Viper 640 Snake Bytes Winter Regattas - November 19, 2019 - Viper 640 International Class Association



Get out of the cold…go south to sail this winter!


 Snake Bytes
November 19, 2019



Words from a Prez

Regatta reports

Viper Southeast Winter Travel Plans

Palma Winter Series

ABYC Turkey Day Regatta

Calling for 2020 Regatta Schedules

Viper Couples

Changes in Dues Payment Processor

Tech Tip – Keeping the mast in your boat


Major championships are an important part of what makes up the class. Certainly, the competitive DNA of the class is strong, and this shows with the quality of the competition at the Worlds and the North Americans. So as the Long Beach World’s wrapped up in August, there was earnest discussion about the next events.

The North American Championship will continue to be an annual fixture in our calendar. In 2020, the North Americans will be in Noroton, CT. Long Island Sound is a great sailing venue in early fall and Noroton Yacht Club will be a great host, so we are looking forward to having a big turn-out and an excellent event.

The 2021 North Americans have also been announced, to be held in Gulfport, Mississippi. We are excited about sailing in the heart of the Gulf Yachting Association where there are now more than 55 Vipers sailing regularly.

We are now looking for proposals to host the 2022 and 2023 North Americans, so if your fleet and club are ready and able to host a 60 boat fleet, we encourage you to get in touch with any of the Exec Committee members and we will help you with your proposal.

The Worlds are not a fixed annual event. The International Board hopes it can hold a World Championship every 18-24 months, in locations where we can attract Viper owners from all regions. With members in Australia, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Ireland as well as Bermuda, Canada and the USA you can imagine that the cost of travel and commitment of time for sailors and families becomes a significant factor. We need to have a representative turn out from all regions, so it is important that the Worlds venue have a strong attraction.

We would like to know what you think about possible venues for future World’s, so please take a few minutes and complete our survey here.

Steve Chapman
North American President
Viper 640 Class Association



Viper Mid-Atlantic Championship
Hampton Yacht Club, Hampton, VA
November 2-3

With a dominating scoreline of five bullets and two seconds across seven races, Geoff Ewenson (Eastport Yacht Club) had his way with the 8-boat fleet to capture the 2019 Viper 640 Mid-Atlantic Championship. Sailed as part of the Hampton (VA) Yacht Club’s Fall Fling regatta, November 2-3, Ewenson was followed by local Hampton sailor Tyler Moore in second and Annapolis Yacht Club’s Bill Vickers. Hampton’s Viper fleet continues to host excellent regattas and east coast Viper sailors should make the trip to Virginia and see why everyone’s talking about HYC’s Viper fleet.


Noroton Viper Open Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, CT
October 19-20

Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, CT
October 19-20

The Viper fleet gathered together at Noroton Yacht Club in the last northern event before the migration south.  Conditions were absolute perfection, despite forecasts that were warning of a ‘drifter,’ with 15 Vipers engaging in some very close racing out on Long Island Sound, site of the 2020 Live Tiles North American Championship.

Day 1 saw breeze building to the 10-12 kt range and very close racing at every mark on the course.  Brad Boston, Brian Johansen, and Scotty McNeill, making a ‘stealth’ entry by showing up in the parking lot the day before the event, sailed Jackpot to a solid first day, leading the fleet by 1 point after 6 solid races.  The rest of the fleet saw very tight racing in perfect conditions, all mark roundings were hard fought, and any bit of planing downwind paying off big time for the lighter teams.  After a full day of racing on the water, the fleet enjoyed themselves back in the boat yard at Noroton YC,  getting in some pickup basketball games at the hoop set up in the yard, and catching up with old friends.

The fleet woke up to similar conditions on Day 2, and it was very clear a couple of teams had dialed in their speed settings nicely.  Ghost Panda, sailed by David Owen, Simon Karstoft Jensen, and James Owen were absolutely launched in just about every race, putting a 1,2,1 on the scoreboard.  They had the boat set up perfectly and were pointing in another mode!  That said, their speed wasn’t enough to catch team NESS, sailed by Marc Zagol, Tim Desmond, and Drew Buttner.  Like Ghost Panda, as the regatta progressed, they got faster and faster as a team, taking the well-deserved win!





