A lot of water has passed under the bridge since designer William F. Crosby pulled a racing double out of his hat in 1931 that would garner thousands of enthusiasts around the world. More than 31,000 Snipe (4.74 x 1.5 m), or rather “snipes” as enthusiasts call them, referring to the class symbol on the sails, have been built. Great Olympic champions such as Torben Grael, Paul Elvstrøm, Robert Scheidt, Mark Reynolds, and Santiago Lange have tried their hand at this class.
And while we are seeing an invasion of flying dinghies (we tried the last one HERE), this dear old slow, heavy (173 pounds), angular dinghy with no trapeze or spinnaker (tangoned jib and “walk”) is holding up great.
This was witnessed by the forty Snipe (from Italy, Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Norway, and the United States) who gathered in Monfalcone, where the 2019 Italian Absolute Snipe Championship was held, organized by the Oscar Cosulich Sailing Society. Documenting it with his shots is Andrea Carloni, author of all the beautiful photos accompanying this article. The faces of the racers hold perfectly to the slogan that sums up the spirit of Snipe in the world: “Serious Sailing, Serious Fun,” ed.
For the record, after 9 races the championship was won by Belgian champion Manu Hens with Norwegian Maj Kristin Hansen Borgen, second Pietro Fantoni (Class Commodore) with American Kathleen Tocke, third, and new Italian Champions Dario Bruni and Emanuele Zampieri. The Italian championship podium was completed by crews Enrico Michel and Giovanni “John” Turazza (historic Italian Snipe crew) and Fabio Rochelli and Daniela Semec (volcanic Class Secretary).
The secret of the Snipe’s immortality is revealed to us by Carloni himself: “The Snipe class (the “snipe” for older people) is an absolutely “democratic” class. I knew it little and have been attending it for professional reasons since this year. There are crews of young and somewhat more mature sailors. There are mixed crews and no first ladies. The level is very high and the boat is definitely technical and difficult. The class functions well and the environment is definitely “friendly” — it feels really good.”