Snipe Women’s Worlds Experience Wrap
In the words of a fellow competitor's Instagram mottos: "Every adventure starts with a YES!"
In the words of a fellow competitor’s Instagram mottos: “Every adventure starts with a YES!”
I had originally ruled out going to the 2023 Women’s Worlds because even though it would be in a spectacular location (Valencia, Spain), the October dates (super busy work time) and super-crew daughter Lexi Pline’s not being available made it too hard to consider. But then at the Women’s Nationals in August, Grace Fang was like: “I have a boat lined up. I will be there already. I just need a skipper.” I looked at my work calendar and found only one big conflict; looked at flights which were reasonable; and despite not having skippered much this year and not having sailed at all with Grace, said “YES!” … and I am so glad that I did.
It has been a few years since I have done a Women’s Worlds, so I had almost forgotten how much fun they are. Women’s events can have a bad rap for bad attitudes, but I have never had that experience at a Women’s Snipe event. All the women are open, welcoming, happy to make new Snipe friends and have a good good time (cue “Tonight’s gonna be a good night” song)!
This particular event was the largest and most competitive event I have skippered which speaks to how successful the class has been in attracting women. Many in the fleet were either previous Olympic medal winners (Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt) or previous/current Olympic hopefuls. There were 43 boats from 12 countries (14 if you include crews from Italy and Norway), ages ranging from Juniors to Masters.
Grace and I were successful in having a great time, dancing it up, and meeting new friends, but we learned that you can’t just “wing” a World Championship and expect to do very well or at least up to my expectations. The sailing was super hard! Light to medium thermals, lots of shifts, chop on top of swell, long crowded lines, judges calling Rule 42 violations (yes, I got called!), current, and loooong courses. I *could*not* get off the line in the first row (except of course for general recalls). Picking lanes/shifts is infinitely harder from the middle/back of the fleet! Another difficulty is that no matter how good the charter boat (and ours was), it is hard to adjust to different boats (ie, ours did not have jib cleats next to the block, did not have captive launcher line cleat, had jib “barber haulers” w in/out adjustments vs. our more distinct jib for/aft tracks w/lead in/out, launcher lines that were thicker/shorter than we like, etc). This is a more typical set up for other countries, but we definitely had to learn new things.
Thanks and congrats to my USA teammate Kathleen Tocke and Ari Buzetti on a great performance and for helping us get our charter tweaked, as well as the logistical support (housing, rides to venue). Ari’s boyfriend Edo was awesome driver/boat boy support as well. Thanks also to the various competitors (Katia Royer, Sue Roberts) who helped with my launcher line drama as well! Big thanks to my crew Grace Fang for making it all possible, putting up with my frustration, and choosing some great team gear!
Thanks also to the amazing venue, T10 at Valencia Mar. The staff was outstanding, the food amazing, and the sunset views spectacular.
Can’t wait to do the next one … where will it be in 2025???