By Adam Wolnikowski, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Yale University/Trumbull ‘21
This year was the 43rd Annual Snow & Satisfaction Regatta run by the Yale University undergrads this year as a Zoom party. The “Snow” has been run as an invitation-only regatta by the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Branford, CT since 1976 and has been held every year since, except 2011 when it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Each year, the Snow is organized by a new group of undergrads on the Yale Sailing Team, this year being Adam Wolnikowski, Anisha Arcot, and Sam Tobin.
In a reflection on how deep this event runs through the veins of some of America’s best sailors, this year’s Zoom event had nearly 100 participants, dialing in from locations from Hawaii to the UK. There were probably 100 more who could not make the event.
The Snow has a number of traditions that are inviolate: a considerable opening party on the Friday eve, a talk given by a luminary on some current racing topic on the Saturday after racing, followed by yet another party where the first day leaders on the scoreboard need to demonstrate some serious stamina! In between is unbelievably tight racing in Yale’s fleet of 420s, pitting those with current outstanding boat handling skills vs “legends” who “tack poorly in the right spots.” The event is ridiculously deep and the kids (anyone under 30) know to watch out for those poor tacking yet devious older teams.
The host this year was Ted Ferrarone ‘98, who ably moved an agenda along in place of the actual racing. It included six main items:
- Every participant introduced themselves with their graduating college and year and the number of Snows they attended. This long-standing Snow tradition was preserved despite the difficulty of doing it over Zoom.
- A presentation on the history of the Snow by its founders, Steve Benjamin, Peter Isler, and Stan Honey, including unbelievable historic group pictures, results, stories, etc.
- An In Memoriam honoring members of the Snow family we recently lost: Harry Anderson, Geoff Ewenson, and Kevin Burnham.
- A presentation from Dave Perry on the 2021 RRS Changes
- A presentation from Stan Honey on the new Olympic Doublehanded Offshore Event
- Breakout rooms for more informal conversation to end the night
However, they ended up having to cut for time the last two presentations from Dave and Stan (due to how long the introductions took), and go straight to breakout rooms from the In Memoriam. The highlight of the evening was definitely the history presentation, as the Zoom format lent itself well to presenting old pictures (the Snow talk doesn’t typically have slides or a projector). This was also helped by the fact that there were many older attendees that would not have been able to be part of the Snow if it included sailing and travel, and were happy to have it be a venue primarily for catching up with old friends. The event was a huge success despite its virtual nature. Next year, hopefully The Snow will return to the water! ■