While the New England region has always technically included Connecticut, when the Viper fleet thinks “New England”, they usually think first of the Newport Bridge and drinking on the wharves, or late nights at Maddie’s Sail Loft in Marblehead after a day of sailing on the Tinker’s Line. In 2013, the class asked everyone to travel into the southwest corner of the region to Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, one of the best one-design clubs in the country, and home to a growing one-design regatta in early June. Throw in the desire of a couple of CPYC members to get Vipers, and making Cedar Point the site of this year’s New England Championship became a no brainer. Good decision too.
Cedar Point is like the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club of the northeast, or the Severn Sailing Association of Connecticut. It’s a giant drysail area, hoists, ramps, no tennis courts, no pool, a modest but nearly ideal clubhouse for sailors, and a lot of boats. In 2013, those boats now include Vipers, as CPYC member Bill Walker bought Viper 201 and Bob McHugh moved 81 from nearby Black Rock YC a few miles down I-95. Vipers helped make the 2013 edition of the Cedar Point One Design Regatta the largest yet by a longshot, with nearly 90 boats competing in 8 classes, and the 26-boat strong Viper division being the largest of the bunch. Saturday morning started with light wind, and teams who dug hard into the left found the building southerly. By Race 3, the breeze had settled in around 10 knots, making it to 12-13 knots for Races 4 and 5. Five different teams won races on the day, and 11 different boats scored at least one top-three finish on the day. Racing was tight and competitors were anxious, causing the RC to hang all sorts of laundry, including the Z flag by Race 2, which flew the rest of the regatta.
Saturday night brought a half dozen kegs under the tent, a large gear truck from Coral Reef with free regatta t-shirts, a free regatta raffle with lots of prizes and gift certificates donated by sponsors, and all the pasta, meatballs, chicken, salad and cookies you could eat, catered by legendary local supermarket Stew Leonard’s. There may also have been a mysterious witch’s brew consumed from a gas can that despite its dubious origins, did little to slow the leaders come Sunday. A very light breeze built to a 10-12 kt southerly by the first warning to allow for three more races. The top of the fleet saw a battle of the Olympians, with past Class President Justin Scott finding 2000 470 silver medallist Bob Merrick on a crew board of all places to duke it out with the talented Olympian husband-wife duo of Barry & Sue Parkin, with son Jack driving some races Saturday along with co-owner John Logue. The Mambo Kings dodged a bullet from Pink Storm in the first race of the day, pushing their Riverside YC teammates back in the pack in Race 7 to clinch the regatta. Despite a final-race Z-flag, Joe Healey, Chris Simon and Ben Parker on Live Wire hung on for third over a trio of hard-charging Larchmont YC teams. Results.
18 teams hailed from the growing Western Long Island Sound fleet, which expects to have many more double-digit turnouts for local events in 2013. The next big WLIS Viper event will be July 6-7 at American YC’s Independence Day Regatta, where the bulk of the 13-boat Larchmont YC Viper fleet plans to attend, along with many of the Western CT Vipers, followed by the Atlantic Coast Championship in Newport July 12-14, which should draw over 30 Vipers.
Video of the first windward mark rounding on Sunday: