Snipe Sailing Act III: In It For The Long Haul
We recently sailed the Snipe US Masters Championships on Mystic Lake in Boston and after some discussion about getting people to go to regattas, I started thinking about our history in the Snipe and why we go to regattas.
(Published on teampline.org)
We recently sailed the Snipe US Masters Championships on Mystic Lake in Boston and after some discussion about getting people to go to regattas, I started thinking about our history in the Snipe and why we go to regattas. It seemed the appropriate moment to reflect on the next act in the Snipe Sailing Saga so I revisited my last piece on the subject from 2015 – Snipe Sailing Act II: Waking Up From A Long Winter’s Nap – and I now realize the curtain has set on that act – reentering the sailing scene after a number of years off due to kids and and some health issues – and the curtain has risen for Act III: In It For The Long Haul.
As our perspectives on life change and we have more time to travel to regattas, we are thinking about why we spend so much time, effort and money on this endeavor. Obviously, it’s not because we are always winning trophies at regattas, given our middle of the pack finishes in the last few years at major events. Nor is it because the Snipe is the fastest, coolest or newest thing to hit the sailing community. We take a more holistic tack.
I’ve had this obsession with watching retirement videos on You Tube over the last few years (I recommend it for people who are getting close) and a few of them have gelled my thoughts on Snipe sailing after 35 years: ultimately, it’s an experience. We sail the Snipe not because we like owning boats (Snipes or otherwise), nor do we participate in racing because we are driven by results.
We sail Snipes because they are an enabler of life experiences that are not about acquiring things for status or achieving goals.
Of course those things are part of the experience at some level and I very much like working on boats and doing as well as I can at regattas but they are not the primary drivers.
We love the Snipe community; the people, the vibe. It’s a social outlet, a reason to travel to interesting places (foreign and domestic), an ever changing fun and challenging physical and mental activity, and something that we have always done together.
Fortunately, we have been successful sailing together with the “relationship amplifier” going in the + direction, you know, Team Pline.
Furthermore, we get tremendous satisfaction from organizing and running events. Sure it’s gratifying from a project management standpoint to pull off a successful event, but more personally it strengthens the Snipe Class which is so meaningful to us as it is such a fundamental part of our shared experience and to which we owe so much.
These are things that promote fundamental, lifelong happiness and that’s why we do them.
So we’re in it for the long haul. How we do it no doubt will change – and has changed – over the years, but that’s the great thing about the Snipe and the Snipe community, it’s easy to adapt and still fun if the desire to do so is there. We definitely don’t hike as hard as we used to but we can still (for now) sail in 30 knots of breeze like the we had at the North Americans in Norfolk last weekend. In the years to come, we’re no doubt going to channel people like Bibi Juetz and The Old Man whose crews got younger and fitter the older they got! And we really don’t care about whether we qualify to go to the World/Western Hemisphere and Orient Championships or not (although we are happy to have had the experience of the Westerns in Boston in 2021), that’s just not what motivates us to attend regattas. We’ve been and will continue to be here because we cherish the experience. To a certain extent, that may be a subtle shift from the Serious Sailing, to the Serious Fun® but if that’s what it takes, so be it.
Is Act III the end of the play or is there an Act IV and if so what will it look like? As we say paraphrasing The Parable of the Chinese Farmer: Is it good news or is it bad news? It’s too soon to tell…