Viper 640 Snake Bytes - October 15, 2021 - Lots of regatta news! - Viper 640 International Class Association


Lots of Viper news to catch-up on!

 Snake Bytes
October 15, 2021

Zagol, Desmond, and Buttner Win North Americans

After winds, light and heavy, Mark Zagol surfs to 2021 Viper 640 North American Championship

Friday evening, at the end of the second of four days of racing, points leader Mark Zagol said, “Looking at tomorrow, we want to see how we stack-up in the big breeze that is forecast to start tonight. And, of course, we’re looking forward to the down winds.” Mark got his wish in more ways than one. After two relatively light-air days, Saturday’s Day 3 forecast called for winds from the east in the high teens with significant gusts and then building to the low-to-mid 20 knot range.

When the competitors arrived at Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, CT), winds were as forecast in the high teens and the overnight easterly had generated steep and close three-to-five-foot breaking wave sets across Long Island Sound. The first planned race of the day got off on time at 1100 as the winds and wave height continued to increase. Boats were sailing into the current upwind reporting COGs around six knots, but when they turned downwind, the speedos were showing average speeds around 15+ knots with surges well above 17-18 knots…some reporting hitting 20 knots. Mark Zagol got his wish for some exciting downwind sailing as he finished the race in second behind six-time Viper 640 North American Champion Brad Boston.

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Results  TOP

Winners: Drew Buttner, Tim Desmond, and Mark Zagol

Second place: Peter & Rachel Beardsley, and Jay Rhame.

Third place: Cardwell Potts, Meredith Killion, Jennifer Potts, and Ted Ferrarone

Fourth place: Brad Boston, Lee Shuckerow, and Eric Vigrass

Fifth place: Matt Dupry, Andrew Brennan, Max Albert, Noah Jones

Governors Cup (Over 55 helm) winners: with Peter Ill, Jim Lodico, Bill Vickers, and Tim Williams

Event co-chair Bob McHugh thanking co-chair Nancy Pearson for her contributions to the event.


Jedi Award Winner (top performance by sailor over 70): Buttons Padin

Grace Howie and Meredith Killion win inaugural Viper 640 Women’s North American Championship

After four races on Day 1 of the Championship, Grace Howie and Meredith Killion had a solid lead going into the second and final day. Sailing with Cardwell Potts and Ted Ferrarone, after the completion of six races (two on the final day), they reported a score line of 1-4-3-1-1-2, by far the most consistent performance in the 18-boat fleet whereby they threw out the fourth for a total of 8 points and a convincing win.

When the sailors left the host Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, CT) last night, today’s forecast was for very low winds. However, when the fleet arrived today, they were met with 5-6 knot breezes from the southwest which was more than enough to get in two more races. A third race, that would have been Race 7, was abandoned due to a major wind shift and conditions that turned the fleet inside out.

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Thanks Doyle Boston Sailmakers, Z Sails, and Landfall Navigation

This was the sixth time Brad Boston’s Doyle Boston Sailmakers has donated a jib to the sailor auction at the Viper NAs. This year it went to Colin Santangelo.

Z Sails, a newly approved Viper sailmaker, donated three duffle bags and Landfall Navigation shared two gift certificates for the raffle.

Thanks to all our sponsors!

Left: Brad Boston and Colin Santangelo

Top: Landfall Navigation winners Jake Vick, Event co-chair Nancy Pearson, Peter Krow/Nick Dubois

Mary Ewenson Wins Kleinschrodt Sportsmanship Trophy With Geoff’s 11 Commandments

Sail like EWE did. Live like EWE did.

One of the North American Class’s most prestigious awards is the Kleinschrodt Family Sportsmanship Award, a sterling silver pitcher donated by the Kleinschrodt Family to recognize outstanding sportsmanship and awarded at the North Americans based on nominations from competitors.  The 2021 winner was Mary Ewenson.  Apart from being a fierce but clean competitor who always has a smile and kind word, Mary kicked off the NAs by reading from the EWE Spirit 11 Commandments to “sail like EWE did.”

Thanks, Mary.

Above: Co-Chair Nancy Pearson, Mary Ewenson, NA Class President Peter Ill

Here’s what Mary shared with all of us:

Sail like EWE did. Live like EWE did.

The 11 Commandments

Why 11? Why not 10? Because this one goes to 11. That’s one more.

  1. I will commit to making sailing better for everyone.
  2. I will mentor young sailors and help them gain access to big boat sailing.
  3. I will help people in the boat park and on the dock.
  4. I will welcome new boat owners to the fleet, introduce them to other owners, and help them learn the fleet culture and how to make their new boat go better.
  5. I will learn the racing rules of sailing.
  6. I will put safety first and wear my lifejacket when I should.
  7. I will make time to connect with anyone I got into it on the racecourse with and shake their hand, buy them a beer, etc. Even if we are headed for the room, I will remember we are all out there for the same thing – to have fun – and that we just saw things differently out there.
  8. I will thank the race committee, volunteers, and sponsors and will go to the regatta party to interact with other sailors, the race committee, volunteers, and sponsors.
  9. I will fly the EWE flag (sticker, flag, etc,) to show that I sail like EWE did, and I will always be watching, ready to catch others sailing like EWE did, and when I do, I’ll thank them.
  10. I will make the EWE Spirit Foundation the primary charity to which I donate time and money.
  11. I will not forget how lucky I am to be able to sail like EWE did\

Peter Beardsley Wins Inaugural Ewenson Service Award

Class Initiates Geoff Ewenson Giving Spirit Award; Peter Beardsley First Recipient

With the unexpected passing of class stalwart Geoff Ewenson last October, an almost immediate effort began to recognize Geoff’s contributions to the Class, to sailing, and to so many of us with whom he interacted.  With the enthusiastic support and sponsorship of Harken, the North American and International Executive Committees approved the creation of the Geoff Ewenson Giving Spirit Award.  

“In honor of Geoff Ewenson, who so openly and warmly helped so many in the class.  Awarded to a person anywhere in the world who has made an outstanding sustained contribution to the Viper Class as determined by a selection committee chosen by the IACP and the NACP.  The Awardee could be a competitor, someone working on the Class, or someone who is neither but who makes a significant difference in promoting the class and its culture.  Nominations can be made by any class member not later than 60 days prior to the World Championships or the North American Championships being held that year, whichever occurs first.  Can be awarded annually but is not required to be given in any certain year.   Trophy is to be presented at the World’s or North American’s, as determined by the selection committee that year.”

This year’s selection committee included Steve Chapman, International Class President, Peter Ill, North American Class President, and Mary Ewenson, Executive Committee Member.  

Peter Beardsley is a name almost all Viper sailors know.  He has welcomed so many of us into the class.  He has freely assisted any and all in boat handling, tactics, maintenance, sails, rigging, tuning, acquiring boats, and more.  He has taken multiple current skippers and multiple prospects racing on his boats.  Perhaps most noteworthy, he has openly and enthusiastically promoted participation and racing in the class all across the country via email, via the forum, via word of mouth, and just by showing up – by sailing in more Viper regattas in more places around the country than any of us.


Thanks Noroton, Here We Come Gulfport, Nepean, Alamitos, and Hampton

Future North American Championship Locations

2022: Gulfport (MS) Yacht Club
Women’s and Youth (20 and under) October 15 – 16
North Americans – October 19 – 23

2023: Nepean Yacht Club (Nepean, ON) – Fall

2024: Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA) – Fall

2025: Hampton Yacht Club (Hampton, VA)


Who Says Old Boats Aren’t Competitive?

Old Vipers still have new tricks 

Two of the top three boats at the 2021 North Americans were in their 11th year of salt water immersion, Mark III Vipers skippered by Mark Zagol (158) and Cardwell Potts/Ted Ferrarone (163).  These are Vipers with top and bottom cassettes, small cockpit lockers, aggressive non-skid, and plenty of years of life left in them, even though many Vipers of this vintage have been sold recently for as little as $10k.  Their success is proof that you do not need a brand new Viper to be competitive, but there are some tips for how to optimize performance in these boats. 

The main thing to watch for in Vipers with top cassettes is a firm fit throughout the cassettes with the keel to avoid having any play in the system, which improves durability and reliability so that the top cassette does not come loose in a wave.  Both 158 and 163 as northeast Vipers happened to have had that work done by Lars Guck’s speedshop in Rhode Island several years ago and have not had any issues with their cassettes since.  A speedshop is not necessary if you are handy at boat work – there are detailed instructions for how to do this work posted in the Viper Forums at  

There are also general maintenance tips to look for with any older Viper to ensure that you have the most reliable equipment – clearly these boats when set up to a sailmaker’s tuning guide with good sails and an experienced team can go as fast or faster than any other Viper, but ensuring that you don’t have an unexpected gear failure when sailing in 20 knots of wind is important to the success of any boat, especially an 11-year old Viper.  163 found this out the hard way on the final run of the last race of the NAs when their spreader bracket crumbled.  Through some deft boat handling and a bit of luck, they were able to douse the kite without losing the mast and cross the finish line in one piece to save their podium spot, but an inspection of the rig afterward revealed that newer Vipers have more robust spreader brackets and beefier spreaders – none of which are “faster” but both of which are “more reliable”.

Consider making these upgrades in the offseason and calling Rondar Parts if needed, and make sure there is no corrosion around your spreader rivets or shroud swages.


Class and Constitution Rules Changes


  1. A quorum was not achieved in the electronic vote on the changes
  2. The changes were not submitted far enough in advance prior to the electronic vote to the membership
  3. Further input has been received, particularly on the language around the keels and the scribe lines

it was decided to start the process over for considering these changes.  The Class Rules changes will go back to the Technical Committee for further discussion and review.  Once the Technical Committee agrees on final language, this will be submitted to the International Executive Committee and the North American Executive Committee for comment.  The changes will then be presented to the entire class membership via an electronic vote.  If you have any thoughts or comments on the proposed changes, please get them to the Technical Committee.  


