September 16, 2015

Larchmont, NY

After a shifty Day 1 with light to moderate Day 1 with major wind shifts, Day 2 turned into the ideal day for racing a Viper 640 sportboat. The winds were out of the northwest as predicted, but the 8-10 knot forecast filled-in at 10-15 knots with gusts to-20. As with any fleet when the winds become brisk, the 48 boats on the line divided into the elites, the really good sailors, and those experienced sailors still learning their way around the Viper.

The top group was larger than smaller as 16 different boats scored at least one top-10 finish in the four races held. As an indication of how competitive the racing was, Day 1’s leader, Zeke Horowitz from the host Larchmont Yacht Club, won the first race of the day but then finished 15-10-11 dropping him to sixth overall. Moving into first after seven races is 4-time Viper North American Champion Brad Boston (Sarnia, ON) sailing with Curtis Florence and Luke Lawrence. They had finishes of 2-9-1-1 to move them into first with a 10-point lead over Dave Nickerson (Noank, CT.). Nickerson, however, is in a tight race as the next four boats are within seven points of him: 3rd – Australian David Chapman (Willoughby, NSW), 4th – Cardwell Potts (from the host club), 5th – Tom Loutrel (Charleston, SC), followed by Horowitz.

Another indication of how close the racing was at the top of the fleet, Nickerson’s comment when told he had moved into second place was “Really? It was great sailing, good committee work, and really challenging picking the right side of the course to sail. We had a little luck starting at the boat and it worked out well for us.”

The Championship’s PRO is renowned racer Charles “Butch” Ulmer. When asked what he thought were the best parts of today’s racing, his response was, “Watching some of the boats finishing downwind. Some of the boats were sailing at ‘Warp 8,’ they were really hauling the mail!” Ulmer, sitting with Howard McMichael who was in the mark boat, agreed that it was “Pretty amazing that with almost fifty boats on the course for four races, with many mark roundings with a lot of boats in close proximity, there was not a single protest today.”

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Photo: Howard McMichael on mark boat PUFF

Of note is that, on the signal boat as part of the Race Committee, have been George Goodall (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) and Cathy Cromartie (Fairhope, AL), current Commodore and Vice Commodore, respectively, of the Gulf Yachting Association. The GYA recently announced that the Viper 640 would become the new class of boat for their Capdevielle Series. Here to get their first “up-close and personal” look at the Vipers sailed in a Championship, Commodore Goodall commented, “It was a real pleasure of watching the Viper perform. What the Viper is going to do is pull more younger sailors into our club races, especially the Capdevielle Series.”

The Viper 640 North American Championship is a qualifier regatta for the EFG Viper Pan-American Championship. Also helping make this regatta a success are PwC, Bell’s Beer, Flintlock Construction, Gubinelli Wines, Rondar Raceboats, Doyle Sailmakers, Gulf Performance Sailing, North Sails, UK Sailmakers, Sail22, APS, Landfall Navigation, and JCD.  Results: http://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1518