|Australian Viper Sailing|
|Written by Jon Stubbs|
March 2nd - 4th 2013
The 2nd Western Australian Sports Boat Championships were held over the March Labour Day weekend. Four Vipers, two Shaw 650's, a T 750, T 7, Runnels 8, a Bull 750 contested the states.
Mitch de Vries and Evan Lutey on the T750, Ducks Nuts, were defending their title. Ducks Nuts and the two Shaw 650's were also preparing for forthcoming Australian sportsboat championship in Victoria at Easter.
The consensus was the there would be a good battle between Rod Beurteaux on a Viper and and Rees Howell's Shaw 650. Beurteaux was skippering Chris O'Keefes Viper, Snake Charmer, with Jon Stubbs in the centre and Chris forward. This team had competed in the Viper North American titles in July 2012 and had finished 4th. Rees had finished second in the last state titles in his Shaw 650, Octopussy, and was trying out his new reduced rating.
The first day had two windward/leeward courses followed by a passage race that was also a giant windward leeward course. The passage race was a 3 mile beat, a 6 mile reach/ run followed by a 3 mile beat. The first two races were held in about 10 - 15 knots followed by the passage race in increasing breeze that got to about 18 knots.
Octopussy, skippered by Rees Howell, took the first two races by 9 seconds and 51 seconds from Vipers on SMS.
In the passage race, Beurteaux got a good start and was heading to the first day mark in first place when port tacker Ducks Nuts failed to bear away enough. They collected Snake Charmer on the port quarter and split their gunnel. Unsure of how much water they may take in the two hour race, Beurteaux retired and took average points.
After a great downwind ride, and a few slogs uphill, Ducks Nuts was fastest and Octopussy took first on SMS. Shaw Thing was second and Viper 640, Fizz, third.
Beurteaux received average points from their first two races.
Rees Howell and his crew, on Shaw 650, Octopussy, had dominated the first day winning all three races.
Beurteaux sat in second and Nic Lewins, sailing Viper, Fizz, in third. The Vipers, while performing as well or better than the Shaws upwind, couldn't match the massive difference in sail area downwind.
Day Two looked light. The breeze was around 8 knots. Would the Shaws with large spinnakers continue their dominance? There were to be four windward /leeward courses.
Beurteaux got off to a great start and first leg, but were closely followed by Octopussy. After gybing early, Snake Charmer were being closely tailed by Octopussy, when Octopussy dropped their spinnaker due to a poorly tied halyard. To continue, they needed to capsize the boat and retie their halyard. Beurteaux finished second overall, and first on SMS.
Beurteaux won the next two races and looked like winning the last race of the day before they fouled Octopussy at the last mark and had to do circles. They finished second to John Parkes in the Viper, Velocity, with Fizz third.
Octopussy finished the day with 4,4,3,2 places.
Beurteaux had enough points to win without having to sail the last heat.
Day three saw a 13 knot breeze and a lot of chop and swell. The course
was a triangle and sausage with the windward leg of about two miles. Snake Charmer got off to a good start and gradually eased away from the rest of the fleet. Ducks Nuts was sailing lower and eventually, when they crossed, they had the lead and rounded first. They were followed by Snake Charmer, Fizz and Octopussy.
Octopussy had a bad set and took all of the first reach to catch Fizz. Snake Charmer held them off on the second reach. One of the Viper's advantages is they can carry their smaller spinaker on tighter angle. It was impossible for the Shaw to reach over the top of the Viper. Eventually they were forced to gybe off…. Not a good move on triangle course.
Snake Charmer led around the top mark for the last run, with Octopussy 75 Metres behind. With a free choice on where and when to gybe, Octopussy quickly passed Snake Charmer and scooted off to good lead. Shaw Thing eventually caught Snake Charmer too.
By the finish Octopussy was over two minutes in front of Snake Charmer, but this proved to be not enough on SMS and Snake Charmer racked up another win and finished a good series with four first places to Octopussy's three.
