Connecting dots at Viper 640 North Americans
Published on October 7th, 2021
Darien, CT (October 7, 2021) – The opening day of the 2021 Viper 640 North American Championship completed three light air races for the 37-boat fleet. With only three points separating the top three, and each of the teams winning a race, the day one leader is the Great Scott! team of Jay Rhame and Peter and Rachel Beardsley.
It started out as a day when nobody was expecting to race due to a dire forecast of very light winds. All the weather models called for 3-4 knots and then even less. But after a two hour shore postponement, PRO Sandy Grosvenor (Annapolis, MD) started in the middle of Long Island Sound when a light 5-knot southerly filled in at about 1300.
“The key today, was to get off the line cleanly and connect the dots of breeze,” said Rhame. “In the first race, we tacked out to the right early. We found that there was more pressure to the right and less ebb tide and we were there first. We put our bow down and just sailed as if it was a drag race.”
Rhame and the Beardsleys lead the day with a 1-5-2 line score for eight points. Just one point back is Mark Zagol with 10 points, who is sailing with Tim Desmond and Drew Buttner. After a pair of fourth-place finishes, Zagol won the third race by two boatlengths over Rhame’s team after late gybing duel.
The tight pack at the top also includes Ted Ferrarone, Cardwell and Jennifer Potts, and Meredith Killion in third place (6-1-4) just two points behind Zagol.
With the very light and variable winds today, the ebb tide became a significant factor. In fact, after numerous boats “kissed” the windward mark, competitors took the caution to round with a generous amount of caution so as not to have to do a penalty, in light air.
With the wind constantly shifting, predominantly to the right all day, and with a strong ebb tide, PRO Grosvenor “walked” the windward/leeward courses using leeward and upwind leg course changes to give the sailors a more balanced course from a time on port/starboard basis. In the end, this worked well over the three races completed.
Three to four races per day for a total of 12-16 races are scheduled on October 7-10.
Tomorrow’s forecast remains on the lighter side before the final two days looks to have winds in the mid-teens with stronger puffs.
Source: Buttons Padin