Marcus Eagan wins Viper 640 World and North American Championships

Congratulations to Marcus Eagan, Andrew Eagan, and Jackson Benvenutti (Mandeville, LA) for winning both the Goslings 2019 Viper 640 World Championship and the 2019 Viper 640 North Americans. Hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA), the four-day Championship consisted of 13 races in atypical Long Beach conditions – light, 8-10 knots except for […]

Have been meaning to write this since after the February Sarasota event, but it seems like we need some content and as weather improves and people open up, maybe now is a good time to think about your boathandling and visualize some maneuvers. Generally there are four tips of spinnaker douses in Vipers: 1. Left hand turn (i.e., port rounding), coming in on port gybe = windward douse 2. Left hand turn, coming in on starboard gybe = gybe drop, aka "a Mexican" or a "Kiwi" (not sure on the origin of the Kiwi phrase - Mexican allegedly goes back to the 1992 America's Cup when you did this takedown when the boat was pointed toward Mexico off Point Loma, and I sincerely hope for no other reason) 3. Right hand turn (i.e., starboard rounding, when there are leeward gate marks), coming in on starboard = leeward douse 4. Right hand turn, coming in on port = "Canadian" douse (i.e., a reverse Mexican. Duly noted that this is an Amero-centric version of the universe, maybe the Aussies could call it a Singapore douse?) - i.e., a weather douse with a gybe mid-weather douse. You'd think that based on which gate you're rounding and the gybe you're coming in on would dictate the type of douse you're going to do. We typically talk about this once we're approaching 20 lengths or so from the mark what we're likely to do, bearing in mind that a last minute adjustment may be required, which is easy to do in a Viper thanks to the kite retrieval system allowing for maximum flexibility. However, we've learned in windy conditions, that when you're planning to make a left hand turn and you're coming in on starboard, a Gybe Douse just doesn't work. Yes, you need to douse. Yes, you need to gybe. But the douse of choice cannot be a gybe douse - it must be a leeward douse. We've learned this the hard way too many times and it took 10 years of Viper sailing to finally acknowledge this point on my end. Why a leeward douse? Think about your goals when rounding a leeward mark: 1. Get the kite down prior to turning upwind without putting the kite in the water; and 2. Round the mark tightly so that you can exit on a high lane to be able to have clear air post rounding and to prevent anyone behind you from being able to live in a higher lane than you and prevent you from tacking. Douses take time, and that time varies by experience level, strength of middle crew and how smooth your retrieval system runs. But from the time you start a douse (i.e., pre gybe on starboard) to when the kite is fully in the boat and all crew are ready to hike and trim in sails (i.e., when you are on port and you want your bow to be turning around the mark), maybe this takes 5 seconds from start to finish with an experienced team. I'm sure there is some joker out there who insists they've done it faster, and do that person, I would like to pull out a stopwatch and see. Just call it 5 seconds though, and we've all seen douses that have taken longer due to a snarl in the halyard or some other snafu. If you don't believe me, go check out some videos on YouTube from 2019 Worlds of douse excerpts and watch how many seconds elapse on the YouTube clock timer - I stand by 5 seconds, esp. in breeze. Anyhow, while the time for a douse may not vary much, the distance a boat travels varies by boatspeed, and in 15+ kts (my definition of heavy air in a Viper, at least in WLIS - I'm sure the SoCal and Perth Viperers are rolling their eyes), you're eating up the distance. At 12 knots of boat speed, which is about what you'll be doing in 15+ knots of wind if you've called a reasonable layline, you're traveling roughly 21 feet per second. If 10 knots of boatspeed, 17 feet per second, and if hauling the mail at 13.5 knots coming in hot, 23 feet per second - so if it will take you 5 seconds to do a douse and a gybe and be in a position to be going upwind, you're starting that douse 5 boatlengths away from the mark. And at 5 boatlengths away, you're simply not in a position to gybe yet - the gybe happens in the middle of the douse typically. So it's a leeward douse in those conditions since you're starting the douse well in advance of gybing. When do you the math, it makes sense, but it's helpful to make the mental switch and get over the fact that it simply won't be a gybe douse - it will be a leeward douse, then a gybe which will allow you to get the kite down in the time period you're expecting to be able to then complete a good gybe and be able to be in position to trim sails and round the leeward mark tightly. Doing it any other way will almost certainly result you rounding the mark wide or worse, having the kite blow around the headstay mid gybe as you realize everything is happening faster than planned. So in summary, in heavy air in a Viper, there is no such thing as a gybe drop. It's a leeward drop, then a gybe. Flame away.

Sharon Green Photos from the Goslings 2019 Viper 640 World Championship

Award-winning photographer did an absolutely superlative job capturing the color, flavor, and texture of the Goslings Viper 640 World Championship. Many have been posted in low resolution on this website and on Facebook, but if you want a photo from Sharon, simply click on this link. 2019 VIPER 640 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTOS Great images, great […]

Faces in the Crowd – Goslings Viper 640 Worlds

From 1958 to 2006, in the back of Sports Illustrated was a column of editorial called Faces in the Crowd. These started out being the super stars…but transitioned into both pro and amateur athletes who made a difference in the world of sports. In the world of sailing, particularly in the world of the Viper […]

Goslings Viper 640 World Championship – Day 3 – Moving Day!

Day three of the Goslings Viper 640 World Championship is what the sailors called “moving day.” The Catalina High was predicted to suck the air out of the race course mid-afternoon and, after two good races in 8-10 knots, the High’s effect was felt, and the third race was finished in very light conditions. With […]

Viper Worlds – Day 2 recap

The weather gods smiled on the sailors of the Goslings Viper 640 World Championship at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA). The maximum four races were run by PRO Mark Townsend in breezes that ranged from 6-8 knots for the first two heats to 10-12 for the last two. When the dust settled, it […]

“Spot” on at the Goslings Viper 640 Worlds

  When we made our travel plans to go to the Goslings Viper Worlds at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, we all knew that we’d have great sailing, great fellowship and, most likely, some good shore-side activities. Little did any of us know what was in store for us. It turns out that ABYC has a […]

LiveTiles 2020 Viper 640 North Americans powered by Goslings announced

During the Wednesday night festivities at the Goslings Viper 640 World Championship, Viper Class Association Chairman Justin Scott announced that the 2020 Viper North Americans would be hosted by Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, CT) September 26-October 4, 2020. The Championship is being sponsored by LiveTiles and supported by Goslings…so the plans are in place to […]

Have been meaning to write this since after the February Sarasota event, but it seems like we need some content and as weather improves and people open up, maybe now is a good time to think about your boathandling and visualize some maneuvers. Generally there are four tips of spinnaker douses in Vipers: 1. Left hand turn (i.e., port rounding), coming in on port gybe = windward douse 2. Left hand turn, coming in on starboard gybe = gybe drop, aka "a Mexican" or a "Kiwi" (not sure on the origin of the Kiwi phrase - Mexican allegedly goes back to the 1992 America's Cup when you did this takedown when the boat was pointed toward Mexico off Point Loma, and I sincerely hope for no other reason) 3. Right hand turn (i.e., starboard rounding, when there are leeward gate marks), coming in on starboard = leeward douse 4. Right hand turn, coming in on port = "Canadian" douse (i.e., a reverse Mexican. Duly noted that this is an Amero-centric version of the universe, maybe the Aussies could call it a Singapore douse?) - i.e., a weather douse with a gybe mid-weather douse. You'd think that based on which gate you're rounding and the gybe you're coming in on would dictate the type of douse you're going to do. We typically talk about this once we're approaching 20 lengths or so from the mark what we're likely to do, bearing in mind that a last minute adjustment may be required, which is easy to do in a Viper thanks to the kite retrieval system allowing for maximum flexibility. However, we've learned in windy conditions, that when you're planning to make a left hand turn and you're coming in on starboard, a Gybe Douse just doesn't work. Yes, you need to douse. Yes, you need to gybe. But the douse of choice cannot be a gybe douse - it must be a leeward douse. We've learned this the hard way too many times and it took 10 years of Viper sailing to finally acknowledge this point on my end. Why a leeward douse? Think about your goals when rounding a leeward mark: 1. Get the kite down prior to turning upwind without putting the kite in the water; and 2. Round the mark tightly so that you can exit on a high lane to be able to have clear air post rounding and to prevent anyone behind you from being able to live in a higher lane than you and prevent you from tacking. Douses take time, and that time varies by experience level, strength of middle crew and how smooth your retrieval system runs. But from the time you start a douse (i.e., pre gybe on starboard) to when the kite is fully in the boat and all crew are ready to hike and trim in sails (i.e., when you are on port and you want your bow to be turning around the mark), maybe this takes 5 seconds from start to finish with an experienced team. I'm sure there is some joker out there who insists they've done it faster, and do that person, I would like to pull out a stopwatch and see. Just call it 5 seconds though, and we've all seen douses that have taken longer due to a snarl in the halyard or some other snafu. If you don't believe me, go check out some videos on YouTube from 2019 Worlds of douse excerpts and watch how many seconds elapse on the YouTube clock timer - I stand by 5 seconds, esp. in breeze. Anyhow, while the time for a douse may not vary much, the distance a boat travels varies by boatspeed, and in 15+ kts (my definition of heavy air in a Viper, at least in WLIS - I'm sure the SoCal and Perth Viperers are rolling their eyes), you're eating up the distance. At 12 knots of boat speed, which is about what you'll be doing in 15+ knots of wind if you've called a reasonable layline, you're traveling roughly 21 feet per second. If 10 knots of boatspeed, 17 feet per second, and if hauling the mail at 13.5 knots coming in hot, 23 feet per second - so if it will take you 5 seconds to do a douse and a gybe and be in a position to be going upwind, you're starting that douse 5 boatlengths away from the mark. And at 5 boatlengths away, you're simply not in a position to gybe yet - the gybe happens in the middle of the douse typically. So it's a leeward douse in those conditions since you're starting the douse well in advance of gybing. When do you the math, it makes sense, but it's helpful to make the mental switch and get over the fact that it simply won't be a gybe douse - it will be a leeward douse, then a gybe which will allow you to get the kite down in the time period you're expecting to be able to then complete a good gybe and be able to be in position to trim sails and round the leeward mark tightly. Doing it any other way will almost certainly result you rounding the mark wide or worse, having the kite blow around the headstay mid gybe as you realize everything is happening faster than planned. So in summary, in heavy air in a Viper, there is no such thing as a gybe drop. It's a leeward drop, then a gybe. Flame away.

Goslings 2019 Viper 640 World Championship – Day 1 Recap — Local talent leads with very tight pack nipping at heels

Jay Golison, Steve Flam, and Eric Doyle from the host Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA) sit atop the leader board after the first three races of the Goslings 2019 Viper 640 World Championship. With a scoreline of 1-2-6, Golison and team with nine points are a slim four points ahead of 2017 Viper […]

Follow the Goslings Viper 640 Worlds

The 2019 Goslings Viper World Championship is underway! Check back to this link regularly to follow the results from the Goslings Viper 640 Worlds hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, CA. Former World and North American Champions, Olympians, and the best Viper sailors in the world will be competing. Watch the action […]

Viper PCC and Pre-Worlds in the books…Bring on the Big Show

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club to host first Viper 640 World Championship in the U.S. Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA) will be hosting the 2019 Viper 640 World Championship powered by Goslings from August 17-24, 2019. The host of the Viper’s 2014 North American Championship and the home of the world’s largest fleet of […]