Jimmy Praley, Austin Powers, and Max Vinocur take ’24 ACC - Viper 640 International Class Association


This has been an impressive 12 months for Jimmy Praley, Austin Powers, and Max Vinocur and their Team Robot Flamingo. In September, the three won the ’23 North American Championship. Then, over the winter, they were on top for the Sarasota Sailing Squadron’s Viper Winter Series. Now, this past weekend, they turned in a dominating performance in Annapolis winning the ’24 Atlantic Coast Championship sailed as part of the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series. Over the May 5-3 weekend, the Vipers competed in nine races…four of which Robot Flamingo won.

Jimmy, Max, and Austin came out of the blocks fast on Friday taking the first race and holding onto the lead through the regatta with all but two finishes in the top-3 for this no-throw-out event.

In the mix throughout the weekend, Glory Days, sailed by Jay Rhame and Rachel & Peter Beardsley, finished in second, five points out of first. They were also very consistent with their worst races being an eight and two fifths having won Race 7 and getting four seconds. Finishing third but nipping at the heals of the leaders were Travis Yates, Dave Hillmyer, and Jeff Eber from Sarasota whose only non-top-five came in the last race. Nipping at Travis’ heels were Peter Ill (Hampton, VA), Ryan Dempsey, and Dwight Leblanc finishing fourth just 3.5 point out of third.

The fleet of 27 Vipers came to race in moderate winds with chilly, damp temperatures. While you can’t predict the weather, you can always predict there will be close racing throughout the fleet. For example, there was a tie for 6th and 7th. Then, finishes 9 – 11 were separated by three points, and that level of close racing kept the entire fleet competitive.

When asked about the weekend, Jimmy Praley had the following to share:

This weekend was great. The breeze was easterly, which is very strange from Annapolis. We saw everything from light and flukey with massive shifts, to planning conditions downwind. With 24 competitive teams, and no drops, it was an exciting three days on the Bay.

Almost all the races were super close with teams routinely finishing neck-and-neck. It seemed like everyone out there was up-to-speed and could easily have a top-5 finish.

As always, Mary Ewenson as our “event chair,” was the stalwart. She organized pre-regatta storage for out-of-town folks and made sure EYC was ready to host 23 of the 24 boats, all while rigging her new (to her) boat. Jamie Fontanella put together a party for everyone on Saturday night and, while I unfortunately could not attend, I understand that there was a pretty epic fire show by Wilson Stout.

On the water there was some carnage with two or more Vipers taking a beating. Just a reminder that while we are sailing close, we need to be careful since one wrong move can take someone out of the event for good.

The top four teams were all factors on the last day. Glory Days and Sidewinder almost took over the lead after we botched the seventh race on the final day. On Race 8, with three boats vying for the top spot, we kept our race sequence normal and were able to capitalize on our downwind speed to seal it.

Well sailed, all. Now it’s back home and checking the Viper schedule for the next race!


Full results