February 24, 2016
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the design of the Viper 640 and the 10th anniversary of the relaunch of the Class Association. The Class is now a truly international class with Viper 640 fleets active in seven nations across three continents. The Class Association is celebrating these milestones by hosting the first Viper 640 International Championship, with sailors competing for a prestigious new trophy open to Viper teams from around the world. The International Championship will be hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club on Bermuda’s Great Sound November 16-19, 2016, preceded by a warm-up regatta November 13-14. There are over 50 Viper 640s already registered for the International Championship, with representative teams coming from North America, Europe and Australia, and it is anticipated this number will grow in the coming months. This will be the largest one–design keel boat regatta ever hosted in Bermuda.
The Viper 640 was originally designed and built in 1996.The Class was relaunched in the U.S. in 2006 with a new, self-governing Viper 640 Class Association and a new builder (Rondar Raceboats in the UK). The founders of the new Class Association had a simple but ambitious mission: they wanted a fast, fun, easy-to-sail, affordable sport boat that would reinvigorate amateur one-design sailing. The grass roots growth phenomenon that followed was initially aimed at the U.S., but word spread quickly, with Viper fleets springing up in Canada, Australia, the UK, and Bermuda.
The International Championship will be held concurrently with the 20th Anniversary North American Championship. The overall winner will be crowned as the first Viper 640 International Champion and the highest-placing North American team will receive the Class’s coveted North American Championship trophy.
Viper 640 Class President Dr. Jim Sears noted, “The Class’s first International Championship is indicative of our growth in recent years with more and more Vipers sailing in Australia and Europe. This follows the Class’s first European Championship on Lake Garda last year and Australian Championships that have been hosted in Fremantle and Sydney. We are going to find out who is the best Viper team is in the world and I can’t imagine a more spectacular location in the world to do this than on the Great Sound in Bermuda.”
“This is already the largest one-design keel boat regatta that has ever taken place in the history of Bermuda, and hosting the Viper 640 International Championship in Bermuda is a perfect fit,” said 2016 International Championship Chair Doug De Couto. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club immediate past Commodore Somers Kempe noted that, “With the America’s Cup to be sailed in these same waters in 2017, the sailing world’s eyes are on Bermuda. We are the newest national fleet in the Viper 640 Class and we intend to throw a memorable competition and even more memorable parties for our visitors.”
Fleets in North America and Australia have been joined by a growth initiative in Europe supported by Rondar Raceboats, the sole builder of the Viper 640. In the U.S., the Class and Rondar recently celebrated the selection of the Viper 640 by the Gulf Yachting Association as its Capdevielle Championship Series boat effective 2018. Since the GYA Board’s formal approval of the Viper 640 at its January 2016 meeting, the 30+ GYA clubs along the Gulf of Mexico have commenced purchasing Vipers at a rapid pace as the Gulf becomes a vibrant part of this growing international class.
Rondar Raceboats will be delivering containers of new boats to Bermuda in time for the International Championship. Anyone interested in chartering or purchasing a Viper in Bermuda should contact Rondar’s Dan Tucker.
The Viper 640 International Championship and North American Championship Regatta is made possible thanks to the generosity of its sponsors: The Bermuda Tourism Authority, EFG International, Bermuda International Shipping Ltd., Bermuda Container Line, Somers Isles Shipping, Bermuda Forwarders, Goslings, Gubinelli Wines, Oleander Cycles, and Newstead Belmont Hills Resort.
Regatta documents can be found on Yacht Scoring: http://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=1577.