On March 3, 2023, we’re one less boat on the starting line with the loss of Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz.
Loved by everyone he met, beloved Snipe sailor and past SCIRA Commodore, left an indelible mark on the Snipe world and Snipe sailors worldwide.
Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz, Sr., was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1930. In 1945, his father bought him his first Snipe (Rosi II, #3686), and three years later he stepped up to El Almirante #4835, which was also built in Cuba. It was 1952 when he first took ownership of Jupiter, #10111, a US-built Snipe, which he later managed to “squeeze out of Cuba” when the family left in 1964. (The story of sailing his family to Florida on this Snipe is just one of many not-quite-true legends about Old Man.)
From his new home in Clearwater, Florida, he and the Diaz clan joined the local Snipe fleet and rarely missed a regatta. The family eventually settled in Miami, and all three kids grew up sailing Snipes and crewing for the Old Man. His long-time nickname is much more respectful in its original Spanish, “Viejo,” but that respect carries over to its usage by his many English-speaking friends. Read on.