During the 1930s, Snipe boat racing was an exciting sport in the islands!
The first Snipe boat was designed in 1931 and became a popular racing class with fleets around the world.
In 1935, an International Snipe Class Association was organized in St. Thomas.
Shipwright, Willie Lewis built the first few boats.
When he launched them from his shipyard (located at the corner of De Beltjen Road and Lovers Lane), crowds of spectators who loved the sea sport came to see them.
Racing the First Snipe Boats
The first two boats, (15.5 feet in length), were christened BEULAH and PEE WEE, numbered 1434 and 1435 respectively.
Everyone was excited to watch as they sailed from the Pier head around the Scorpion buoy to the Carenage buoy and back.
WINNIE appeared to be a crowd favorite and winner several times with Skipper W.G. Lewis at the helm.
The boat races represented two clubs; Long Bay Yacht Club and the French Village Yacht Club.
St. Croix Snipe Boat Races
Many races took place in the Christiansted harbor after the boats were shipped over on the SS Catherine.
Below, are the names of the last known registered owners provided by the International Snipe Boat Association.
- LINNET, No. 755, (1st owner Herman Agostini-Hau, San Juan Puerto Rico) skippered & owned by Mr. Anton C. Teytaud of Christiansted, St. Croix. Last owner Holger G. Nielsen, Christiansted, St. Croix
- WINNIE, No. 1596, skippered & owned by Mr. W.G. Lewis of St. Thomas; crew member, Norman Grigg. Last owner-Sgt. Eugene J. Fitzsimmons, Air Force, St. Thomas.
- DOLPHIN, No. 1119, skippered & owned by Mr. Aage B. Clendinen of Christiansted, St. Croix; crew member, Mr. I. Finch
- BEULAH, No. 1434, skippered by Mr. C. Benjamin; crew member, Dr. R. Lanclos. Mr. W.G. Lewis was also skipper of this sailboat. The last owner of this Snipe boat was Mr. Robb White of Marina Cay, British Virgin Islands.
- CLAIRE, skippered by Mr. Theodore Danet
- BRIGHT STAR
- CARIOCA, No. 1472, Owned by Vida McIntosh; skippered by Mr. L. McIntosh. Mr. Albert Commissiong was also skipper of this sailboat
- JOLLY ROGER, Owner Mr. Puritz
- PEE WEE, No. 1435, skippered & owned by Mr. D. Vago. Captain Theodore Danet was also skipper at one time. Last owner-Mr. Louis Lindquist of Every Ready Taxis
- Mr. D. Victor Bornn skippered Snipe boats as well.
- DEMON, skippered by Mr. Murphy
- DAFODIL, skippered by Mr. Hilvan Finch
I was so excited to identify this photo when I happened to notice the small logo on the top of the sail. Can you see it in the photograph above? ? Many thanks to Snipe.org for their assistance.