It was Viper 1st, Shaw 2nd, Viper 3rd, 4th and T750 5th.
Viper versus Shaw 650
It is always interesting racing in a mixed sportsboat fleet. The Viper seems to hold its own in the light conditions and the Shaw is very good in the medium. In the heavy it depends on who stays on their feet.
Upwind The Vipers have proven to be very good against the Shaws upwind in all breezes, and particularly when there is bit of chop around. The Shaw is very flat under the mast and tends to pound upwind more than the Viper. Possibly they needed to move their body weight further forward, which seems to work well in the Viper. Their added upwind sail area (extra 40 sq ft) doesn’t seem to make them any quicker upwind.
Downwind Downwind, when the Shaws could get on a plane, they were hard to beat. Here their larger mainsail and huge spinaker (extra 170 sq ft ) help them to quickly plane and put a few minutes on the Viper in one leg.
Light weather / heavy weather
On day two, when the breeze was under ten knots the increased sail area only helped the Shaw marginally. The Viper was generally quicker upwind and downwind was able to soak lower, breaking even or only losing a little ground. The
Shaw didn’t gain enough to offset their handicap rating.
While interesting and challenging, racing under the SMS has all the normal problems of any handicap system. I watch the clock too much at work and I don’t really enjoy doing the same while sailing.
I like the simplicity of One Design racing - if you cross the line first - you've won the race.
Given enough boats, One Design racing is the way to go, with some SMS racing to provide a different challenge.
Photos by Swanno
Running off with the Circus
Mark Griffiths began importing the Viper 640 to the east coast of Australia last September.
Recently Mark and his crew completed his first two regattas in his Viper, "Circus School":
He was racing against some of the country’s hottest sportsboats using the Sportsboat Measuring System (SMS)
Marks first regatta, in January, was Geelong Race Week. 16 boats of 11 different designs competed. (Thompson 7’s, 8s, Shaw 650’s, Bethwaite 79er, Sports 8, magic 25, Elliots, etc)
Mark finished a creditable 4th place and finished with four 1stplacings in the 8 race series. Understandably, in their first regatta in a Viper, some inconsistent results and an OCS proved costly.
Last weekend Mark competed in the NSW State Titles. 17 boats of 13 diferent designs competed in the event.
A strong weather system moved over the coast on the weekend and Saturday’s racing had to be cancelled due to strong wind, consistently over 25 knots. On Sunday it moderated between high teens and 25 knots. The race control got in as many races as they could. In the end they squeezed in 5 races, which all counted.
Included in the fleet was the virtually unbeaten, Stealth 8, Raptor and Geelong Race Week winner Monkey Business.
Mark showed what a bit of regatta time in the Viper will do.
In the end he finished in second place behind Thompson 8, Zippier.
It is great to see the Viper is a fantastic OD and does so well in a mixed SMS fleet too.
Photos Teri Dodds
Western Australian Sports Boat Short Course Series
17 th December 2012
A great weekend. 15 boats attended over the weekend in predominantly light, tricky conditions due to the morning starts. The courses were two times around a windward/leeward course that were between 20 and 40 minutes long.There were 8 races over two mornings.
The final SMS results for the weekend:
Western Australian Sportsboat Winter Series
Race 4 Western Australian Sportsboat Winter Sailing
Now I know why it’s called a frostbite series. It felt like the wind was straight from the south pole.The breeze direction didn’t suit the two, published courses and so, like Race Three, the course was mainly two or three sail reaching, a bit of free running and a few, short windward legs. But the positive was….. The breeze had finally arrived … not in a big way… mostly 8 to 10 knots with gusts to 15.
10 boats braved the cold.
Shaw 650, Octopussy led to the first mark followed closely by Viper, Don’t Forget Alice.
