Viper 640: BACARDI Miami Sailing Week 2013

Viper 640: BACARDI Miami Sailing Week 2013

Published on March 10th, 2013

BACARDI Miami Sailing Week – Miami, FL – March 4-9, 2013 – Photos by Dan Tucker

Heaven on the Water

By Dan Tucker
Viper 640 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, presented by EFG Bank, is in the books and the assembled Viper sailors had a blast as always. Fun? Absolutely! Eighteen Vipers were racing in warm weather, and the rest of us weren’t. The weather didn’t cooperate much on day one — great breezes on the way out to the racecourse gave way to a light air start and an even lighter run and second beat, at which point the RC shortened course to allow all of the Vipers to drift across the line. Could have been worse — several other classes that aren’t as strong in light air saw boats suffer the dreaded “TLE” on even shorter courses.

Congratulations to Andrew Weiss, Byron LaMotte and Jonathan Asch aboard USA 179, Dragon Fire (Mamaroneck, NY – Larchmont YC fleet), for taking the victory over a very tough field, banging right on the first beat to find pressure and round the first mark with a 10-boatlength lead. This win is Dragon Fire’s first in a major Viper regatta, with perennial champions Brad Boston and Jackpot (Sarnia, Ontario), a close second in CAN 201, Rondar Raceboats works boat, with Class Governor Kay VanValkenburgh and Karen Kingsbury on USA 98, LoQi (Boston, Mass.) in third. The southerly never filled and no other races were started for the day, allowing sailors to hit the Bacardi tent early.

The wind gods were in a more generous spirit Friday. No reason for question marks when determining whether it was a fun day on the water in Miami! The winds filled at 9-12 knots and held for the entire day, allowing for five additional races to be sailed, to make up for Thursday’s light air affair. With six races in the books, competitors were able to discard their worst result, which compressed the top of the standings heading into the final day.

The top four teams were separated by only three points, with reigning North American champion Pieter Taselaar and his team aboard USA 117, Bliksem scoring three seconds, a third and a fourth on the day to take the lead after getting stranded on the wrong side of the course on Thursday. Taselaar had several teams nipping at his transom, with Brad Boston winning two races that day to sit in sole possession of second place, two points out of the lead, and two other teams only one point behind him: defending EFG Pan American champion Glyn Locke on GBR 123, Fer de Lance, and defending Charleston Race Week and HPDO champion Jason Carroll on USA 160, Argo. Phil and Wendy Lotz on USA 155, Arethusa were only two more points behind Locke and Carroll, and only Taselaar had a double-digit finish to his name. With the biggest wind of the regatta forecast for Saturday’s finale, the regatta was anyone’s to win.

Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, presented by EFG Bank ended in style on Saturday, with the Jackpot team of Brad Boston, Eric Vigrass and Shannon Bush emerging from a five-boat pile-up in the standings to take the title. Going into the final day, the top five teams were separated by only five points, and each brought their game faces in the teeth of freshening, shifty breeze.

In the first race, Boston’s team took the bullet, moving them into the lead by two points over Glyn Locke’s Fer de Lance team, with Phil and Wendy Lotz two more points behind in the third spot. Jason Carroll’s Argo team sailed its drop race, and Pieter Taselaar’s Bliksem team added an eighth, which they could ill afford after a 16th in Thursday’s only race. Lotz’s team won race two, leapfrogging them ahead of Locke, and creating a logjam for the final podium spot, with Locke one point ahead of Carroll and only two points ahead of Taselaar. No team could afford a bad final race, and Boston put the hammer down with the win in perfect planing conditions, edging out Carroll and Lotz across the line. Lotz held onto second overall with a final race third, and Carroll’s final race second moved him three points ahead of Locke and Taselaar for the bronze.

While the focus was on the epic five-way battle for the regatta win, there were equally intense battles for position within the “peloton” or the middle of the fleet. The racing is always truly a blast down here in Miami in the Viper 640, and all of us were sure happy we were not north of Interstate 10, where the weather up north shown on the TV was cold and snowy!

Lots of friendships were made and renewed, with crews going out to dinner together, hanging out at the bars together, getting tossed out of bars together, and even meeting up and having a good ‘ole fashion cook out at the off-season rental houses that can be found at a reasonable cost down here.

The post card is right…we wish you were here! It’s never too late to join the fun. Visit to learn more about the Viper Class. There’s great one-design Viper racing all across North America, with local fleets and regional regatta circuits near you.

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