1957 in Cuba
by Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz
(Originally published on “SnipeTales by a Great Group of Snipe Sailors”, edited and censored by Buzz Levinson, 1996)
In 1957, I learned another Snipe lesson. You probably heard about the Comodoro Rasco Regatta and that Manuel Rasco, our Lifetime Commodore at the Miramar Yacht Club, donated a Snipe every year to the winner of an elimination series among our club members.
Arturo, a very good friend of mine, had been crewing for me form 1953 to 1956, but approximately in 1957, he was assigned to one of those Snipes and for a couple of years he skippered his own boat.
One Sunday race, we both found ourselves without a crew and very willingly he jumped on my boat and crewed for me. The difference on his performance was so great that I could not ignore it. He had acquired much better balance on the boat! He knew exactly where to put his butt! He was much faster and our tacks were perfect. We rounded marks without talking with each other. I did not to warn him about maneuvers. We looked like the Vilar Castex brothers (the World Champions in the late forties).
It was clear that the fact he had skippered his own boat for two years had a tremendous impact in his ability to perform on the boat, That experience taught me two things: 1. You will improve your crew performance a lot if you let him helm the boat some; and 2. You will not learn to sail and race Snipes if you only crew at all times,