Viper 640 Snake Bytes - October 31, 2022 - Viper 640 International Class Association

 Snake Bytes
October 31, 2022


If you weren’t in Mississippi two weekends ago, you missed it! The GYA and Gulfport Yacht Club pulled out all the stops in hosting three great North American Championships.  Rachel Beardsley and crew (Women), Michael Burns and crew (Youth), and Jackson Benvenutti and crew (Open) walked away as new North American Champions.  The Open saw 13 races over four days with no protests, great debriefs, and extremely tight competition.  

International President Steve Champman showed off his newly arrived CAN 328, fresh off the manufacturing line of Rondar and delivered roro to Halifax, Nova Scotia, last week along with two other boats.  Four new boats are expected to the U.S. in the next couple of weeks. Finally, Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans is gearing up to host us for a Winter series one weekend each in December, January, February, and March, in preparation for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Worlds in late March. Details, links, breakout, photos, videos are all below. 


Above: Rachel Beardsley Below: Mike Burns

GYC PRO Steve Nolte got in a full schedule of eight races over the two days commenting, “The sailors came to sail and we had the time and ideal conditions for a final race today…so we went for it. It didn’t change any of the finishing positions, but the sailors got to spend another hour racing in today’s ideal conditions of 7-10 knots.” Conditions for the regatta tended to be in the 5-7 knot range with only the final heat seeing 9-10 knots on the course.

Rachel Beardsley (Shelter Island, NY) raced with her husband Peter, and their boat partner Jay Rhame. Rachel started the regatta with a third and that ended-up as her throw out. From there was a string of four firsts and three seconds. Rachel’s take on her Championship win was, “The key to our success was that we have been sailing together for years as a team. We know how to communicate effectively with one another, and we are dialed into the boat’s tuning. We caught a few shifts that proved advantageous for us, and we were cognizant of the tidal flow. We appreciated the hospitality of Gulfport Yacht Club, which had a top-notch Race Committee.  It was really fun to sail in such a competitive fleet.  We’re grateful to the Viper Class for supporting women’s events, and we look forward to sailing in future women’s regional, national, and world championships.”

In second for the Women’s was GYC sailor Ali Ware followed by Cam Farrah (Ft. Walton Beach, FL).

Michael Burns (Pass Christian, MS) walked away with the Youth title after four firsts and two seconds. In second was Connor Fanberg (Bay St. Louis, MS) followed by Court Salloum of GYC.

Read full story HERE.

Video race recaps:

Results: HERE




Jackson Benvenutti, Andrew Eagan, Chris Alexander

Left: Jackson, Andrew, and Chris. Above: Jackson in the lead

Drew Buttner, Mark Zagol,
Tim Desmond

Peter Beardsley, Rachel Beardsley,.
Jay Rhame

The Viper 640 Class held its North Americans October 20-23. Over the four days, a total of 13 races were run in conditions that ranged from 4-5 knots on the first two days to 10 – 14 knots on the final two. In the end, Jackson Benvenutti, Andrew Eagan, and Chris Alexander (USA 296) walked away with the championship.

Brian Johansen’s video HERE

Over the first two days, Benvenutti’s team was flawless scoring seven consecutive wins. Over the last two, they added two more ending with 19 points with nine bullets, a second, and two fourths. With the leader “over the horizon” points wise, the keenest competition was for the other top podium spots. Going into the final day, there were four points between Mark Zagol (USA 158) in second, Mareck Zaleski, his father Chris, and Jacob Bradt (USA 237) in third and Jay Rhame/Peter & Rachel Beardsley (USA 269) in fourth. Extremely tight racing ensued over the final two days with positions on the racecourse and on the leaderboard changing every race. In the end, Rhame/Beardsley nipped Team Z and took third. Local GYC sailor Sam Hopkins finished fifth and was the top Master. Zagol’s team took home the top Corinthian trophy for the second consecutive year.

Read full story HERE.

