14 Questions to … Craig Leweck
Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor and Snipe Sailor - 1) Your first time on a sailing boat? As an infant in the bilge of my parents Santana 22. Must have been cheaper than babysitting fees. - 2) Your first time on a Snipe? It was the 1981 GFU 24 Hour Regatta in Mission Bay. Each team needed about 8 people, with both sailing and drinking skills required. The race passes around an island for 24 hours, so you need plenty of people to go the distance. To complete a lap, you needed to chug a beer. Can there be a better way to introduce people to the Snipe class? - 3) The most bizarre thing happened in a regatta? Most of my bizarre moments happen when I am traveling to or from regattas. Plenty of boat accidents that I'd prefer to leave on the road. - 4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta? Long days on the water that take away from the social side.
Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor and Snipe Sailor
– 1) Your first time on a sailing boat?
As an infant in the bilge of my parents Santana 22. Must have been cheaper than babysitting fees.
– 2) Your first time on a Snipe?
It was the 1981 GFU 24 Hour Regatta in Mission Bay. Each team needed about 8 people, with both sailing and drinking skills required. The race passes around an island for 24 hours, so you need plenty of people to go the distance. To complete a lap, you needed to chug a beer. Can there be a better way to introduce people to the Snipe class?
– 3) The most bizarre thing happened in a regatta?
Most of my bizarre moments happen when I am traveling to or from regattas. Plenty of boat accidents that I’d prefer to leave on the road.
– 4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta?
Long days on the water that take away from the social side.
– 5) Which is the race/regatta that you remember with the most pleasure?
It was the 1987 US Nationals in Lawrence, Kansas, but it had nothing to do with the racing. In fact, it was crazy hot with no wind all week. But everyone stayed at the same hotel, there was a huge pool, and we would all be in it every afternoon. Since it was hot, we all drank a bit too much, which led to other shenanigans. My understanding is the class has not been invited back. Go Jayhawks!
– 6) And the race/regatta you would like to forget?
It might be the 1989 US Nationals in Miami, FL. My van got robbed, it was crazy hot, and each day we would get shellacked by a thunderstorm. I distinctly recall walking by the yacht club bar near the end of the regatta and realizing I had yet to be in there. Probably the only reason I still remember this event was because I won it.
– 7) Your “dream in the peak”? (Your sailing dream?)
Twenty knots, a tight pole reach, and a perfect gybe at the wing mark. There was a Snipe Nationals in San Francisco where the weather leg was sheltered under an island, but the reach mark was out in the full fury of the Bay. A lot of lives were lost at that reach mark.
– 8) The most important people for you in the Snipe?
There have been plenty in the Snipe. I tend to respect the people that can maintain balance between the competition and camaraderie (translate: can win both the race and the party). We had our share of world champions out west so it wasn’t hard to find the top of the mountain. Guys like Jeff Lenhart and Dave Chapin provided goals to chase. Then when I had caught up to them, Earl Elms kept me humble. Earl was essentially responsible for the modern Snipe, having his hand in the mast, sail, and hull design. And he had won every trophy too. Just when you thought you’d done something, you’d see Earl and realize how much more he had done.
– 9) Sailing goals for 2014, and beyond?
Focus on the fun. A wise champion came to me, at a time after he had won his titles and I was just starting to win mine. He said the challenge isn’t the climb up the mountain, it’s the climb down. You can screw up the core elements of sailing by focusing only on winning. It takes tremendous effort to maintain excellence, and once you achieve it, there are internal and external expectations. There are a lot of people who have left sailing during that climb down the mountain.
– 10) Why the Snipe?
It wasn’t the only choice in California, but it was the class sailed by my peers. Many had been sailing in the class since their teen years. Plus it was affordable. Then when I got in it, I met all the older members that were so good and so accepting of us youngsters. The Snipe has the right amount of performance and adjustability. Too much and you lose people. Too little and you miss that challenge. Combine the boat’s attributes with events like the GFU and it becomes a no brainer.
– 11) Your perfect sailing venue and your perfect sailing conditions?
Any venue that is not too cold, has decent and reliable winds, and where the races don’t start before noon.
– 12) Besides sailing which other sport do you practice?
Does walking my dog count? I am not much for exercise, though getting older is requiring more of it. I do like to stay active, so look for me on the bike or paddleboard.
– 13) Are you superstitious?
No specific superstitions, but I do like routines and being prepared.
– 14) Your perfect holiday?
I’ve spent some perfect holidays bareboating around tropical islands. Diving into warm water at any hour of the day is very liberating. And they have lovely cocktails too.
1 – Sitting on Peter Commette’s lap
2 – Drinking out of the Etchells Worlds perpetual
3 – Snipe Midwinters in Clearwater; from left: Craig, Alex Smegelski, Ed Adams, Peter Commette
4 – Drinking out of trophy
5 – With longtime crew/wife Lisa in front of Dennis Conner’s famous Fame boat.
6 – Racing locally on Mission Bay with Lisa
7 – Snipe World Championships, Japan 1993 with Brett Davis
8 – Profile
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