Viper 640 Snake Bytes - December 17, 2021 - Viper 640 International Class Association

It’s time to do some warm weather sailing…

 Snake Bytes
December 17, 2021


Regattas Notices and more

In today’s Snake Bytes:


With the return of Viper sailors to Florida after a pandemic-driven year’s hiatus, spirits were higher than normal.  

Some teams arrived several days early to rig, do long neglected boat work while wearing shorts, practice, and be celebrity judges for boat decorating competitions.  Others (with a strong overlap from the first group) surveyed the City to ensure that all past watering holes had survived the past 20 months. 


Wind was almost icing on top, and the forecast all week had rotated like a prize wheel spinner.  On Saturday morning, it landed on “marginal planing conditions” to the pleasant surprise of many, whose speedos saw 11+ knots of boatspeed and crystal blue waters while racing closer to shore than usual and on shorter courses thanks to Ed Furry and his use of the robotic MarkSetBots.  Ed and team managed 2 races with the breeze up despite numerous general recalls on Day 1 and the emergence of the dreaded “Uniform” and “Black” flags, a rarity in Viper racing, at least in Sarasota.  The enhanced laundry flying from the signal boat eventually achieved the desired result and another 3 races were sailed in a dying, oscillating southerly that forced the fleet to choose between right shifts and left pressure, with left pressure almost always winning out.  

Saturday night featured free beers, appetizers, an extensive Class debrief with the daily winners, and front-row seats at Sarasota’s annual holiday boat parade, as festively decorated boats of all shapes and sizes traversed New Pass past the Squadron’s seawall to start their journey downtown.  One particular highlight from the debriefs was the attendance of several teams sailing their first-ever Winter Series, including several new owners who rarely travel and who had lots of questions of more experienced fleet members – bring on the questions and the newcomers! 

Sunday morning saw a southerly hang on a bit longer than expected to hold off the sea breeze, causing a 2-hour shore postponement before two additional races to cap the series.  Defending North American Champions “NESS”, with Mark Zagol, Tim Desmond and Drew Buttner, showed they hadn’t lost a step since their win in Noroton two months prior, winning five of the seven races (a few of which involved sizeable comebacks through the top third of the fleet), with the Noroton runners-up Jay Rhame and Peter & Rachel Beardsley winning the other two to place second, a few points ahead of Jackpot, being driven by Eric Vigrass, with Eric’s sister Lisa, and stalwart Lee Shuckerow. But it wasn’t about the results – it was about getting the fleet back to Florida, sailing in shorts, drinking at the Daiquiri Deck, making new friends and reconnecting with old ones, and learning how to sail our boats better.  The fleet is looking forward to a few more newcomers joining the party in January and February  – there are many experienced Viper sailors available to crew if you want to join the fun. 




One of the many things that distinguishes the Viper Class from others is the willingness of those at the front of the pack to share their techniques with those in the middle and bottom. This happened again in Sarasota. Here are a few words of wisdom from the top 3 finishers on how their regatta went.  Hopefully you will find some hidden gems in these few paragraphs that will help you in the future.  

Here are the starts of each boat’s comments and tips. Links to the full story on the website:

1st place – NESS (#158)  Mark Zagol

  Viper Sailors…Just some thoughts from this past weekend in Sarasota on the starting line

So what goes to preparing for a good start or at least a decent start?  Here are some quick thoughts.  Read More

2nd place – Great Scott! (#269)  Peter Beardsley 

Top three takeaways for us:

1. Boat prep: I am a big boat prep guru in general and there’s a lot that I can write about this, but your keel needs to be fair and not move around in the keelbox, you can’t lose races on shore and put letters in your scoreline due to broken halyards, broken universal joints, sticky GNAV tracks, etc., and you need to understand the fundamentals of the tuning guide and how to set up the boat.  Read More

3rd place – Jackpot (294) Eric Vigrass

After traveling back home to the cold and having some time to reflect about this past weekend here are a few takeaways from the Jackpot team.

