Snake Bytes
 Viper Class News
February 26, 2015

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2015 Viper 640 Class Membership 



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Upcoming Events                                                     
 East Coast

 4/16-19, Charleston Race WeekCharleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Mt. Pleasant South Carolina


Gulf Coast 

5/2-3 GYA Opening Regatta, Fort Walton Yacht Club, Fort Walton Beach, FL


West Coast




It's only a few short days before the Vipers start racing in Miami with two great regattas and another Miami Scorch in the works. There will be 21 Viper teams competing in the EFG Winter Cup regatta on March 1-2. Not only is this a tune-up for the coming Bacardi Miami Sailing Week (March 5-7), but it is the final qualifier for the 2014-2015 EFG Viper Pan-American Championship. There are currently 32 Vipers registered for BMSW and the Pan-Ams. Those who made the decision to head south are looking forward to the "typical" Miami weather in the high 70s with good breeze even more so than usual in the face of miserable winters throughout the east coast and Midwest.

The Miami Scorch is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3. This informal race across Biscayne Bay from Coconut Grove ends in secluded No Name Harbor where 60 Viper sailors will enjoy a luncheon at the Boater's Grille-a classic waterside restaurant. Then it's back to the mainland to prepare for the start of Bacardi racing Thursday.
Thursday evening the Class is having its Winter Cup awards presentation during a Class dinner being arranged by Executive Committee member Steve Chapman. It is anticipated that over 100 Viper sailors will be in attendance, making this one of the largest Viper events in recent memory.

BMSW Result, when available, will be posted HERE

Reported by Travis Yates

The weekend of Feb 7th-8th saw the final event contested in the three-regatta 2014-2015 ActionQuest Viper 640 Sarasota Winter Series. The hybrid Blackout Panda team of Peter Beardsley, Rachel Beardsley, and Danny Pletsch improved on their January event performance, winning 6 races and scoring no worse than a second to win the event by 15 points over the Amthor-Eberwine team from Hampton YC. Blackout Panda stable mates from Larchmont Dragon Fire, sailed by Andrew Weiss, Byron LaMotte and Jonathan Asch, finished strong with a 3-3 to leapfrog Peter Denton's Newport team by a point for third place.

Danny Pletsch, Peter and Rachel Beardsley
Over the course of the three series events hosted by the incredibly friendly Sarasota Sailing Squadron and sailed on idyllic Sarasota Bay, 28 races were sailed in total and each team counted their best 70% towards the overall series standing. Blackout Panda discarded all but one of their DNCs scored by virtue of missing the December event to edge the Amthor-Eberwine team by five points for the circuit title, with Peter Denton's Toriffic team finishing third, just ahead of event chair Travis Yates and his Sidewinder team, and Executive Committee member Steve Chapman from Ottawa, Ontario in fifth.

Sunny reaches in Sarasota
With 19 teams taking part in this past winter's ActionQuest Sarasota Series, six teams now calling Sarasota Sailing Squadron their home base year around and another eight boats already counting on wintering their boats in Sarasota, the stage is set for some great sailing when the snow starts to fall again next year.

Sarasota dates for 2015-2016 are held as Dec. 12-13th, Jan. 9-10th and Feb. 6-7th, with a potential sailmaker/Rondar hosted clinic the Friday preceding the December event, to get the Florida winter fleet rigged and ready and to help get new owners set up and dialed in for some great winter sailing.

Reported by Governor Tim "Timbo" Carter

This past weekend was the 85th annual Mid-Winter event in So Cal. This is the largest regatta on the West Coast with typically 600+ boats racing at 20+ yacht clubs from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The Viper 640 Class showed up with 16 boats this year at Alamitos Bay YC in one of the strongest one design showings for the event. The weather was a cool 60-65 degrees partly cloudy with a forecast of 6-12kts.

We drew Viper owners from as far as Vancouver, BC to come down and visit their boats living here on winter hiatus, as well as strong teams from all around the So Cal basin. The level of competition looked to be fierce with 4 former Viper PCC Champions, Multi-Class World Champions, former Olympic Team members and this yacht designer guy named
Pete may know his work, Maxi Cat Playstation, Oracle Dogzilla, the NZ AC72 foiling tractor, just to name a few.

On Saturday Jay Golison sailing with his boat partner Steve Flam and ABYC Commodore Chuck Clay aboard could do no wrong, they seemed to hit every shift in the challenging conditions and took 4 bullets and left the rest of us fighting for the scraps. At the end of the day the leader board was: Golison, Steele, Fargo, Feo and Carter. We all retired to the club for some well deserved liquid nourishment while I went home to nurse a bad cold and probably missed a round or two.
Downwind at SoCal Mid-Winters

Sunday morning was cooler with a forecast of showers to hit by the afternoon. In the first race we went hard left and caught a great shift and lead the top mark, and then it was hard work keeping the pack at bay to take the win. It was very sweet since we were sailing with a brand new crew and it was her first Viper event and win.

