Reported by Cole Constantineau- who loves alliterative headlines and personal names
Once again, the Lake Champlain Yacht Club, in Shelburne, VT, welcomed the Viper 640 fleet for another fun weekend of racing and comraderie. Twenty Viper teams duked it out on the water over seven races in quite variable conditions; the sailors also caught up over rigging, drinks, the LCYC fireplace, and the welcoming lawn in front of the club. The racing was extremely tight throughout the fleet, with several teams scoring some of their best regatta finishes ever; but it was Steve Chapman’s Oshunmare (with Quinton Gallon and Christophe Ledent) that came out victorious after the final race on Sunday.
Day 1 of racing saw the fleet sailed inside Shelburne Bay under clear skies and a howling northerly (25+ knots). By the time racing began, the winds had subsided to a calm 18-20 kts—perfect conditions for the fleet to have some fun upwind and down. Everyone was nicely planning downwind throughout the day, with boat speeds reported in the 15-16 kt range. Crisp boat handling paid dividends, as did smartly handling the shiftiness of the lake. The top three boats were separated by just one point after the first five races, with Mo’ Grins (Dave Nickerson, Moise Solomon, and Scott Leming) leading Oshunmare (right) and Choppy Seas (Tom Loutrel, Jeff Gentzen, and Brian Zimmerman) who were tied at 10. The next three boats were also hot on their heels, with Meow!, Lucky Varmint, and Wadjet all being within 6 points of the leader.
The Day 2 racing was held out on the main lake off of the Burlington waterfront with a spectacular view of the Adirondacks. Clear skies and crisp temperatures once again welcomed the fleet; however, winds were now from the south, and much more variable than on Day 1. For the two races held on Sunday, it was absolutely critical not to start on the wrong side of the line and get on the wrong side of the puffs coming from the right-hand side of the course. Oshunmare fought through an OCS in the first race to finish 4th and then had a solid top to bottom race 7 to close the heals on Mo’ Grins, the multiple-time champion of the Lake Champlain Regatta.
This year’s Lake Champlain regatta may have been the best yet—LCYC has really turned this event into an art form. From the warm welcome to visiting teams arriving on Friday, to the hearty meal followed by Chester’s custard sandwiches on Saturday night, Dale Hyerstay and the rest of the team really knocked it out of the park. The FREE photography from Gerry Davis and the FREE housing for everyone looking for it thanks to the LCYC membership also help to make this regatta is such a great hidden gem for all Viper sailors, and should be a mainstay on the calendar for years to come!
From left: Scott Leming, Moise Solomon, Dave Nickerson, Steve Chapman, Chrristophe Ledent, Quinton Galloon, Jeff Gentzen, Tom Loutrel, Brian Zimmerman.