New Northeast Lipton Cup Interclub Challenge crushes it! - Viper 640 International Class Association

May 18-19, 2024

Justin Scott has done more for the Viper 640 Class over the past two decades than anyone. Now he adds to his list of credits pulling off the first major interclub regatta in the northeast corner of North America. This event was hosted by the Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, CT.

Here’s Justin’s write-up on the event:

The Lipton Challenge Cups are one of the oldest one design competitions between clubs in North America. There are three Lipton Challenge Cups, one hosted on the Gulf Coast by the Gulf Yacht Association (GYA) since 1920, one hosted on the West Coast by San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) since 1904, and the new kid on the block launched with the blessing of the GYA and SDYC is the Northeast Lipton Challenge Cup.

Altogether, 45 clubs compete in the three Lipton Challenge Cups.

Held May 18-19, the inaugural northeast edition was easily the most competitive fleet race between yacht clubs and sailing clubs in the northeast from Ontario, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and one team from Maryland.

The event was deliberately designed to be affordable and accessible so almost any club could compete and could send their very best sailors….and they did! The fleet included small clubs and large clubs, and was stacked with former Olympians, world champions, national champions and, importantly, former youth world and national champions.

As a spectator I watched some of the closest and most exciting fleet racing that I have seen in a long time. My feeling is that because we saw clubs pull their best one-design sailors from different classes, the level of competition was higher than most regional class championships…and the vibe was very special.

This was more than just a sailing competition; this was also a rendezvous event for one-design sailors in the northeast. All the sailors came from different areas and classes to compete on a common platform and socialize at the party on Saturday evening. This type of event can only do good things for the health of one-design sailing in the region.

As an aside, the oldest competitor was 73 (with multiple national championships to his name) and the youngest competitor was 10 (with an incredible Opti resume in the region). They were seen talking earnestly in the dry sailing area, and I could only wonder what words of wisdom were being passed on.

The platform was the Viper 640, but I emphasize that this was not a Viper event as such. This was clearly a club vs club event which chose the Viper as a platform. The Gulf Coast Lipton uses the same platform. The Viper is a good choice because it is light and fast enough to reward skilled sailors and good tactics but simple enough so that clubs less familiar with the Viper could climb the learning curve very quickly during practice sessions.

Every team on the podium included helms who had not driven Vipers before training for this event. It is also a fun boat to race. The Long Island Sound clubs in particular stacked their teams with 25–30-year-old former LI Sound Youth Sailing Team (LISOT) sailors and I think that only works when you give them an exciting and rewarding boat to sail.

It was a reunion for some of these sailors who had not raced against each other since college, proving there is “Life after LISOT” after all.

The format of the Northeast Lipton Challenge Cup is that each club is represented by one boat, except that the defending/host club can field two teams. Each team must include at least two helms and the helm rotates after each race. There is no boat rotation. All the teams have their own boat and are on the start line simultaneously, so with 20 clubs there are 21 boats on the start line for 8 races.

In the end it was Noroton, Cedar Point, and Corinthian that emerged as contenders, with the final three races providing a see-saw battle between Cedar Point Yacht Club and Noroton Yacht Club.

After 6 races, Cedar Point and Noroton were tied on points with Noroton winning the tie breaker. In the 7th race, Cedar Point eked out a 2 point lead. In the 8th race Noroton managed to put a boat in between themselves and Cedar Point leaving both teams tied on points again after 8 races! The count back went in favor of Noroton Yacht Club leaving them as overall winners.

Full results:

Next year’s Northeast Lipton is hosted by Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, NY. The event is open to any yacht club, sailing club, or sailing association from the Chesapeake to the Canadian Maritime provinces.