Results: HERE 

Replays of Facebook Live broadcasts: HERE 



Jackson, Andrew, and Chris continued their willing ways this past weekend winning the US Sailing Adult Championship at Bay Waveland Yacht Club. Congratulations, guys. And Zach Fienberg, sailing with Sarah Taylor and Eugene Schmitt (fourth place finishers at the previous weekend’s NAs) finished second. A great showing for these Viper sailors racing borrowed Vipers.  More info HERE.

BTW, in a gesture of Viper 640 Spirit, the class bought a keg of beer for the Adult Champ sailors each night!!!



Anyone that has been to a major (and even minor) Viper regatta knows that after sailing there is usually a sailor debrief. As Peter Beardsley, debrief moderator supreme noted, “Not every class’s sailors are willing to share their secrets for set-up, speed, and tactics. That’s definitely NOT the case with the Viper 640 Class!”

Each day at the NAs, Peter and sponsor North Sails’s Jackson Benvenutti lead sailor debriefs lasting about 30 minutes. During these open and frank conversations, the day’s leaders shared how their boats were set-up, why they picked the left or right side of the course, weight positions and why, and even subtle boat/sail handling tips.

Going forward, we will endeavor to record and post debriefs. We will also work to create one-on-one conversations with key Viper sailors via Zoom recordings that we can post for everyone to review. And, if you have a particular topic you’d like to know more about from “someone who will know,” shoot a note to Class Administrator Buttons Padin and he’ll reach out to the right person, record the conversation, and share it. The more we all know…the better we sail our Vipers…the more fun we have!

The debrief from Day 1 of the NAs is available to review HERE.



Throughout both weekends of sailing, Class Admin Buttons Padin was on the mark/finish boat taking Facebook Live videos of every start, gate rounding, and finish. On the final weekend, Cathy Cromartie joined with windward mark coverage.

Over the two weekends, and the days following the events, the Viper 640 Facebook Live feed included 110 individual segments reaching over 22,000 people around the world with real-time news and information from the racecourse. If you haven’t seen any of that footage, go HERE.



There is a lot of Viper sailing to be done this winter. With the Sarasota Viper Winter Series and Bacardi Miami Invitational Regattas on hold for a year, Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans has stepped up with four Pre-Worlds events, one each month starting in December with the March event immediately preceding their hosting of the Allstate Sugar Bowl 2023 Viper 640 World Championships (Open, Women’s, and Youth).

There are currently 24 entries for the open Worlds and everyone is encouraged to register sooner than later. The same for the Women’s and Youth Worlds whose sign-ups have yet to gather traction. Here are the race day schedules and registration links for all six upcoming SYC events:

SYC Winter Series #1 – December 10-11 – Info and Registration

SYC Winter Series #2 – January 7-8 – Info and Registration

SYC Winter Series #3 – February 4 – 5, 2023 – Info and Registration

SYC Winter Series #4 – March 4 – 5, 2023 – Info and Registration

Women’s & Youth Worlds– March 25-26 – Info and Registration

Viper Worlds – March 27-31 – Info and Registration




SYC Worlds Event Chair Mamsie Manard shared the following on the venue and sailing conditions we can expect. Also, here are links to hotel and boat storage options.

Southern Yacht Club is located only 15 minutes from New Orleans famed French Quarter, with dozens of fine restaurants and music venues. Our club house overlooks the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, a brackish water estuary 24 miles across. March is one of our best sailing times of the year, with mild temperatures ranging from the 50’s to the 70’s and good breeze.  Late winter fronts can result in a steep chop in the shallow lake while southerly winds make for smooth sailing. Come enjoy our Southern hospitality and join us for some great competition.

Storage – between now and the Worlds – Info click HERE.

Regatta Special Hotel Packages – Info HERE.


Member Dues

Member/Owner dues invoices for 2023 will be sent out January 1. If you no longer own your Viper but you believe our records say you do, contact Buttons Padin.


    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: 360 Huguenot St. #1709, New Rochelle, NY 10801 
    Viper 640 Class Association Website:   
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