A one mile free reach saw Octopussy clear out to a couple of minutes lead. A 2.6 mile tight reach saw Don’t Forget Alice, quickly reel in Octopussy who had to drop her kite.
Her glory was short lived as about a mile from the mark, even the
Vipers had to drop their kites. Octopussy and T750 Ducks Nuts with more sail area, two sail reached to the next mark ahead of Don’t Forget Alice.
Octopussy was not headed again.
Don’t forget Alice had a good tussle with Ducks Nuts, who found the very tight reaches a bit tight for her very large kites.
In the end Octopussy finished 5 minutes 43secs ahead of Don’t forget Alice followed by Ducks Nuts.
On SMS it was Shaw 650, Octopussy, 32 seconds ahead of Viper, Don’t Forget Alice followed by Viper, Viper, T7.
A few rums restored the circulation in the bar afterwards.
Race 3 Western Australian Sportsboat Winter Sailing
I hope the winners of Race Three picked up a lotto ticket on the way home from sailing because their luck was definitely in for the day.
The course was mainly two or three sail reaching, a bit of running and a few, short windward legs.
In 5 to 8 knots Brian Devries’ T 750, “Over the Line”, led the other 10 sportsboats to the first mark ahead of T7 “Keeled Over” with Viper “Don’t Forget Alice” rounding inside of T750 “Ducks Nuts” who was later found to be OCS.
A tight reach saw the Shaw 650, Octopussy set a Code 0 on a furler (Jeez, we only have three sails!!!) They passed 3 boats to round the next mark in second. They were trucking…undefined
Positions tightened, up the short ww leg. A big shift in the last 200m of the leg, saw some pick it and lift beautifully to the mark, set, and scoot off on a reach. The rest of us took a great circle route, parked and cursed.
The predominantly reaching course continued to help the boats with larger sail area. The race was looking like it would be one for the Shaw ,T750’s and 7’s on SMS. It was only by how much…..
And then sometimes, luck plays a part…. The breeze dropped….. the leaders parked at the last mark… the rest of the fleet closed in…
“Over the Line” finished two minutes ahead of “Octopussy” who finished ahead of two T7’s and five minutes ahead of three Vipers.
On SMS, if all my calculations are correct, it was Viper 1st, and then very close for the next two places. Viper 2nd(+1m15s), Octopussy 3rd ( +1m 17s) then Viper, T7.
Sometimes it’s about the boat or skill but sometimes it’s a fair amount of luck too….. especially in winter.
Race 1 and 2 Western Australian Sportsboat Winter Sailing
Bernie Kaaks Photo
As a change, most of the sportsboats decided to stick on the river for the winter and partake in the South of Perth Yacht Club Frostbite Series.
The first heat finished with the Vipers finiishing 1,2,3,4,5th on SMS.
Heat two of the South of Perth Yacht Club Winter Series looked like it might have been a good 10 to 15 knots at the start ... but it wasn't.
It dropped and the majority of the race was sailed in 3 to 8 knots.
Ducks Nuts got off to a good start and led the Thompson 7, The Fifth Seven followed by Rod Beurteaux in Dont Forget Alice and the Shaw 650, Octopussy.
The Duck's Nuts developed a couple of minute lead. The next three boats had a good tussle for the next two hours. The Viper was pacing its bigger rivals upwind and sailing deeper and better lanes downwind to offset the other boat's larger sail areas. In the end the T750 finished about 3minutes ahead of the Shaw, which was about twenty seconds ahead of Beuarteaux's Viper.
For some reason, obscure to all of us.... the races are being handicapped under the yacht club's performance handicap system.
Probaly to give all the other boats a chance, as the Vipers would have dominated other wise under the Sportsboat Measuring System (SMS).
On a calculation on what the results would have been under the Australian Sportsboat Measing System (SMS), Dont Forget Alice finished 4 and 1/2 minutes ahead of Octopussy and then Viper, Viper, Viper, R8, T750, Viper, T7