Following a 47-year drought, the Spanish duo of Alfredo Gonzalez and Cristian Sanchez sailed a great last race of the Championship to return the Snipe World Championship trophy to Spain. The last time the Hub Isaacs Snipe World title was in Spain (and Europe) was 1975, when Felix Gancedo and Manuel Bernal held the championship. The return of the trophy to Spain was long overdue, and the team and their Spanish peers are elated.
Hailing from Lanzarote, Gonzalez and Sanchez have been silently advancing to this point. Their best prior performance at the Snipe Worlds was fourth overall in 2017, and their lead-up regatta was a win in June for the Spanish Cup with 200 boats. Lanzarote was the perfect heavy air training ground, which proved to their advantage in Cascais. With finishes of 4 (9)-3-8-2-7-4-3-3, their ability to finish in the top-10 in every race proved to be their winning formula.
The last race of the regatta was held in relatively lighter winds than the prior eight races – just 8-12 knots and no swell. It was quite a change, and a bit of a surprise as the competitors left the hosting Clube Naval de Cascais (CNC) in heavy air. A clear start on the first go with the pin and the left side favored Alexandre Paradeda/Gabriel Kieling (Brazil), sitting in 2nd overall, while Gonzalez/Sanchez and regatta leaders Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke (USA) started at the boat. Rodriguez/Tocke stayed right in lighter wind with Gonzalez/Sanchez opting for the left halfway up the beat. At the weather mark, 1999 Snipe World Champion Nelido Manso/Sanlay Castro de la Cruz (Cuba) rounded first, followed by Sam & Daan Vandormael from Belgium. Gonzalez/Sanchez rounded just ahead of Paradeda/Kieling who rounded tenth, with Rodriguez/Tocke in the 40s. At the second top mark, Gonzalez/Sanchez had moved into third, Paradeda/Kieling holding their spot and Rodriguez/Tocke slowing grinding through the fleet.
The finish for the Earl Elms Trophy was extremely close, with the Belgian team of Sam and Daan Vandormael just taking the gun. Nelido Manso/Sanlay Castro de la Cruz finished second and Gonzalez/Sanchez finished third, securing their title.
Second overall was still to be determined. Paradeda/Kieling crossed in seventh with Rodriguez/Tocke in fourteenth, which created a tie for second overall with Paradeda/Kieling winning the tie breaker.
With 87 teams from 17 nations, this was the largest Snipe Worlds held. The competition was fierce with the best team winning. Congratulations to all competitors for a hard-fought week.
The Snipe World Championship, which was first contested in 1934 and is held bi-annually, came to a close with a fantastic closing ceremony held by CNC. The Race Management and organizing team are to be congratulated for a fantastic event, as well as the Portuguese Snipe Class.