SAN DIEGO – In a close race, Skipper Raul Rios and his crew Fernando Monllor won the Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship by a single point.
Going into the final day of racing, Rios was one of three teams with a shot at nabbing the coveted championship title. A mere four points separated Argentinean sailor Luis Soubie and Rios before the final race, and getting off the starting line quickly was more crucial than ever before. Rios and Monllor were in sixth place by the time the fleet made it to the gate marks. They maneuvered around their competitors with sharp tactical handling, making their way up the fleet to ultimately finish third in the race, just behind the two USA teams skippered by Diaz and Hart.
“We knew it was going to be a tough day, but we just had to focus on one boat at a time, one leg at a time,” Rios said.
Soubie and Diego Mini Lipszyc struggled to maintain their position as regatta leaders throughout the final day of racing. Though they previously did well on the first two days of the ocean course, they couldn’t seem to get the starts they needed to lead either of the Sept. 12 races.
“Today was a disaster,” Soubie said of his 25th finish in Race 9 and 10th place finish in Race 10. “We ended the day feeling like we didn’t do much racing at all today. We were constantly in an emergency or getting away from trouble.”
Both races held Sept. 12 ended up being throw out scores, making them rely on their previous four days of top finishes to secure their position in second place overall.
Though disappointed that he let go of first, Soubie said he’s happy with his overall second place finish.
As a qualifying event for next year’s PanAms, a lot was riding on the regatta than just determining who would become the 2014 Snipe WH&O Champion. Many coaches made the far trek across international waters to insure that their country could qualify in time to compete in PanAms to be held in Canada. Puerto Rico, USA, Cuba, Ecuador and Colombia have all qualified during this regatta, while the Bahamas and Mexico remain unqualified.
Looking even further to the future of the Snipe Class, Soubie was happy to endorse the skipper who edged him out of the championship.
“He’s the future of the Snipe Class,” Soubie said. “He’s only 20 years old. He’s going to make this class proud.”