Pete Melvin sailed with
Kevin Taugher and they each brought out their 11-year old sons to join them. The boys had a blast with Cheshire cat smiles visible on their faces long after the boats were put away.

We all got back before the rain hit for some warm soup and beverages, everybody had a great time and are looking forward to the final event on the West Coast Winter Circuit, San Diego NOODs. We should field 20+ boats and will again dominate the standings for largest class.

For complete results and photos



Charleston Race Week (April 16-19) is one of the high points of the Viper 640 racing calendar. At this writing, there are 16 Vipers registered with 20+ expected to be on the starting line. Ashore, CRW is renowned for its after racing parties; and the Charleston area's history, Low Country hospitality, and cuisine are not to be missed. With a large Viper presence on the water and ashore, this will be a fantastic multi-class event. If you want to be included in the Viper docking group, please contact Class Administrator Buttons Padin at with the subject line CRW Berth.

Registration for CRW can be done HERE.

Reported by Craig Wilusz

The 2015 Viper 640 Gulf Coast Championships are being held May 2-3, in conjunction with Gulf Yachting Association's "Opening Regatta," considered the kick-off to the summer sailing season along the Northern Gulf Coast. The GYA Opening Regatta will be part of the GYA's Capdeville Series where up to 30 member clubs across the GYA send teams aboard Flying Scots to compete in this unique interclub series. Fort Walton Yacht Club received the privilege of hosting this prestigious event as FWYC long time member George Goodall recently became the Commodore of the Gulf Yachting Association for 2015.

The GYA has made the decision to switch the Capedeville boat by 2018. The Flying Scot has been used in the Capdeville Series for almost fifty years when the Scot replaced the wooden Fish Class in the 1960's. After a windy November weekend in New Orleans demoing various boats from various builders, the Viper 640 and the VX One made the final selection cut. The final vote will be made the first weekend of September of 2015 to start the transition process. About 30 GYA Member Clubs use a number of Scots in their programs and Capedeville Series. "We want to see the Viper 640 Class and the VX One Class at Opening Regatta to get a feel of Class structure, support, and attitude" says GYA Commodore George Goodall.

Awards presented to the Viper 640 Class will be 1st through 5th overall. A special award will be presented to the "Farthest Traveled" team. The youngest sailor under 18, has a special silver plate with Viper 640 sail plan set aside. The Viper 640 Gulf Coast Championship Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the overall winner in the Viper Class. This beautiful wooden engraved trophy will be permitted to be put on display at the winner's home club until the next event.

Commentary from Class President Jim "Jimbo" Sears

Dr. Jim "Jimbo" Sears
This month marks the 4-year anniversary of when I took delivery of Viper 148, FNG. As I reflect on all the fun times my team has had with the boat, it reminds me of why I chose the Viper 640 in the first place. And that's the answer: The Class. Oh sure, I knew the boat itself was going to be a blast to sail... heck, I ordered one before I even took a test sail. What got me was the class itself. I liked that there was a well-organized west coast circuit of about 10 regattas a year, 6 of which are out of town. The "week-end out of town" regatta scene is one of my favorite things to do. For me, there's nothing like the camaraderie of rigging the boats, while enjoying a beer with the other Viper teams, and I look forward to the Saturday night fleet shenanigans just as much as the racing itself.

After 4 years of hitting the circuit, we've developed some pretty great friendships and, as I look back on things, I realize that the non-racing aspects of the Class are even more memorable than the great racing we've had. Oh, sure we've had some amazing racing as the fleet out here on the west coast has grown, but I've noticed that after two years of campaigning the boat really hard, I've relaxed a bit and focused a little more on the fun. The beer cooler and music have started to come with us on the boat instead of staying on the dock. Instead of intense, pre-regatta crew practices, I often don't think about finding crew until a few days before the regatta, but always seem to find someone who is eager. I've even had several prospective Viper owners sail with me to see how the racing was, and it's now great to be crossing tacks with those guys.

Now that we're heading into season five, some of my old teammates want to "get the band back together," so I think our challenge will be to balance intensity with fun... but mainly fun. Maybe I need to disguise the beer cooler to look like a rolled-up spray top?



If you received more than one copy of this Newsletter, please e-mail Class Administrator Buttons Padin at and say Multiple Copies.  If you want to unsubscribe from this Newsletter, send an e-mail saying Unsubscribe