For east coast Viper sailors, and often folks from the west coast, Australia and the UK, the three Viper events in the southeast U.S. are special times for racing and camaraderie. Here’s what you need to know about each so you can mark your calendar, start assembling your crew, getting housing, and getting in shape for some of the best sailing and parties of the year:

Sarasota Sailing Squadron’s Winter Viper Series

December 14-15, January 18-19, February 8-9

Travis Yates and his cohorts at the Squadron have managed to raise the bar for a winter sailing season each year. Six days of sailing in beautiful Sarasota, FL, great race management, easy transportation options, convenient boat storage, and gracious hospitality. What more could you ask. Race one, two or three weekends, whatever works for you. Race all three weekends and you can drop your worst 35% of races. Who could ask for anything more?

Fourteen boats already registered; but expect the roster to exceed 25. Be there!

Information and online registration


Ft. Walton Yacht Club Frosty Viper Series

January 11-12
February 1-2
February 29-March 31

Robert Harrison is spearheading a new 3-part Viper winter series at Ft. Walton Yacht Club on the western most extremes of the Florida panhandle. Boats from local fleets and across the GYA are expected to be on the line for this series. Notice of Race HERE.


The Viper Winter Cup and Miami Scorch

US Sailing Center Miami

March 2-3 (Scorch March 4)

For the past decade, this two-day warm-up for the Bacardi event has proven itself to be one of the true sweet spots for the Class. Relatively smaller (10-15 boats), more casual racing, and just us on the water by ourselves. We missed the Winter Cup two years ago (thanks to hurricane damage) and last year, Rondar’s Dan Tucker stepped-in at the last minute to PRO and run a top-notch event. Dan’s going to be back this year and you should be, too. Shake off those winter cobwebs, apply your sunscreen, and get ready to race on Monday and Tuesday out of the US Sailing Center Miami.

Winter Cup Information and online registration

The Viper Miami Scorch has become a tradition that only the Viper 640 class can pull off. An 1100 start off the harbor at Coral Gables and a sprint across Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbor and a great Cuban buffet lunch. Did anyone say there would be beer? Then, after lunch, it’s another sprint back across the Bay – and that sail home has proven to provide some of the best, longest, and most joyful Viper planing experiences ever.

Even if you’re not sailing the Winter Cup but you’re in town already for Bacardi, get in the water and Scorch!

Scorch RSVP, please.

Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta

Miami, FL
March 5-7

This is an event like no other. With an emphasis on outstanding racing and memorable shore side hospitality and camaraderie, this event has attracted the world’s best sailors for nearly one century. World famous as a ‘must do’ regatta and one of the sport’s most historic events, the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta continues to grow in popularity and international intrigue.

Come and enjoy the wow factor, with an irresistible combination of signature Bacardi rum, performance racing, and a packed program of socials and after-sailing parties.

This year the Vipers will be hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club giving us the opportunity to all be in one location; and you know what happens when you get 50+ Viper sailors together. Want to be part of the fun? Eleven Vipers are already registered and expect that number to exceed 20-25. Miami, here we come!


Online registration

Charleston Race Week

Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
Pt. Pleasant, SC
April 12-13

2020 marks the 25th Charleston Race Week and the regatta committee has promised to pull out all the stops. With the local Viper team of Tom Loutrel, Sarah Schaill, and Jonathan Colarusso leading the charge, Vipers get VIP treatment on the dock thanks to the College of Charleston Sailing Team and often some sweet launch/retrieval options, too.

If you want to sail in flat waters without challenging tides and winds, find a lake somewhere in Carolina to sail. However, if you want to test your tactical smarts and boat handling mettle, Charleston Race Week is the answer. Drop your boat off on the way home from Miami or Sarasota, enjoy some of the sweetest oysters in the country, and enjoy Charleston’s low country hospitality.

Event information

Online registration

Full schedule of Viper regattas HERE.



If you’ve a longing to sail Vipers in one of the most spectacular setting in the Mediterranean, the European Viper Series is for you. Sailed out of the spectacular Real Club Nautico De Palma, in Palma de Mallorca, the first event of the 2020 season is the December 14-15 (ok, it’s still 2019…) Trofeo Navidad (Christmas Trophy regatta for those of us who failed high school Spanish).

The folks at Rondar Raceboats and OneSails Palma did a bang-up job creating a fleet and conducting last year’s European Series…so this year’s should be even better. Click on the link below to get in touch with the folks at Rondar Raceboats and you could be sailing in the Med this winter. Ole!

