The Great Lakes Viper fleet is growing — we know the “Great Lakes” is an obscenely large geographic region with sizable travel distances, but it’s also home to some of the best sailing venues in North America: Kingston, Detroit, Sarnia, and now, Chicago. Two Vipers entered The Windy City this winter: the legendary Viper 55 moved from North Carolina to Chicago Corinthian YC, to be driven by the enthusiastic Nick Kofski, and brand new Viper 194 was acquired by former Goose Island Beer Co. chief operating officer Tony Bowker — we love all of our Viperers, but when they have excellent beverage connections, it’s possible we love some very slightly more than others. Needless to say we are really thrilled to have both of these guys in the class (especially Tony and Goose Island).
In an effort to grow the fledgling Chicago fleet, Rondar Raceboats hand delivered Tony’s new toy to the Strictly Sail boat show at Chicago’s Navy Pier Jan. 24-27 to attract prospects. Fleet growth meetings were held at Goose Island Brew Pub, and it looks like we’ll have a couple more Vipers joining Nick and Tony in the near future. Chicago will be the venue for the first stop in the newly retooled Viper Great Lakes Circuit for 2013, which begins at the Chicago NOOD June 8-9, followed by Sarnia in late June, Youngstown Levels in late July, and CORK in late August. While local fleet racing is always the goal, we hope to have good regional racing for the Viper sailors from Chicago, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Sarnia, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, and everywhere in between. Stay tuned for info about spring race clinics in Chicago.