An elite fleet of 25 boats from seven countries featuring reigning world champion Alexandre Paradeda (BRA) will contest the 2002 Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship Tuesday through Saturday.
Flags flown in opening ceremonies at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Monday represented Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, the Bahamas and the United States.
Seven races are scheduled, one Tuesday and two each on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Thursday as a lay day. All will be sailed on an Olympic-style course on the open ocean outside the breakwater of Long Beach Harbour.
Paradeda, with crew Flavio Fernandes, won the 2001 Snipe Worlds at Punte del Este, Uruguay last November in a performance so dominant that they didn't need to sail the last race.
Paradeda, 29, thus became an automatic entry for this event, which is run every two years and is otherwise restricted to five boats from each member country, plus the defending champion and single junior entries from North or South America and the Orient. Nelido Manso and Octavo Lorenzo of Cuba won the Western Hemisphere-Orient event in Argentina in 2000 but were unable to obtain U.S. visas to defend their title.
The Snipe is a 15-1/2 foot, two-person dinghy. Designed by William Crosby in 1931, it has evolved from wood construction into a modern, tactical fiberglass racing dinghy with fleets around the world. It is not an Olympic class, although Paradeda sailed a 470 at Sydney 2000 and remains a member of the Brazilian national team in that class.
Other contenders include Augie Diaz (USA) and George Szabo (USA), five and four time U.S. national champions respectively; Randy Lake, San Diego, third in the 2000 Westerns with Piet Van Os as crew, and twins Javier and Nicolas Ocariz (ARG), fifth in the last three Westerns.
Brazil brings the most colorful crowd, which besides Paradeda and Fernandes includes the only female skipper, Bibi Juetz, the 1998 World Masters champion who sailed in the 1952 Westerns, and Ivan Pimental, the 2002 Brazilian national champion whose name brought a smile to Paradeda's face.
he said, in deference to the longtime rival who holds the upper hand to the world champion in their home country.
Paradeda has been sailing a Snipe for 14 years, the last eight with Fernandes. "I think that's the secret,"
Paradeda said, "sailing a long time with the same crew. If you change it takes a long time to win again."
As Paradeda talked in the boatyard, a younger Brazilian, the tall and thin 20-year-old Marcos Mascarenhas, eavesdropped nearby. "The new generation,"
Paradeda teased. "He's the future."
Is the future here? "Maybe we'll see this week,"