Joe Healey picked up Viper #121 from Justin Scott less that 2 weeks before the Marblehead NOOD. He arrived at the regatta never having rigged up his new boat, never mind having sailed it before! Here’s his regatta report-
My first introduction to the Viper V40 was back in 1997 when it was chosen as Sailing Worlds Boat of the Year. Soon after I heard of a demo sail at Larchmont YC, which I went to and was very impressed with the boat. To me it seemed like the perfect combination of keel boat and dinghy. I have kept my eye on the class ever since and when the resurgence started 3 or so years ago and after watching Justin Scott on You Tube doing 18kts in Charleston. I thought to myself enough is enough and finally I was able to purchase #121 after another demo this past May.
Two weeks after purchasing Viper #121 I headed to Marblehead Race Week for three days of racing. After getting through the rigging process (which can be a little overwhelming if you haven’t rigged a Viper before) with the help of Dan Tucker and a few others, I was in the water just in time to make the first start Friday morning. The first start went off on time with clear skies and 8 to 10 kts of breeze, just right for a first time Viper sailor. I got to the weather mark in second place behind Moise Solomon I bore off set the chute and all was good? I thought to myself “boy that wasn’t so bad” and then came the jibe… well let’s just say things weren’t led right. I went from 2nd to 12th in less than 2 min. We finally got the chute sorted out and off we went sailing downwind to the leeward mark. What is so thrilling to me about this boat is how it accelerates in the puffs even with 8 to 10 kts of wind. The challenge is to sail as low as possible while still keeping up good speed and resist the temptation to heat it up to increase the smile factor.
The rest of the regatta went much the same with small improvements from race to race. At the dock over at Eastern Yacht Club, who were very gracious in letting us launch there and use the facilities, all the Viper sailors were very willing to share tips for rigging and tuning which helped enormously. The trick when you hit the dock was to put the boat away, shower and get over to the tent party at Boston YC before all the free (sort of) beer was given away. I did get my fair share! On Sunday the final day at 7 AM it was blowing 18 to 20 kts from the north and the forecast was for more of the same for the day. Ye Ha I finally get to try to break that You Tube record Justin set. I tightened the uppers, adjusted lowers and we were ready.
By the time we got to the starting line it was like Mother Nature turned off the switch. The RC, determined to get a race in, started a race in the dying northerly. After about 15 min the wind shut down completely and the race was abandoned. For about an hour we all drifted around waiting for the sea breeze to kick in which it finally did. It’s amazing the looks of envy you get from the J/24, and Sonar sailors when you sail through their lee in 5kts of breeze. The RC quickly set a windward leeward course and started the sequence. The line looked square with the wind a little left so I started middle left. About a minute after the start a huge 40 to 50 degree right shift came in and stayed. All of a sudden I was laying the mark on starboard tack. So it was a horse race to the weather mark, now a reach mark. I managed to round 3rd we bore off, set the chute and then jibed at the offset mark. It was a little close for the chute especially in the puffs since the wind had built to about 12 kts at that point. We were on the heavy side weight wise so we were one of the few that were able to hold it down and it paid as we rounded the leeward mark second. The RC moved the weather mark to the right to make it a real weather leg. We stayed right and in phase and rounded the mark in first. At this point the wind had built to about 15kts so the ride to the finish was a lot of fun especially when we got the gun. It made the ride home a lot sweeter.
Overall it was a great regatta I love the boat, learned a lot and I will be sure and come back next year. Congratulations to the top 3 – 1 Moise Solomon, 2 Daan Goedkoop, 3 Justin Scott. Thanks to my crew Andrew Graham and Doug Slocum for a job well done.
Viper #121 Live Wire
Nice job Joe and crew, particularly winning the final race of the regatta! Welcome to the Viper Class, which seems to have just gotten one boat tougher…
Charles Kaye’s new Viper, #126 was delivered in April. He flew from Arizona to Marblehead with 24 hours notice to sail his first Viper regatta! Here’s Charles’ perspective: