Viper 640 Snake Bytes - Hunkering Down - April 7, 2020 - Viper 640 International Class Association

Hunkered down and waiting to go back to sea again!

 Snake Bytes
April 7, 2020

Reality Check

As we all hunker down, self-quarantine, and practice social distancing, one of the trickle-down effects of this new norm is that regattas are being cancelled or rescheduled right and left. Organizing Authorities are encouraged to continue their planning processes and not to cancel events any sooner than necessary. Sailors, likewise, are encouraged to keep making plans to participate in regattas in hope that the lights at the end of the Covid tunnel aren’t a train but rather red and green bow lights of a race committee boat.

If you have a regatta on the Viper schedule and need to update its status, please email Buttons Padin so he can keep the Class events calendar as up-to-date as possible.


What a difference a month makes!

Exactly four weeks ago we were packing up the Viper at the end of another fantastic Bacardi Invitational Regatta. Life seemed good, the sailing on Biscayne Bay was excellent, the winds superb giving us a wide range of conditions and the camaraderie at the Bacardi bar unforgettable. That now seems so long ago…..

We were hosted at Biscayne Bay Yacht Club making logistics very easy. We had a great turn-out from the GYA, including two youth boats from Gulfport Yacht Club organized by Sam Vasquez. These youngsters put on an impressive show of sailing skills, clearly giving many of the old-timers a run for their money!

The week began with the Winter Cup where a small group of 5 boats sailed 8 races Monday and Tuesday in ideal conditions.  Anthony O’Leary, sailing with his son Nicholas and friend Ben Field, won the Cup in a dominating fashion. Special thanks to Buttons Padin for running this event and to Anthony O’Leary for offering his rib to assist the RC.

On Wednesday, the Viper Scorch was the event of the day, a fun race sailed across Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbor where we met at The Boater’s Grill ( for lunch, a few beers, and then a fun race back to Coconut Grove. This was one of the highlights of the week.

The main event started with champagne conditions, 12-14 kts., but finished with a good blow on Saturday (20-22 kts.) testing our hiking muscles and boat handling skills. This was a very competitive fleet with six different boats posting bullets in the eight races. We welcomed Will Graves, the new owner of 293 from Noroton, sailing with Ryan Cox and Greg Dair. Will put on an impressive clinic on consistency, winning his first major Viper regatta. Geoff & Mary Ewenson, along with Tyler Bjorn, finished 2nd and Mark Zagol, sailing with Tim Desmond and Arielle Darrow finished 3rd. Overall results HERE.

The Bacardi event was the last event before the Covid-19 crisis has forced us to stay at home. With health authorities putting “shelter-in-place” or stay at home orders in place, parks and sports facilities now closed, and, in many places, recreational boating is now temporarily banned. We are now looking forward to “flattening the curve” while cheering on our front line health care workers as they battle to manage this difficult pandemic.

I hope that all of you will stay safe, practice physical distancing, and listen to your public health officials. Only by being smart about this will we be able to get back the water soon and enjoy the sport that we love.

Steve Chapman
North American President
Viper 640 Class Association



The Viper 640 Class is lucky that we have two opportunities this week to help keep our heads in the game. Mark your calendars, register if asked, and let’s all get together in the virtual boat park twice this week.

Opportunity #1

Wednesday, 4/8 at 4:00 EDT
North One-Design presents:


The Latest Speed & Tuning Tips

While we are all in the same boat waiting to go sailing, join Viper 640 Class Experts Jackson BenvenuttiAustin Powers and Zeke Horowitz for an informal web talk on Wednesday, April 8th at 1600 EDT. This interactive session will include the latest speed and tuning tips to make the Viper go fast.

Grab a comfortable seat, a drink, and don’t forget to bring your questions. 

Register for this webinar HERE.

Opportunity #2

Friday, 4/10 at 5:00 EDTSpinSheet Magazine presents:


Join Team SpinSheet for happy hour Friday night with Viper class stalwarts Brad Boston, Eleni Asimacopoulos, Jackson Benvenutti and Geoff Ewenson. Grab your favorite beverage and tune it at 5:00 eastern to find out what makes this class tick twenty-plus years after the first Viper 640 hit the water. Whether you’re a Viper sailor, interested in becoming a Viper sailor, or looking to grow your favorite one-design fleet, this is how you should start your weekend. See you there!

Save this link in your calendar and click on it when it’s time to join the call:



The following comes from
Rondar’s Paul Young

To our Viper Friends around the globe, we sincerely hope that you and your families stay safe throughout these testing times. In line with Government requirements, Rondar has shut down its building operations for the first time in at least 30 years, and probably longer. The staff and I are locked down at home and not sure when we will be allowed to start producing boats again or how much of the season will be left when we do. 

The good news is that over on our side of the pond, our Spanish friends in Palma have been locked down for longer than we have. Mainland Spain has been hard hit, but fortunately Mallorca looks to have escaped the worst. Our friends in Perth and Sydney also seem to be weathering the outbreak, thank goodness.

On the upside, we were progressing well with updates to the Viper molds before we stopped, and look forward to getting them back into production when we resume working.We hope that the Noroton NA’s will be a good chance to get Viper sailing back to normal. I look forward to catching up with everyone there. 

Stay Safe, 

Paul Young.



As we are largely living and working full time at home, sometimes we need some diversions from our daily routines. Here are some diversionary suggestions from your faithful Class Administrator:  

1. Binge watch the 8-part Hornblower TV Series

Impeccably produced by Meridian Television in the UK, this British historical fiction war television series is based on three of C.S. Forester’s ten novels about the fictional character Horatio Hornblower, a Royal Navy officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. A young Ioan Gruffudd is a very credible Hornblower.

Regardless if you’ve read the books, or even the Patrick O’Brien series, you’ll love this series. It’s Master and Commander in the long form. 

Just so you know, I watched the entire series when it came out 20 years ago and stopped mid-way through writing this Snake Bytes to re-watch a few episodes.

NOTE: Watch them in order.

Series Trailer and individual episode links to all episodes HERE

2. Spectacular Maritime Book

Into the Raging Sea

Rachel Slade’s riveting narrative of the sinking of the container ship El Faro in October 2015. Slade’s story also gives you a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the shipping industry.

Hard copy HERE
Audio book HERE

3. Great Vintage Sailing Movie

Hot Yachts Cold Water

Warren Miller film…yes, that Warren Miller! Spectacular 70s-80s vintage footage…mostly west coast.
Click HERE

4. Best sailing video EVER!

The Samurai Douse

Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men re-imagined on the bow.  

Epic sailing quotes:

“You’re pretty big for a bowman.”
“It’s a big boat, missy!”

“The bowman always gets the girl.”

Click HERE

Editor’s Note: The cast members are all buddies of Viper Tech Com Chair Dave Nickerson. Filmed at The Seahorse in Noank, CT, where Dave lives.

5. Sailing Movies Galore

Here’s a curated list of sailing movies suggested by Craig Leweck of Scuttlebutt followed by a link to his list of go-to sailing books;

Adrift (2018)
Around Cape Horn
Billy Budd
Captains Courageous
Captain Ron
Coyote: The Mike Plant Story
DRUM: An Extraordinary Adventure
Following Seas
Horatio Hornblower (Gregory Peck)
Joshua Slocum: The First Man To Sail Around The World
Maiden (2019)
Maiden Voyage
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)Morning Light
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
The Bounty
The Cruel Sea
The Great Clipper Race
The Perfect Storm
The Weekend Sailor
White Squall
Wind (1992)

If you’re looking for other ways to keep yourself entertained, make sure to read Scuttlebutt’s guide on the best sailing books.

If you have any interesting “diversions” to share, send them to Buttons Padin for posting in the future.


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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