First of all, what beautiful conditions we had. Saturday was picture perfect, and Sunday lined up great for some classic light air Sarasota racing. The addition of the Markset bots was very efficient and allowed us to get lots of races in a timely manner. Read More



As much as the Viper fleet was excited about returning to our beloved sailing venue on Sarasota Bay, we also were equally excited to catch up with friends off the water for the first time in a while!  With a warm welcome from Alyssa Thomas, the new manager of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, the fleet used the club itself as our base of social as well as sailing operations.

Reflective of the willingness of Viper sailors to “go the extra mile,” the fun started with Alyssa recruiting Brian Johansen and Cole Constantineau (Meow #235) to judge the Luffing Lassies‘ boat decorating contest on Thursday morning. The Luffing Lassies is a cadrie of dozens of SSS women sailors who race Sunfish against each other. They also function as the “arms and legs” of the Squadron—a volunteer-run club. Alyssa also graciously opened the club to the fleet.  Late nights were spent in the Squadron’s clubhouse bar–Lee Shuckerow (Jackpot #294) worked to sync up the 3x Bluetooth speakers and Alyssa showed us how to operate the club bar!  The Viper Pit at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron was officially opened for business!

Many fun hijinks were had over the course of the weekend and many of us commented that our bellies hurt more from laughing than from hiking this weekend. Thanks Alyssa, thanks Squadron, and thanks Luffing Lassies.



Links to upcoming Sarasota Viper weekends

# 2 – January 15-16  Here

# 3 – February 19-20 Here

That’s right, Billy Mays, there’s a lot more Viper sailing coming up including the Arizona Yacht Club’s Birthday Regatta and the always-epic Bacardi Invitational Regatta. 

Best Christmas present EVER! Sailing in Biscayne Bay out of Coconut Grove. Super easy to get too and isolated from the hustle and bustle of Southbeach (unless you are into that sort stuff). Suggest booking your B&B early for the best prices.


AYC Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup

February 18-20

Lake Pleasant, AZ

Registration and information


We all have a pretty good handle on the people that are leading sailors in the Viper 640 Class…today, that is. But let’s look forward a few years…and then a few years further. Two quick stories and lots of congratulations due:

Sebastian Kempe is the son of longtime Bermudian Viper Sailor and now Class International Governor Somers Kempe. Anyone who follows Somers on Facebook as watch the progression of Sebs from a rock star Opti sailor to now a 29er and Laser sailor. This week, Sebs has been in Oman sailing in the Youth World Championship and, per FB, it was an legendary comeback to win the ILCA 6 Youth Worlds by a single point. Well done Sebs!

Champions to be…just a few more years down the road

Please join the class in welcoming Matt Hebert (Porkchop #166) and Eleni Asimacopolos‘ (Meow! #235) future crew to the fleet!  John Lawrence and Sophia Maria were born just before Thanksgiving, but after having both sailed in the 2021 Women’s Championship and North Americans.

They’re both eager to get out on the water soon, but will be shore crew for the time being.  Eleni is taking parenting duties for Matt when he joins the fleet for the February Sarasota event, and Matt then takes over when Eleni joins us for her favorite event:  Miami Bacardi!  Congratulations! BTW, they both participated in the 2021 Women’s Viper North Americans (invitro!)



From Communications Committee member Brian Johansen:

  Hey Everyone,

    We have some phenomenal on-water photos from the action on Saturday in Sarasota courtesy of Katherine Radcliff posted to our SmugMug account.  It’s free to look at but if you’re interested in a digital download, we are asking for five bucks to help keep the site up and running.  If you have more photos / videos that you would like to share, send me an email and we will try to get them added.



There’ still time to cast your vote HERE



It’s that time again…look for your 2022 Viper Class Dues invoice on January 1. Pro tip: If not already, change your membership to Auto Renewal and avoid the hassle.



Time is running out to order your Viper bow numbers. You can still order them HERE.



Questions or comments? 

Have a something to share? Have a question or comment? How about a great Viper photo? Contact Viper 640 Class Administrator Ed “Buttons” Padin at

Ed Padin: Viper 640 Class Administrator, Office: 914-834-8286  Address: 360 Huguenot St, #1709, New Rochelle, NY 10801, USA

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