Viper Sailing on the Gulf Coast

The Wadewitz Regatta, held on September 25-26 and hosted by Fairhope (AL) Yacht Club, brought twelve Capdevielle Vipers and one Open Viper to the waters of Mobile Bay. Conditions for the event ranged from miserable and challenging (at least from the PRO’s point-of-view) to some really competitive sailing on the bay. Three races were conducted on Saturday but only one on Sunday due to a dying breeze. Buccaneer Yacht Club won the event, followed by Pensacola and Southern yachts clubs who took second and third places, respectively. The highlight of the weekend was GYA Past Commodore Harry Chapman (Below – Bay Waveland Yacht Club), at 89-years-young, steering his first Viper event, with crew Clinton Edwards and Mary Ellen Edwards. Commodore Chapman, it is believed, is the only skipper to steer in a Capdevielle competition in all three Capdeville boats – the Fish Class sloop, the Flying Scot, and now the Viper 640. Great job Commodore Chapman!

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Commodore Chapman driving a Viper 640 at 89!

Parts Update

Viper parts are available in the US!  Tyler Moore has taken on the role of operating Rondar North America and is now stocking Viper parts in his warehouse in Hampton Virginia.  Like so many supply chains, we have some holes, but Tyler has a lot of parts.  For instance he currently has in stock in his warehouse:

  • Four complete masts
  • Upper and lower shrouds
  • Headstays
  • Keel Cassettes
  • Padded toe straps
  • Bow caps
  • Lifting bridles
  • Spinnaker Bars
  • 10 MM Pintles
  • Keel bolts
  • Mast steps
  • GNAV Strut end caps
  • Boom inboard and outboard fittings
  • Masthead fitting
  • Spreaders
  • Spreader brackets
  • Boom
  • Bennett Sprit Poles

All of this can be viewed and purchased on: 

Tyler also has two essentially brand new boats (both used only once) for sale: 298 and 315.  They are sitting in his shop in Hampton, ready to go out the door.  With the success of NA’s, there has been lots of interest. 

Tyler Moore

Warehouse Manager

Rondar Raceboats USA

4304 Kecoughtan Rd

Hampton, VA 23669


Sarasota Is On and Filling Up Fast

Sarasota Winter Series Update –

The Sarasota Sailing Squadron and I are both very much looking forward to getting Vipers back down on Sarasota Bay again this winter! Life is good down here in the Florida sun, and the Sailing Squadron is thriving post COVID with a record number of new full-time active members/fleets, and the secret is certainly out about how great it is to sail down here in the winter. 

The most significant changes in the face of the Winter Series this year are the 50 boat per-event cap that is in place (25 spots for Viper and 25 spots for VX Ones are being held) and the fact that storage space on property will be at a premium. At press time for this Snake Bytes issue, 5 days after registration opened up, the VX One fleet as 28 boats registered for December, 38 boats registered for January, and 32 boats registered for February…. so that fleet already has a waitlist for all three events! There is still room for more Vipers as we have 19 boats registered for December/ January and 19 for February. If you, or someone you know, has plans to enjoy some Sarasota sailing this winter, please register now so we can have a spot for you on the start line! I put in the NOR that we would wait until 14 days before an event to re-allocate spots from one fleet to another, yet that may get re-calculated earlier if the demand in the Viper fleet is not there this winter… to allow for waitlisted VX One teams to properly plan for transport and housing. 


Regarding storage between events, the Squadron is experiencing a crunch of boatyard space due to increased membership. This may limit mast-up storage between events. Other mast-down options are in the works, and both classes are working on making this as turnkey as possible. But don’t let this worry you…register now and stay tuned for storage updates.


Looking forward to seeing many of your down here again, Travis

Travis Yates


Going Back to Miami

The Bacardi Invitational Regatta is on from March 9-12. Arguably one of the finest venues to sail at, thanks to Bacardi it has (no argument) the best social events of the year.

The Viper Class will do this a bit differently this year – no Winter Cup the weekend before. However, if there is sufficient interest, we will still run the Miami Scorch on Tuesday March 8, a fun race to No Name Harbour on Key Biscayne, followed by lunch at the Boater’s Grill. Expect on-the-water training on the Wednesday followed by 3 days of racing.

Register here:

Event website here:


Viper 640 Class photos now available on SmugMug photo sharing app

Like every great family, Viperers take lots of pictures!  We take pictures of our boats, our friends, the incredible sailing and even take pictures of Meow’s (#235) various kites.  With all these photos we have finally figured out a way to organize and share using SmugMug


We are hoping to be able to go back through the decade to compile photos from various regattas and eventually link them to the site.  However, for the short term we hope to be posting a link next week for the Women’s NA’s and NA’s


Now for the not-so-good news, but still okay news, all the thumbnails will have a watermark from the photographer who took them (because let’s face it, everyone deserves a little credit) and if you would like to download a high resolution copy for your personal use there will be a fee of 5 bucks and the watermark will be removed.  The 5 bucks goes to paying for the site and what we can get out of it for now.  By all means, any questions or comments feel free to email Brian Johansen at   More to follow in the coming months if this all goes well!!  


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: 18 Normandy Lane, New Rochelle, NY 10804
Viper 640 Class Association Website:   
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