In March it was Back To Bacardi for the Vipers - Viper 640 International Class Association

After a spectacular winter series in Sarasota, 23 Vipers migrated east to race in Miami in the Bacardi Cup from March 7-9. Day 1 found the boats ashore in the morning waiting for the breeze to fill in, but once it did, the fleet was off and running. Three races were completed on Thursday with some of the Class’s top sailors making their first venture onto Biscayne Bay. Returning back to the Bacardi bar Miami newbie Marek Zaleski (1-5-1) held a one-point lead over reigning NAs champ Jimmy Praley (3-3-2), but there was more sailing ahead. Also in the mix were Mary Ewenson and Mike Deyett.

In the first race on Friday, Zaleski’s Team Z had to retire followed by a 5-7 in the remaining races in the somewhat unusually moderate breezes on the Bay. Praley had a 7-13-3 day but commanding the day were Moise Solomon and Dave Nickerson, back to Bacardi after a long hiatus, with a dominating 2-2-1 moving them into second, one point behind Praley and one point over Team Z after the throw-out was calculated. But still in the mix was Mary Ewenson sitting in fourth having won race 4 followed by an 11-6.

Going into the final day’s two races, the regatta was anyone’s. Mike Deyett took his second Bacardi bullet in race 7 followed by an 8 in the finale that was good enough for him to end up in fifth. Solomon/Nickerson’s 8-6 finishes placed them in a solid fourth position while the top three boats finished the day one point apart. In the end, Ewenson’s 4th in race 7 and first in the finale was enough to beat fellow Annapolis sailor Praley for second, both at 27 points. But it was Marek Zaleski and his Noroton Yacht Club team from CT that eked out the Bacardi title by a single point with a 5-2 on Saturday.

Miami Viper staple, and Viper International Chair Steve Chapman summed up the regatta as follows: “It was really encouraging to see this many Vipers at Bacardi putting a cap on the excellent Sarasota Winter Series,” Steve noted. “And the conditions were really solid giving us a bit of everything – from the storm following us home after Wednesday’s Scorch to light-to-moderate breezes to winds getting us up on a plane. I’m really looking forward to returning in 2025 with an even bigger Viper contingent!”


Bacardi recap video