Amidst snowstorms and freezing rain in the northeast U.S., 15 Viper teams made the trip south to sail in sunny conditions with green water all weekend. The Race Committee at Sarasota Sailing Squadron squeezed in 9 races in conditions that never reached more than 10 knots, with large shifts, managing the seemingly impossible as fleets at other one design regattas in Tampa and St. Petersburg a few miles north struggled to get in 3 races in similar conditions.
The hybrid Blackout Panda team of Peter Beardsley, Rachel Beardsley, and Danny Pletsch improved on their January performance, winning 6 races and scoring no worse than a second to win the event by 15 points over the Amthor-Eberwine team from Hampton YC. Blackout Panda stablemates Dragon Fire finished strong with a 3-3 to leapfrog Peter Denton’s Newport team by a point for third place.
The event also marked the conclusion of the Sarasota Winter Circuit, with an outstanding 28 races completed over 3 events in December, January and February. The circuit scored each race individually, with teams dropping their worst 30%. Blackout Panda discarded all but one of their DNCs from December to edge the Amthor-Eberwine team by five points for the circuit title, with Peter Denton’s Toriffic team finishing third, just ahead of event chair Travis Yates and his Sidewinder team, and Executive Committee member Steve Chapman from Ottawa, Ontario in fifth. The teams now prepare for two Miami March events, with the EFG Winter Cup March 1-2, and the EFG Viper 640 Pan American Championship at Miami Sailing Week March 5-7 with a record 37 teams registered. Results.