Written by Dan Tucker

Vipers at 2009 Coral Reef Cup

 Viper 640 racing in the Coral Reef Cup ended about six hours ago, and I’m still jazzed! Today was the most fun I’ve sailing while racing so badly. Twelve Viper 640’s turned up at the invitation of the Coral Reef Yacht Club for three days of racing in one of the best one design venues in the world. The Club and the Etchells fleet invited us to join them and turn an annual Etchells event into a multi-class, one-design regatta. We can’t thank the CRYC, the organizers and RC enough for being such gracious hosts.

There’s nothing better to me than racing fast sportboats in good breeze, warm water and sunshine. Biscayne Bay simply delivers. After a 25 ½ hour delivery drive from Marblehead, MA, we were the last boat to arrive late Thursday. We met our crew, Antonio Vidal, a spry 62 year old CRYC member who is interested in buying a Viper to sail with his son, Tony. Antonio would sail Friday and Saturday, Tony on Sunday. That sort of thing was a big part of this event for the Class and typical of our approach. Class Prez, Justin Scott (aka Viper640.org) sailed with a new owner who’s boat will arrive for Charleston Race Week. I don’t know of many classes where newcomers get to sail with and pick the brains of the current NA champion.

The Viper has evolved the in the past couple of years for the better and we’re still learning, which is great. While the sustained breeze at the time was 20 knots, there was a wicked puff that rolled down the course, which most sailors estimated at close to 30 knots. Some thought it was over 30. That race was abandoned for the Vipers and the Etchells were sent home too. Today an unfortunate Etchells sailor was rushed ashore and to the hospital with a broken leg from trying to fend off a collision, and a bump on the head from getting hit with the broken boom. Not a great day on the water for the poor guy.

The real big news is that 36 Viper sailors went out racing for 3 days and had an absolute BLAST. Today the photo boat was pacing a Viper downwind at 18 knots in 20-25 knots of breeze. The runs today were about the most fun you could have on a sailboat with your clothes on! With inexperienced yet super-enthusiastic crew, Rattler had a lousy regatta according to the score sheet (though we won the wipeout competition for sure and laughed our asses off about it). But we were hootin’ and hollerin’ scooting downwind, spray flying, boat half out of the water, wet & warm, crashing and doing it again. It was fantastic! Antonio and Tony both had a blast and are jazzed about Viper racing and can’t wait to do it again. Our new Viper friends from Bermuda brought a slew of Goslings and Barrits and we enjoyed Dark & Stormies after racing on Saturday (Thanks Goslings!). We and the Etchells played nice on the water and partied together at night.
New local owner and Coral Reef YC member Stu Hebb won the regatta sailing with Ched Proctor of North Sails and Viper SCOTW “CC”. Justin Scott took second with new owner & Turks & Caios Islander Jeff Lee, on an old boat, and Kay VanValkenburgh sailing with Viperette Karen Kingsbury and Viper Swim Team member David Eaves finished third.
We can’t wait to go back next year!! Don’t be surprised to see 20+ Vipers then. Send more Goslings!

-Dan Tucker, two hours out of Miami, northbound on I-95, destination, Charleston SC. Rattler, Viper 50 in tow.

Click to view slide show

Coral Reef Cup, Final Results: March 20,21,22 2009

Division: Viper (12 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Boat Skipper Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 6 7 Total
1 7/ USA- 107 Thin Ice Stu Hebb 1 1 2 1 1 4 [13/DNS] 10.00 1
2 2/ USA- 54 Doctor Who… Justin Scott / Jeff Lee 4 [13/DNF] 1 2 4 1 3 15.00 2
3 98/ USA- 98 Loqi Kay VanValkenburgh 6 5 4 [8] 5 3 2 25.00 3
4 1/ USA- 1 Somer Kempe 9 4 3 7 [11] 2 1 26.00 4
5 49/ USA- 94 USA-94 Jonathan Nye 3 2 9 5 2 5 [13/DNS] 26.00 5
6 40/ USA- 40 Minnetonka III Gary Umberger 5 10 6 3 3 [13/DNC] 13/DNC 40.00 6
7 11/ USA- 110 Black Mamba Dave Guggenheim 2 3 7 9 8 [13/DNC] 13/DNC 42.00 7
8 69/ USA- 50 Rattler Michael McClosky / Dan Tucker [11] 9 8 4 10 6 5 42.00 8
9 82/ USA- 82 USA-82 Jason Weisberg 7 8 10 6 [12] 7 4 42.00 9
10 87/ USA- 87 tbd Cliff Clark 8 7 5 12 6 [13/DNC] 13/DNC 51.00 10
11 26/ USA- 26 Cool Beans John Porter 10 6 [13/DNF] 10 7 13/DNC 13/DNC 59.00 11
12 73/ USA- 73 Slithering Michael Meissner 12 11 11 11 9 [13/DNC] 13/DNC 67.00 12


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2005-2008
(2) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts