Raul Rios and Marco Teixidor won the 2011 Snipe North American Championships. The annual regatta was hosted out of the Mission Bay Yacht Club, in San Diego, California, September 30th to October 2nd. The two young Puerto Rican sailors bested the 38-boat fleet representing seven nations by a seven-point lead over second and third place finishers, Augie Diaz and Kathleen Tocke from the USA and the fellow USA team of Doug Hart and Reece Bernet, respectively.
It wasn’t an easy win.
“In the last race, we were on the last upwind leg in second behind the USA’s Diaz and in front of Brazil’s Alexandre Tinoco and crew Gabriel Borges, who are the current World Champions, when the wind died, but the waves and chop didn’t,” explains skipper Raul Rios. “It was a struggle to get to the finish line and to keep the second place score that we needed to win.”
Rios and Teixidor had competed in an Open and Junior Worlds regatta in the Snipe –
a 15Â½ft, two-person, one-design racing dinghy first built in 1931 – prior to the North American Championships.
“We weren’t happy with our results at those two regattas, so we changed our practices to work on specific areas where we needed to improve,” Rios says.
The duo also adopted a new confident attitude that was the success behind their win.
“The month before the regatta I took the motto ‘We Believe’, something that my high school class is all about,” says Rios, who is a 12th grader at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola in San Juan. “We believe in what we want and have worked for.”
On the heels of their win, Rios and Teixidor flew to Guadalajara, Mexico, to compete in the Pan American Games. Then they headed to Perth, Australia where in December they hope to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the 470 Class.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.