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Leaderboard Q1 2023

1958 Snipe European Championship at Port of Plymouth Sailing Association

by H. J. Crispin 1 Jun 2022 19:30 BST
Newspaper report from the 1958 Snipe European Championship at Plymouth, England © Western Morning News


The European Snipe Championships were held at Plymouth, England, during the first week of August. There were ten countries competing. With the bad weather all have experienced this year, we hardly expected to sail the full program on schedule. But with the winds holding good for the entire week and the excellent organization of the Port of Plymouth Sailing Association, the Championship series turned out to be one of the best for many years.

Half of the boats were measured on the Saturday, but on Sunday morning a force 8 gale blew, preventing all activity except sail measurement. No sails exceeded the new girth measurement, but one suit from France appeared to be under weight but were allowed, as we had no means of checking. The afternoon cleared and the remaining boats were measured.

The Swiss boat 10576, which was at Cascais for the World Championships of 1957, was deemed out of order by the measurement committee. The curve of the stem was too blunt and after much discussion, was allowed to participate providing it was reshaped. A local hoatbuilder took off a sliver about 12" long by 1/2" thick, but even this did not bring it into line. The position of the measurers was weakened by the fact that the same boat was allowed to participate in the World Championships.

Measuring was made easy by the use of a jig presented to the Snipe Association by Mr. J. McKinlay,Vice-President of the M.alcion Yacht Club.

The opening ceremony was performed by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth and the national flags were broken at mast heads to a fanfare by the band of the Royal Marines, Plymouth.

Luckily, by afternoon the wind was down to force 4 to 5 and a triangular course was set. A good start saw Norway, helmed by Nils Monstad, gain a lead over Dany Graux of Belgium, and he maintained it throughout the race. England and Scotland both retired after hitting a mark on the first round. Sven Rantil from Denmark came up to second place, beating R. Fragniere of Switzer-land.

The first seven boats finished within 2 1/2 minutes. Mario Capio, the Italian World Champion of the Snipe Class, did well to finish fifth, as he was still suffering from air sickness. France (B Archard) protested that Norway had fouled a mark, but the two judges closely watching from a stake boat testified that this was not so.

On Tuesday morning, the first windward-leeward race got off to a slow start owing to a wind shift from S to SW, which fortunately held there. Bernard Achard (France) went away on his own and gained a good lead over the entire fleet. Denmark and Norway made headway, whilst Dr. Clark Penman (England) fell away.

Result: France first, Denmark second, Norway third.

Wednesday, two races were scheduled and as the wind held due South, we got the remaining two windward-leeward races off. The start of the morning race was good with Italy first over the line, a position she maintained. The fleet split with Italy, Switzerland, and Spain (The Marquis de Povar) choosing the cliffs and Norway and Denmark the breakwater. The cliff paid off.

Spain retired with a broken shroud lashing. Result was Italy first, Sweden second, and Belgium third.

That afternoon the wind dropped to force 3 and Mario Capio, finding his form, came in half a minute ahead of Achard of France with Spain dose behind in 3rd place. This made the points position most interesting, with several in the running at this time. Scotland, participating for the first time in Snipe Championships, was represented by Mr. J. Mackay who was not at home in a borrowed boat and was well down the fleet.

The wind lessened as the week progressed and this favoured the Swiss boat, who obtained two firsts. In the last race, Italy had to get a fifth or better to win the event, but was early at the starting line and turned towards the committee boat. Dany Gratis (Belgium) had a perfect start but masked Mario's view mid so he did not see his recall number until a few seconds later. This cost him the championship, as he finished sixth.

Mario put in a protest, saying that Dany must have been over as well, but the protest was not upheld. Subsequent viewing of a film taken of that start proves the judges right. Spain finished second and Denmark third in that rare.

Dr. Clark Penman never struck his form and as someone remarked, being the perfect host, he allowed all but Scotland to beat him.

The entertainment side was very good with cocktail parties and a reception by the Lord Mayor, the Royal Corinthian Y.C., the Royal South Western Y. C., and the Royal Western Y. C. of England, the latter at the home of Lord Morley. A tea party was given by the Lord Mayor a. the home of Sir Francis Drake, Buekland Abbey.

The prize-giving dinner and dance was held in the Officers Mess at the H. A. F Mount Batten by kind permission of the A.O.C.

The Vice-Commodore of the P. P. S. A. expressed the hope that Plymouth might see a Snipe World Championship there one day.

The six Snipe Fleets of England and numerous friends raised the funds for the Championship and, without their help, this most successful regatta would not have been possible. Competitors testified to the warmth of welcome shown by the people of Plymouth, which makes for the success of all International sporting events.

Results: 6 races sailed — 5 counted

1st 10576 R. Fragniere & R. Glutz - Switzerland - 7309 pts
2nd 11156 Mario Capio & L. Podesta - Italy - 7242 pts
3rd 10036 Svend Rantil & B. Keutil - Denmark - 6938 pts
4th 10921 B. Achard & P. Gramond - France - 6875 pts
5th 10623 Nils Monstad & H. Grav - Norway - 6780 pts
6th 11542 Marquis de Povar & L. Triay - Spain - 6723 pts
7th 8226 B. Jameson & F. Ahman - Sweden - 6711 pts
8th 9518 Dany Graaux & F. Michaels - Belguim - 6563 pts
9th 8855 A.C. Ponman & E Hine - England - 5254 pts
10th 10326 J. Mackay & H. Sutherland - Scotland - 4931 pts

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