snipe class during this period.
In all this years, Board after Board, with people going in and out, I found in the Board a group of fellow sailors who’s only purpose was to have a better Class. I can assure you that the Class is in the best hands with the upcoming Board taking office in January 1st.
I know that many of you do not agree with some of the decisions the Board takes. Remember that the Board is a group of sailors just like you who dedicate their time to organize the Class for you, they are not focused on personal convenience but in the Class’s best interests, and most of the time they have much more information about an issue, we exchange opinions for a long period of time, and they are 7 people from 7 countries exchanging their views to arrive at the best decision. And no matter what we do, no decision will satisfy everybody. The way to contact the Board is not writing on social media or sending private emails to Board members, but by contacting your National Secretary who will inform the Class Executive Officer.
Just as I did, remember that if you want to change things, you are more than welcome to get involved any time, in fact, the Board needs you very much!
A few days ago a friend asked me what was the best and worst about being on the Board. I didn’t hesitate. The best was the way we exchanged views and opinions, having hard disagreements many times, voting for a majority, and after that voting always having the 100% of the Board supporting the decision made by the majority, even when in disagreement. I saw Board members voting against their own country when thinking the best option for the Class was other, and never ever did I see personal convenience mixed with the opinion expressed. The worst was people expressing their views complaining without respect, in an aggressive and ironic way, most of the time with no, few, twisted or wrong information, expressing personal opinions as facts and doing so on social media instead of writing to the Class trough their National Secretary as they should.
I cannot be more proud of the group of people I led these past 3 years and the ones before this one, and I can only say to you, members of the Board and our beloved Jerelyn, THANK YOU for your hard work !
I already miss you guys !