Written by Buttons Padin, V640 Class Administrator
Long Beach, CA
Some championship regattas fall into the trope of “it’s never like this here.” In Long Beach, California, this was not true thankfully for the Viper 640 fleet. Despite dire forecasts, several days of light winds during practice, and an hour on-shore postponement, the Viper 640 North American Championship enjoyed Chamber of Commerce conditions with a classic Long Beach seabreeze for the 34 boats in attendance. Sailing the inside course, the fleet sailed briskly through the relatively flat seas where hard hiking proved key for the day.
In the first race, the fleet split evenly going upwind with both sides of the fleet converging at the first mark. Blasting downwind the boats were hitting speeds in the low teens as boathandling proved a critical asset. In the end, Jeff Grange (Santa Barbara, CA) was first across the line. That statistic would repeat itself. Grange would go on to win all four races on the day, returning to shore with an eight-point lead over 3-time North American champion Brad Boston (Sarnia, ON), who holds a slim, one-point lead over local Kevin Taugher. “Everything was perfect here today,” said Boston. “The yellow boat just sailed better through the water than us today.”
ABYC PRO Steve Kuritz commented “The caliber of the racing among the Viper 640s today was as competitive as any racing I’ve ever been part of. The boats are so quick and responsive that watching the competitors race these sport boats was a thrill. We’re expecting the next three days to provide the same ideal racing conditions.”
Event Chairman, Tim Carter, was on the water racing his Viper after having organized a world-class regatta. The previous night, after the Viper 640’s Annual General Meeting, Carter arranged for gourmet food trucks to feed and entertain the sailors. “It was a load of fun with everyone milling around the food trucks and eating on the decks of the boats on their trailers.” At the AGM, the class elected new officers, with local sailor Jim Sears assuming the role of Class President.
This is the first Viper North Americans sailed on the west coast. Thursday’s racing is scheduled to be in the ocean outside the Long Beach breakwater, with the first warning at 1155 with a sea breeze forecast to be from the southwest in the 12-15 knot range, building throughout the day.
The Viper 640 North American Championship is a qualifier regatta for the EFG Viper Pan-American Championship. Also helping make this regatta a success are Ullman Sails, Doyle Sailmakers, North Sails, Quantum Sails, Goslings Rum, the Belmont Brewing Company, Rondar Sailboats USA, Sailing Pro Shop, and Rooster. Event website: http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/6130