May 10, 2017

At the Worlds last November in Bermuda, many boats had to remove tubes or pipes attached to their headstays that can help launching and retrieving the spinnaker. While functional in reducing the loads on the spinnaker being pulled out of the launcher by the tack line or retrieved under the foot of the jib, the Class Rules did not permit these devices.

The TC is working on a rule change proposal on this issue for ratification at the October 2017 North Americans and is seeking ideas and input. Recognizing that these inexpensive adaptations may allow owners to sail their Viper more easily, and there is interest in identifying which devices work best, the TC and International Board have approved under Rule 10.13 “testing” of such devices on all Vipers through the end of September.  Rule 10.13 does not allow testing at North American championships.

A Class objective is to make performance sailing as easy and simple as possible. If there is a device out there that really works and makes the launch/dowse easier and helps avoids spinnaker rips….. let’s find it.

Experimental Rule 6.7b

  • Tubes and/or a ring may be installed near the spinnaker throat and on the forestay solely for the purpose of easing the hoisting and dowsing of the spinnaker provided that (i) there are no active bearings (ball or roller) and (ii) the device is easily removed.
  • After a period of experimentation, a proposed rule change will be developed that may mandate a single solution or may allow a range of solutions with certain size and location restraints Please ensure that any experimental device is easy to remove and inexpensive. If you think you have a particularly effective solution, please send a description to the Technical Committee (images are helpful) and feel free to share it on the Viper forums to build support for your solution. The objective is to get to a specific rule change proposal by mid-July to be voted on at the AGM.

Note: This experiment is effective immediately and is open to all Vipers until the end of September 2017. This precludes any such devices from being used at the 2017 North Americans.