Information and registration



Alamitos Bay Yacht Club
Long Beach, CA
November 23-24

Our friends at ABYC do this every year and it is some great sailing with a twist. The Vipers will be sailing on the Ocean Course where we just raced the Goslings 2019 Viper Worlds, and you can expect the same level of hospitality onshore. One twist, however. This being the Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday night’s dinner is the full ABYC Traditional Turkey Day dinner. You can never have enough stuffing and pumpkin pie and, Timbo, I like the fancy cranberry jelly…the stuff in cans with ridges around the sides!

Information and registration



The Viper 2020 sailing calendar has a long way to go to get filled-up. With scores of events throughout the year and around the world, nobody’s going to come to your regatta if you keep it a secret. Here’s what you should send to Buttons Padin ASAP:

  • Regatta name
  • Dates
  • Location
  • Host club or organization
  • NoR (if available)
  • Primary contact’s name and email

If you promote it…the will come. If not, you’ll be lucky to get Shoeless Joe and the boys.



We’re sure there are more of you out there than we know about, but there are a number of married couples sailing Vipers together. If you were to make a list of things you’re never to do with your spouse it would include: teach him/her how to drive, play golf or sail. My personal is never wallpaper a bathroom using plaid wallpaper with your spouse.

That said, there ARE a number of married couples who are proving you can race with your spouse and still be civil to each other at the bar after racing. Add to all of them the newest Viper sailing couple: Viper sailors Eleni Asimacopoulos and Matt Hebert who were married November 2. Smooth sailing!



For the past few years, the Viper Class has used the Wild Apricot contact management application to manage the Class database and collect class dues. You have been able to pay your dues directly via Wild Apricot by using the Class’s credit card payment processor, PayPal. Starting immediately, however, Wild Apricot has a relationship with a new credit card payment processor (AffiniPay) and if the Class uses any other processor, we will be charged an additional 20% of the payment processing fee. The Class has done its due diligence on AffiniPay and we are comfortable with making this shift from PayPal. Making this change will result in a significant savings for the Class.

So what does this mean to you?

  1. When you get your 2020 Viper Class dues invoice in a few weeks, you will need to reenter your credit card number into the AffiniPay screen.
  2. If you had signed up for membership auto renewal, unfortunately you will have to reenter your credit card.

Other than the slight inconvenience of having to reenter credit card information, this should be a smooth transition that will save your class a considerable amount of banking fees. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Class Administrator Buttons Padin and put AffiniPay as the subject line.



Keeping the mast in your Viper

– A Rerun

Peter Beardsley – originally published in 2017 but still valid!
NA Northeast Regional VP

1. Check the shrouds and spreader brackets for broken or corroded rivets, broken wire strands or other unusual wire and tear. I typically replace my Viper’s standing rigging every three year. That may be overkill, and we also use the boat a lot; but I end up with spare shrouds that are in good shape and also have peace of mind.  A new mast is $6k+…new shrouds are a couple hundred dollars.

2. Set up your boat to your sailmaker’s tuning guide, and measure carefully. The class minimum spreader angle is 280mm, and many teams set up around 290mm. Being less than 280mm is not only, it is not recommended since the mast ends up being too straight. Check this measurement carefully, and if you’re not sure how to do it, read the North Sails tuning guide, which has photos.

3. Be careful not to overdo it with mast blocks. I am guilty of this from time to time in big breeze, and am starting to back off this position after we inverted our mast in the parking lot in Sarasota this winter. North Sails says 3-1/4″ is max while the Doyle and Ullman tuning guides say to limit blocks to 3″ max.

Sometimes we use an extra block to go to 3-3/8″ but our upper shrouds need to be 35+ to do this and we are very careful downwind. You need mast blocks to keep headstay tension; but the more blocks you use, the greater the risk of inverting the rig. After you set up your blocks, get out of the boat and step back to see if the mast is inverted (i.e., the tip of the mast is pointing toward the bow, or there is a bend bulging into the cockpit in the middle of the mast).

4. In big breeze, don’t ease your GNAV off all the way when going downwind. If you see your headstay going slack, it’s a sign that your mast is being pulled forward—pull some GNAV on and pull your mainsheet in.

5. Don’t over tighten your lower shrouds…ever! It’s pretty rare that the lower shrouds should ever have enough load to show any tension on a Loos gauge. Lower shrouds that are over tightened will also keep the mast too straight in big breeze


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