Written by Justin Scott

This was lots of fun over the weekend.

Great little regatta. Represents everything that owning a Viper stands for. Friendly gathering. Good Racing. Forty bucks. Beer and burgers on the yacht club lawn on Saturday afternoon after racing. Race Committee that fired off four great races on Saturday afternoon and two on Sunday in time to get us in early. Great attitude among the competitors. Tight starts (one well deserved general recall!) .


Indian Harbor YC in Greenwich hosted this low key and fun event. The NOR was posted on our class forum and we recieved a cheerful email from IHYC “We don’t need advance registration, just show up with $40”.

The first gun was at 1.00pm on Saturday, which gave plenty of time for us to drive down and rig on the day . On Sunday the first gun at 11.00am and we were all done by 2.00pm, which left plenty of time to get home on Sunday afternoon. Nice thoughtful touches.

I got invited to borrow a local Viper(different boat on each day) , and I brought my owns sails along (Thanks Steve and Charles).

Twelve Vipers showed up . Four new owners/skippers who were sailing the Vipe for the first time. 11/12 have owned their boats for less than one year, which kinda shows how the class has grown around here. This makes me the “old man” of the class. And that’s a scary thought.

Three teams came along from the new fleet on Fishers Island Sound/Stonnington which is the result of the ELIS sports boat demo day last fall that was the subject of much anarchy comment on an earlier thread. – Brian from Rondar showed up on Sat’ and told us that he has sold another 5 Vipers in the last two weeks. Three in Ontario (whoopee for CORK sportsboat fleet) , one more in Texas ( Yee Hi) and the first on Lake Champlain VT.-

We all helped the newcomers rig. Then instead of competitors going to a skippers briefing, the PRO comes down to the boats at the hoist and tells us to gather round. We get a friendly Q & A session with the RC + some side bets laid among the crews and then we are off to the race course.

Saturday SW with some 10-20 degree oscillations, flooding tide. The pressure was up and down around the race course. Low end was 8-10 knots but plenty of 12 knots breeze if you went to the right place. The highest puffs for the day were in the middle afternoon where the weather buoy recorded 15 knots and we got that on a very pleasing downwind planing leg.

The starts were very tight with everyone on the line on the gun. In the first three races the most important variable on the 1st leg was to sail for pressure and search out those 12 knot puffs. At the very top 1/4 of the course it seemed to pay to come out of the left corner where there was a reasonably reliable lefty and a helpful tidal effect. That saved us a couple of times.

The windward mark roundings were tight with all the boats rounding in quick succession. There was a bit more separation on the downwind legs where the 5 or so crews which had sailed on the Viper Winter southern circuit had a better groove than those who were blowing off the cobwebs in their first sail of the season or were newcomers.

Very tight finishes among the groups. One race first four boats finished in 2 boat lengths. Middle of the fleet had some epic battles. But it was all very jovial.

Last race of the day, it was much more shifty and tactical. Bill Griffen, Chris Field and Mrs Chris served notice of what was going to come on Sunday by passing us on the last windward leg to take a very skilled win.

We put the boats away to find that IHYC had set up a keg on the lawn overlooking the sound with burgers etc. Very nice scene and not bloody bad for $40!

Sunday was more of the same, except that Dave Gurney and I sailed out of Stamford YC on a different hull (same sails). Again lots of hospitality. SYC member towed all the boats out to the race course behind a big power boat (the engines were huge so he could have towed all the Vipers in the US if he had wanted) and served drinks while we waited for the cttee to set up. Bill, Chris and Mrs Chris nailed the regatta by 2 points on the last day – well earned win, but I think every boat out there had fun.

One point of note. I liked that the Viper brings in lots of the lady crews and helms. The Viperettes were a big part of this event and that is good for our sport.

Results:- 1st Bill Griffen/Chris Field/Mrs Chris.
2nd Viper640.org + Dave Gurney (Thanks Dave -great job!)
3rd Dave Nickerson and Moise Solomon
4th Jason Weisberg
5th Hale Holden/Gregg Delany
6th Ben Steinberg (1st time out in his boat!!!!!)
7th Mat Jademec (Also first race in a Viper, borrowed but his own boat will be ready soon)
8th Brad Dumas (picked up his new boat on Friday !!!!!!!)
9th Jan Murray/Alec Rappaport
10th Paul gagne
11th Jim Shaugnessy
12th Steve Devoe

Again…thx to organizers – lots of informal fun for a spring weekend sailing in Vipers