Miramar Yacht Club, Snipes in Cuba
By Gonzalo "Old Man" Diaz (Photos from SCIRA archives) This is the Comodoro Rasco delivering a Snipe to a Miramar Yacht Club winner Julio Jané. from left to right: Jané's father with a big cigar, Carlos Martinez (who also won a Rasco Snipe), Comodoro Rasco, Barquin, unknown person, Julio Jané (winner of snipe shown in picture. Looks like a Gerber), Mariano Guas, Jesus Barrazal (Mantilla's crew) and Gonzalo Melendez, Cuban Snipe National Secretary. ...
By Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz
(Photos from SCIRA archives)
This is the Comodoro Rasco delivering a Snipe to a Miramar Yacht Club winner Julio Jané. from left to right: Jané’s father with a big cigar, Carlos Martinez (who also won a Rasco Snipe), Comodoro Rasco, Barquin, unknown person, Julio Jané (winner of snipe shown in picture. Looks like a Gerber), Mariano Guas, Jesus Barrazal (Mantilla’s crew) and Gonzalo Melendez, Cuban Snipe National Secretary.
Aug 58 – Gonzalo Melendez letter to Birney Mills (SCIRA Secretary) informing and probably attaching some of the pictures of the construction at Miramar Y.C. of the new Club house and storage facilities.
July 1958 – Nice view of the Miramar Y.C. new sailboat head quarters facilities under construction and facing the Atlantic Ocean Strait of Florida.
July 1958 – Another view of the newly built snipe storage concrete stable. I can count 19 snipe masts.
Nov 20, 1950 – Snipes racing towards the Morro Castle seen at the background. That was a “Lobo de Mar” (Seawolf Snipe regatta) (gold medal for the winner).
Nov 1954 – Rasco’s Sparkman and Stephens “El Criollo” with spectators watching a Snipe Regatta.
Nov 1954 – WH Contestants in the 1954 Western Hemisphere in Havana, hosted by the Miramar Yacht Club. Left to right: Top row: Terry Whittemore, Clifford Simmons, Kenny Simmons, Dick Shaw, Clio Braga, Jorge Mantu, Ted Wells, Godfrey Kelly, Dr. Clemente Inclan. Crews, bottom row: Bob Whittemore, Eugene Simmons, C. Soare, I Dauphnee, Emilio Salvi, Carlos Sela, Fred Schenck, William Christie, and Dr. Carlos Inclan. Photos by Barcinc – page # 6 of Snipe Bulletin January 1955.
Nov l958 – Jorge Mantilla and crew Jesus Barrazal. It looks like they just won the Cuban Snipe Nationals.
1956 – “La regata de la Luna” The moon snipe race. It may very well be the one I won with Carmen pregnant with Augie (that figures!) but that had to be in 1954 not 1956. That transom that you can see on the extreme right could be the Jupiter # 10111 (that would be winning the race). 9144 is Dr. Clemente Inclan.
Jack D. Rose (owner of #6715 “Tiger”): “In one photo, Snipe #5933 was registered to Eddie Williams, it was a 1946 Varalyay Snipe that was air-shipped to Williams in Kansas City from the Los Angeles area. He might have been using his sails on a borrowed Snipe in Havana?
Snipe #9144 was a Clark Mills Snipe, one of the last ones built before the Snipe specs were changed to add stem dimensions to prevent the “long waterline.” Another one like it is still in existence, #9184 owned by Peter Lundt of Middleton Wisconsin. They were probably both grandfathered in as meeting the Snipe class specs as construction was started before the specs were changed.
There was a Cuban Snipe #6172 that I remember seeing in photos, I think it was one of Jorge Mantilla’s Snipes. The photo appeared to show a large cockpit and monster size splashboards, so maybe it was “modernized” based on Jack Wirt’s 1947 Snipe #6715 “Tiger.” Jack Wirt sent me a trophy he won with “Tiger” in a Snipe regatta in Havana in 1947 – it is inscribed: Tropheo Bicho-Malo II – Snipes – Tiger – 1947″.
Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz: “Yes, 9144 was owned by my good friend and my hero, Dr. Clemente Inclan, El Maestro. That’s how we called him because he changed our way of behaving when he started sailing with us and showed a First Class sportmanship! He won several consecutive Cuban Snipe Nationals. He was a great sailor in small and big boats and a gentleman in a great way!
Bicho Malo II was a famous 28 foot sloop owned by the Munoz Bustamante brothers and they donated that trophy that your boat won while still being sailed by Jack Wirt in Havana. They paid all the expenses to have Jack Wirt make a demonstration in Havana with Tiger. After the Tiger visit to Havana, we all modified our boats, opened the cockpits and lightened the boats very much. Jack Wirt had two masts for his boat Tiger. One for heavy air and another for light air. I believe he got very disappointed when he went to a Nationals and Ted Wells did not allow him to use his two masts. Jack was a visionary on his time. Ted Wells was very reluctant to let any body take advantages and modifications of the boat. I think Ted did a great job for us, but in the process, some people got hurt. I am sure that 6172 was modernized after Jack’s visit to Havana. Yes, Gonzalo Melendez was great guy and a personality. He was our eternal Snipe National Secretary and did a lot for the Snipes in Cuba. He was a distinguished member of the Miramar Yacht Club. Many of the Bustamante children sailed snipes here in USA. Charlie Bustamante who lives in North Carolina still owns and sail two snipes with his wife. He is the son of Mario (Pipo).”