Living , Modern



Old Man, Viejo

1930 - 2025

Gonzalo Diaz, Sr., affectionately known as “Old Man” or “Viejo” has had a love affair with the Snipe since he was a teenager. This great sailor, family man, business man, and Snipe champion has been one of the International Snipe Class promoters for decades. Inducted into the inaugural Snipe Class Hall of Fame in 2019 for his contribution to making Snipe Class history on land and water alike, as well as for promoting the class, Diaz is also deserving of induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Diaz’s home club is Coconut Grove Sailing Club on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Diaz, the Club, and his family have hosted the Don Q and the Comodoro Rasco Snipe regattas, sacred events on the annual Snipe calendar, for over 55 years. Diaz’s dedication to the Snipe Class has contributed to the development of countless world class sailors and worldwide camaraderie. Born in 1930 in Havana, Cuba, Gonzalo Diaz, Sr.’s dedication to the Snipe began as a teenager sailing out of Miramar Yacht Club. His father purchased Rosi II (# 3686) for him when he was 15 years old. Always a competitive sailor, he steered his brother, Saul, to second place overall in the 1959 Pan American and World Championships. Nearly two decades later, he finished second in the 1975 Snipe World Championships crewing for his son, Augie. In 1964, the Diaz family and Jupiter (#10111) relocated from Cuba to the United States. By 1965, Diaz and his young family were sailing prams and Snipes out of Coconut Grove Sailing Club.

Diaz has sailed more than 70 US National championships, owned countless Snipes, and—most importantly—inspired generations of sailors to join the class. In an October 2002 issue of Coconut Grove Sailing Club’s monthly newsletter, The Channel, Diaz is quoted with his perfected pitch for sailing the mentally and physically challenging Snipe, “It is a boat that is easy to buy, easy to transport and easy to rig. You don’t have to be a big guy to sail her. Racing the Snipe is like playing chess, but a fast chess game! You have to think, you have to use tactics, you have to make quick decisions. You will never see 10 cruising boats rounding a mark at the same time, but you will see that racing Snipes. The Snipe is a very tactical boat. The high boom allows you to see almost 360 degrees around what is going on on the race course and of what your competition is planning to do to you. You can tack on a starboard tacker without losing speed and easily get a safe leeward position. It is a very physical boat, so, if you want to stay in good shape, race a Snipe!” There is no doubt about it, Diaz’s enthusiasm for his family, his international Snipe family, and for Snipe sailing has kept him youthful and smiling for decades. His dedication to the Miami Snipe fleet through his Snipe leasing program, his Super crew development program, his boat maintenance tips, knowledge sharing, leadership, and hospitality is the force behind the strongest Snipe fleet in the world and the development of countless collegiate, national, continental, hemispheric, Pan Am, and World Championship.

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