Okay, this is it!  For those of you Viper sailors that are used to your boats and know what they can do, the following will be only interesting in as much as there are sailors out there like me that haven’t been exposed to the modern technology “blow your socks off” sailing excitement.  We newbies are someday going to be a threat on the racecourse but know that we will be having just as much fun as you during our learning phase…and I did not see this coming.

I have sailed and raced successfully for many years in everything from Lasers and Thistles to IOR and PHRF displacement boats in the Puget Sound, Washington area including British Columbia.  I have sailed with and against some very accomplished sailors and have enjoyed this history immensely.  I thought that the newer hull, sail and rig designs would be a gentle extension of what I had become used to.  Boy was I wrong!  This new boat has totally recaptured my imagination.  I am awestruck.  I have never been exposed to so much pure fun on the water as I have been this last week.  Boat speed is of course relative, but when you fly by boats that you have been accustom to sailing with you have to recalibrate and that in my book is FUN.

Picture is here :- http://www.flickr.com/photos/8514357@N06/4863102805/

After a full day Monday of getting a feel for my new Viper by sailing around Vashon Island (40 miles), my son and I entered our first race on Wednesday evening.  The start was on time but the boats required an extra 30 minutes to get started due to lack of wind.  Very informal and lots of friendly questions from the neighboring boats as to how we were doing way down there.  One youngster about six years old thought that we were cute and that he wanted to sail with us.  Mostly the other boats expressed admiration on the Viper’s good looks.  One young lady thought that we were sexy…cool.
After what seemed an eternity, a tiny breeze ghosted through the fleet an we were off.  Nobody moved except us.  Not fast but we were moving. Soon we had caught the start ahead of us (about 50 feet) and then we were really off.  The breeze continued to build from in front and as the knot meter climbed beyond what we thought was reasonable, our polite “gee I’m sorry that you aren’t moving yet” faces broke into, well, “is this real”.  At the weather mark which was set only about 500 yards upwind due to the light conditions, we were at 3 knots and climbing.  As we rounded the kite came up and we were off on a hard reach to the turning mark at seven knots.  A quick gybe and again we were off at 8 knots to the leeward mark on a tight reach and in perfect control.  We looked back and fast boats behind us were dropping back.  We were gone.  Drew Harper describes a perma-grin in one of his emails and now I know what that feels like.  The leeward mark takedown was completely uneventful and we marched to the finish line 20 minutes ahead of the second place boat.  I am pretty sure that our finish was not official as we haven’t received our PHRF rating certificate yet but…who cares!  This was really,really fun.
We didn’t have time to wait for many of the boats to finish as it was getting dark but those that did catch up with us (wind died again and we had no motor) wished us well and asked again and again “now, what kind of boat is that” ?  Congratulations and WHAT KIND OF BOAT IS THAT?

The OD35 was quiet…I wonder what they think.

I guess that what makes us get up in the morning with a positive, go get’em attitude is the promise of something special happening during the day or at least in the immediate future.  My son and I have that feeling of anticipation in spades.  We can’t stop talking about how much fun that evening was and how much fun future races and regattas will be.  Our crew, Dr. Mike Medley (an Oral Surgeon from Olympia) thought that this was more fun than pulling teeth.  G o   f i g u r e .
Thank you Rondar for giving us this opportunity.  And especially thank you to those who saw the Viper’s potential and ran with it.  I love this boat.