Written by David Guggenheim

Viper 640 – 2009 North American Championships – Checklist

We are looking forward to seeing you all next month at The Viper NAs. Stamford YC and Indian Harbor YC have laid on a great event for us. Your Class Association wants to make this a fun event for every single competitor. A number of folks have asked us if they could have a simple checklist ahead of the event so that they could check their boats to make sure they are rule compliant before pulling up in Stamford. We are happy to do this. We have tried to keep it short. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive measurement certificate, just a list of some of the more obvious items to check to make sure you are in compliance with the class rules.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Technical Committee by emailing DavidGugg@aol.com.  We are here to help. The Technical Committee don’t view themselves as a “police force”. Although we are charged with enforcing the rules, we see our role as a resource to help the class owners.

Here are a few simple guidelines…

The Rules have three separate sections that are relevant to owners.

Part A is the “Fundamental Rule”. It states quite simply that you cannot change anything on the boat from the way it was originally supplied by the builder unless it is specifically allowed in Part B.

Part B lists the specifications for all components that are not supplied by the builder, eg. sails, and specifies any changes that are allowed from builder supplied boats. It also lists a few specific prohibitions and additional requirements that have to be made to builder supplied boats.

Owners don’t really have to concern themselves with Part C, unless there is anyone who thinks they have a boat that was not built either by Rondar or Performance Boats.

Part D lists any “interpretations” issued by the Technical Committee. They are mercifully few.

Here is a simple rule of thumb. If you are thinking of changing something to your boat, STOP! Look through Part B of the rules. If you cannot see a paragraph allowing the change – it will probably make your boat non-compliant. If you have any questions, the class technical committee is here to help. If the change has any impact on performance or boat handling, it will have to be addressed prior to racing at the NAs.

The most common modifications allowed to the boat are; split tail mainsheet, GNAV, Cunningham.

Here is a check List:-

1.)    Sails:  RULE 7.8.1, 7.8.2, 7.8.3. Inventory, one suit of sails per year. Date of acquisition is date that the sails were first used for racing. See rules for exemption for newly acquired boat. Sails must be manufactured by class approved sail maker.
2.)    Sail Number. You need a sail number corresponding with your boat number on the mainsail. You do not need a sail number on your spinnaker , but you are welcome to have one. If you are borrowing a boat but bringing your own sails, please notify tech cttee who can approve this.
3.)    Mast bands. Please check rule 4.4 to make sure you have mast bands.
4.)    Spreaders. All the tuning guides recommend max sweep for the spreaders. At the very least you should comply with rule 4.5, but we recommend more sweep than the class minimum for speed and also rig security.
5.)    Block Size and Type. Size of blocks must be same as used by builders. Eg all blocks for mainsheet system must be between 40mm and 60 mm. A fiddle block on the boom may replace two single blocks as some original boats had this configuration. RULE 6.3 A single fixed block fastened to the deck cannot replace a fixed bridle and block for mainsheet. RULE 6.3. The mainsheet must be attached to a bridle.
6.)    Max headstay lengths should be checked. RULE 5.1
7.)    Additional hardware to assist pulling mast forward at the partners is not allowed. Only hardware as located by the builder is acceptable.  RULE 4.11
8.)    Turnbuckles only as allowed by rules RULE 5.3
9.)    Halyard and sheet diameters per rules. RULE 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7
10.)    Purchase systems for GNAV RULE 6.4
11.)    Safety lines under the Gunwhales. RULE 9.2
12.)    PFDs. Every crew member shall wear a pfd. No exceptions.

If there are any questions in regard to whether or not your individual boat is in compliance with the current set of rules, please contact the technical committee at least 1 week prior to the NA’s in order to give us time to review and decide on whether an allowance will be made for your specific deviation or modification. Please provide sufficient facts describing your situation.

One of the attractions of the Viper for most owners is that the class rules are very straightforward and that the boat is genuinely one design. The Viper philosophy incorporated in the rules is that we want to go sailing, not waste time fiddling with boats. We want to make high performance sailing easy and accessible. We want to win races on the water using our skill, not by trying to find a way to change our boats that will give us an advantage. The Class Rules are written to prevent any changes from the standard boat that might affect performance, so that on the water each boat is the same. The few changes to the standard boat that are allowed are minor and only to allow for a few options that make racing the Viper more comfortable and enjoyable.

Good Luck, have a great time.
David Guggenheim
Technical Chair