September 15, 2015
It was challenging sailing on Western Long Island Sound off Larchmont Yacht Club today as 48 Viper 640s began racing for their 2015 North American Championship, with the leading four boats finishing the day within six points of each other. With the first race started promptly at 1100, the nor’wester of 8-10 knots provided more than its share of opportunities to gain or lose as dramatic shifts created gains that could be quickly given back. It was the host club’s Zeke Horowitz, sailing JENNY with Ian Coleman and Brendan Healy, who won the first race and maintained his fleet leadership throughout the day with a third in the second race and a tenth in the third.
The start of race 2 was delayed as the wind died and then came back as a 5-8 knot westerly that backed through the race. 2015 Viper Atlantic Coast champ Tom Loutrel (Charleston, SC) sailing with John Bowden and Karl Schutte, won the heat. The third and final race of the day with a brisker wind further to the right was taken by Viper Class Technical Committee chair Dave Nickerson (Noank, CT) with Scott Leming and Tim Desmond as crew. Three races with three different winners, 18 different boats had at least one single digit finish in the tricky and variable conditions.
As wise men say, consistency wins regattas. After Horowitz, Lawrence Crispin from England stands in second with a 7-7-2 score line. Crispin, a former Laser world champion from the UK is sailing with his son Luka and Hector Cisneros.
Standing in third is Steve Chapman (Alcove, Quebec) with Quinton Gallon and a last minute pick-up crew, Bob Monro on the helm (Wilton, CT) with finishes of 4-5-9—there’s that consistency thing again. Chapman’s third crew arrived in New York last night feeling under the weather and spent the night in a local hospital. Monro, who grew up at Larchmont Yacht Club but had no prior Viper experience stepped in as helmsman and showed that he had quickly mastered the Viper.
In fourth is four-time Viper North American Champ Brad Boston (Sarnia, ON) sailing with Curtis Florence and Luke Lawrence. Boston’s first two finishes (2-4) could have put him higher in the day’s ranking but he was OCS in the third race. After a strong comeback on a day with many opportunities, he ground it back to 14th in the race.
Day two is forecast to have similar winds in the 10-15 knot range from the northwest. These relatively light winds are atypical for this time of year on this section of the Sound but heavier winds are predicted for the final two days.
After racing, teams huddled around experts from North Sails and their regatta services team for a video and photo debrief, followed by the Class’s Annual General Meeting, dinner, a raffle, and a trivia night.
The Viper 640 North American Championship is a qualifier regatta for the EFG Viper Pan-American Championship. Also helping make this regatta a success are PwC, Bell’s Beer, Flintlock Construction, Gubinelli Wines, Rondar Raceboats, Doyle Sailmakers, Gulf Performance Sailing, North Sails, UK Sailmakers, Sail22, APS, Landfall Navigation, and JCD.