Looking Ahead - Comments from Viper Int'l Chair - Viper 640 International Class Association

At the Class AGM in Bermuda, the members approved the International Class Constitution which created an International Board of Governors (The International Board). We asked the newly elected Chairman of the International Board to write a few lines describing the role of the International Board and their priorities for the next twelve months.

Justin Scott wrote:

First of all, let me explain who is on the board. The Class consists of three regions; North America, Australasia, UK and Europe. Each region has its own regional Class

International Viper 640 Board Chairman Justin Scott

International Viper 640 Board Chairman Justin Scott

President and its own regional Executive Committee. The International Board consists of the three Class Presidents plus an elected Chairperson, an elected International Technical Committee Chair and three elected governors, one of who is serving as International Treasurer.

Thus the current International Board consists of:-

Steve Chapman – Class President of North America
Ian Nicholson  – Class President of UK and Europe
Graeme Monkhouse – Class President of Australasia
David Nicholson – International Technical Committee
Tony Chapman – International Treasurer
Tim Carter – International Governor
Kay Van Valkenburg – International Governor
Justin Scott – Chairperson of International Board.


Regional Presidents: Graeme Monkhouse (Australasia), Steve Chapman (North America), and Ian Nicholson (Europe)

The regional class presidents and their respective executive committees will continue to manage the day to day affairs of the Class in their regions. This was deliberately designed as a decentralized organization. We believe that classes thrive locally before they can thrive internationally and that the class management has to be local to their membership.

One role of the International Board is simply to provide a forum for the three Class Presidents to talk to each other. We hope that the International Class can build global bonds between Viper sailors around the world so our members enjoy both local racing and camaraderie combined with being part of an international tribe of Viper owners.    This starts at the top with the Class Presidents but it will also extend down to a global website relevant to Viper sailors everywhere and a new International version of the Snake Bytes newsletter.

A second important role is that the International Technical Committee is accountable to the International Board responsible for providing our members with one set of Class Rules worldwide that preserves our simple, fun, strict one design ethos.

Thirdly, the board enables the Class and the three Class Presidents to coordinate on international matters , international regattas, and speak with one voice in discussions with our builder, sailmakers or sailing regulatory bodies.

We anticipate that the International Board will meet formally via conference call about four times a year but that specific discussions will take place on as needed basis. We had our first informal board meeting while in Bermuda and have exchanged a few emails subsequently.  The priorities that we have identified over the next twelve months include:-

  1. The Class intends to transfer the Class Rules to a new World Sailing compliant format. The layout of our rules is somewhat idiosyncratic.  We want to move towards a more standard format but at the same time (a)  Preserve the simplicity of our rules and ensure that they are easy to understand and easy to read (b) Make no changes to the content of the Class rules without approval from the Class members. Dave Nicholson is driving this process.
  2. The International Board wants to seize the opportunity as a World Sailing International Class just off our first International event to support a sustained push to grow outside of the United States. The Class has traction in Australia, but World Sailing status will provide further impetus. We have traction in Canada but Steve has ideas how to grow further. However Europe and the UK are almost virgin territory for the Viper Class. Rondar believes that the timing is right for a major push in UK and Europe and they have set themselves the goal of selling 100 boats in Europe. The class wants to be a partner in that effort and we are available to provide the same level of support that we did in the GYA. This will be coordinated by the entire Board.
  3. On a more mundane level but with important implications, we have to establish the appropriate legal entities and bank accounts for the International Class Association and the Regional Executives Committees. Tony Chapman is leading a team on this.
  4. We are reviewing recommendations to provide guidelines for a wind range for international regattas. Tim Carter and Bob Matthews are driving this
  5. The winner of the International Regatta in Bermuda became the first World Champion in the International Viper Class. The International Board will be discussing the timing and location of our second World Championship.

Bermuda was a great deal of fun. We had 7 of our 8 member international board and our Class Administrator competing. It was a very auspicious launch for the international class.