Keystone captain wins first regatta |

Keystone captain wins first regatta

DILLON – Scott Snyder’s frustration level was on the rise as he tried to figure the best way to break down his J24 sailboat.

The July Fourth Open regatta was over, and the Keystone captain was anxious to get his boat ready for travel.

But his mood did a 180 when word came down that he had won the two-day event, giving him his first regatta victory in three years of racing on Dillon Reservoir.

“It’s a lot to take these boats down, and it can be kind of stressful,” Snyder said after racing Sunday. “So this takes a lift off the stress. Now we can take it down, have a dark and stormy and celebrate.

A dark and stormy is a rum and ginger beer drink that Snyder was planning to share with his crew – Frank Kelble, Chad Gray, Chris Tittsworth, Kelly Lee, Tim Nelson, Gary Tautz and Alan Dille – out of the large silver cup he received for winning the regatta.

“It’s awesome,” Snyder said. “This is a first for me as a skipper, and it’s a first for this team.”

Snyder and his crew are preparing for the J24 Silver Anniversary Regatta later this month in Newport, R.I., then the U.S. Nationals in Milwaukee.

This weekend’s regatta consisted of four races over two days, and winning required consistent sailing. Snyder won Saturday afternoon’s race and was second on Sunday afternoon. He also had fourth-place finishes in the two morning races.

The races were open to several classes of boats that were equalized by the Performance Handicap Rating Formula (PHRF).

Vail’s Susan Johnson captained a J24 boat to second place, followed by Terry Shertz (J22) in third. Michael Sher, racing a Melges 24 – the fastest type of boat on the water – was in first place after Saturday’s races. He won the first race of the regatta and was second Saturday afternoon.

But a rough day on Sunday (11th and 13th) dropped him to fourth.

“(Saturday) went really well for us,” Sher said. “There was a lot of wind. We had some really good rides. (Sunday) the wind was fluky. We were way out ahead, and as soon as we got ahead and we easily had the race won, the wind died in front of us and came in from behind.”

Sunday’s morning race began inauspiciously, when a microburst of wind surprised Rick Norris and flipped his boat. Another crew veered into the rocks.

It was the beginning of a tricky day of sailing on Lake Dillon.

“Today was very challenging for the competitors,” said principal race officer Frank Keesling. “There were a lot of wind changes. There were a lot of microbursts that come through. Some people were prepared for it, some people weren’t.”

The July Fourth Open is the summer’s first open race on Lake Dillon. The biggest – the Dillon Open – is scheduled for Aug. 2-3. In the meantime, the Dillon Yacht Club holds private races almost every summer weekend.

“Everyone wants to win the Dillon Open,” Sher said. “The Fourth of July is just for fun. But it’s still pretty competitive out there.”

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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