Harken Derm

Record Turnout for Viper 640 North Americans

Published on October 14th, 2015

Larchmont, NY (October 14, 2015) – It’s been a remarkable year for the Viper 640 Class, and this week’s North American Championship at Larchmont Yacht Club is the cherry on top. In a year that has seen historically high regatta participation and fleet growth, it is only fitting that the Vipers are preparing for the largest regatta in Class history.

Fifty-three Vipers are set to take to the racecourse in Western Long Island Sound beginning on Thursday, October 15 and running through Sunday, October 18, the first time that the Class has crossed the 50-boat threshold.

“A couple of guys will be stuck in the office for the first part of the regatta, but by Saturday at worst, someone will have the first-ever Viper double-digit score that begins with the number 5. We’ll have a special prize for that guy,” says Peter Beardsley, event chair of the 2015 championship.

Larchmont has the largest Viper fleet in the world, which this week is supplemented by teams from 13 states, 4 provinces and 4 countries to round out the most competitive fleet in Class history. 2014 North American champ Brad Boston from Sarnia, Ontario returns to defend his title with ace crews Curtis Florence and Luke Lawrence, but will face a tough test if he wants to win his fifth Viper class championship.

Boston only managed a third in the 36-boat tune up at the High Performance Dinghy Open, edged out by top local teams, including an all pro team from Zeke Horowitz at North Sails and 2004 College Sailor of the Year Cardwell Potts close behind.

Australian match racer David Chapman, skipper of the team that finished second at the 2012 Viper North Americans, jumps into a charter boat that won the 2015 HPDO with a formidable team, and British K6 ace and former Laser world champion Lawrence Crispin showed up to Miami in March for his first Viper event, managing a fourth, and finished fifth in the tune-up.

The early forecast looks promising, with cooling fall weather driving puffy winds from the western quadrant all weekend, and expected northwesterlies allowing for shifty winds that will force the winners to be as smart as they are fast in flat water with 20-30 degree oscillations. “If we end up with winds from the northwest, nearly every team will have moments of glory,” Beardsley notes of the four-day regatta, with a maximum of 14 races scheduled.

Moments of glory will be wide open after racing as well with an active social calendar planned thanks to generous support from many regatta sponsors, including Bell’s Brewery, PWC, Flintlock Construction, EFG Bank, Gubinelli Wines, and many others. There will also be daily debriefs with sailmakers and class experts.

“North Americans is like Viper sleepaway camp,” says Beardsley. “If anyone leaves this event not having had fun and not understanding how to tune and boat handle with the best, then we will have failed as a Class.”

The Vipers have had a good year in 2015, with an active winter circuit taking hold in Florida, culminating in the Class’s largest-ever turnout for its EFG Bank Pan American Championship in Miami in March, plus one design starts in 17 states and 6 countries throughout the year.

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Report by Ed Padin.

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