Snake Bytes
  Viper Class News
July 31, 2015
Garda Cup Race Management Platform - a signal boat with many signals and it's own Italian sense of style and panache.  Thanks to Tony Chapman for sharing the photo.

The Viper Class is a true grass roots Class that is driven by it's members and volunteers that are fellow Viper owners and sailors. It's time to renew your membership for 2015. You can do so here


 2015 Viper 640 Class Membership 




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Upcoming Events                                                       

 Great Lakes 

 National Capital Regatta 

August 8-9

Britannia Yacht Club

Ottawa Ontario 



West Coast


King Harbor Fall One-DesignAugust 5-6King Harbor Yacht ClubRedondo Beach Californi


Outlaw/Labor Day Regatta

August 28-29 

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club

Long Beach  


Viper Pacific Coast Championship

August 15-16
Eugene Yacht Club
Eugene, OR

United Kingdom

Falmouth Race Week

Torbay Royal Regatta
August 21-26

  • Viper GYA Selection Process Update
  • Introducing Gulf Performance Sailing as a new Viper dealer
  • Next Viper 640 Ad for SAILING WORLD
  • Regatta results
    • Larchmont Race Week
    • Santa Barbara Fiesta Cup
    • UK Tattinger Regatta
    • Gim Hobelman Regatta
    • Nepean One-design Regatta
  • Boat handling tips:
    • Sailing four-up by Danny Pletsch
    • Easing the spinnaker halyard by Rod Beurteaux
  • How to post your regatta on the Viper website
Submitted by Dan Tucker, Rondar Raceboats

Thirty-six days from today, on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend in the US, the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA) member clubs will vote to select a new GYA inter-club boat, choosing between the Viper 640 and the VX One. Viper owners Johnny & Lauren Ballatin (#178) and Don & Tracey Faircloth (#196) along with Gulf area Viper dealer Gulf Performance Sailing (Deb & Craig Wilusz, #100) and Rondar intern Mason Sheen have been working very hard to win the vote for the Viper. They've taken countless GYA sailors out on demo rides, talked to sailors at regattas, yacht clubs, and emailed and called endlessly, lobbying hard for the Viper.


If you haven't been keeping up with the Viper Class forums, you may not be familiar the newest Viper reps down in the South. Gulf Performance Sailing (GPS) grew out of the need to have solid Viper representation along the northern Gulf Coast. As the Gulf Yachting Association is going through a transition period of moving away from the Flying Scot as the inter-club boat which has been used for 50 years, the Viper 640 is one of two finalists.

Enter Craig and Deborah Wilusz. These two sailors- you may have run into over the last few years at Viper events-took the lead and formed small LLC to promote the Viper 640. Add in some of Craig's previous experience in the marine industry, a dash of Dan Tucker influence, and a pinch of Paul Young, and suddenly Gulf Performance Sailing is demo sailing two 2015 Viper 640s on a double stack trailer every weekend in the GYA. GPS is also the Zim Opti, Zim 420, and Zim 15 area dealer.


Viper 640 ad in Sept./Oct. SAILING WORLD


Raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Leukemia Cup is very personal for Tony. Thirty-five years ago, his father died of acute myeloid leukemia and he's made it his mission to help fight the disease. 
Tony Chapman

The Leukemia Cup is sailed as part of his Arizona Yacht Club's annual Birthday Regatta, and AYC has raised over $500,000 over the years...with Tony raising over $100,000 with the help of his friends. In 2015 he raised just under $12,000; the number it takes to qualify for the annual "Fantasy Sail" with leukemia survivor and Leukemia Cup chairman Gary Jobson. Tony, Chris Robertson and Emory Heisler have all been on past Fantasy Sails that commemorate top fundraisers.

Once again in January 2016, AYC will be presenting a first-in-the-nation Leukemia Cup and you'll have an opportunity to pitch in with Tony to help the LLS. Below is the ad the LLS ran in SAILING WORLD featuring Tony.




Sailed over the weekends of July 11-12 and 18-19, 25 Vipers competed in all or parts of Larchmont Race Week. Clearly, the Vipers stood out from the traditional, fixed keep boats on the one-design circle (Etchells, Shields, IODs, and S Boats) as they skipped over the water as the breezes were light to moderate.


After the first two days of sailing, however, it was Peter Beardsley
and David Owen in GHOST PANDA who led the standings with a pair of bullets and a fourth. Danny Pletsch's and Cardwell Potts' BLACKOUT PROPOSAL was just two points off the lead with a 2-5-2 line score. LYC Vice Commodore Andy Kaplan's SIZZLER was in third.


The second Saturday found light breezes again but the Vipers were able to complete two races-both of which Pletsch/Potts won putting them in the lead-and Sunday, after a 2-hour shore postponement, two more races were sailed with Pletsch/Potts holding on to their lead, Beardsley/Owen remaining in second and Kaplan third.





By Tony the Treasurer

Santa Barbara (CA) Yacht Club and local Viper 640 sailors Jeff Grange and Geoff Fargo hosted the SoCal Viper fleet over the weekend of July 18-19 at its Fiesta Cup that fully lived up to the promises made by the hosts. Everyone was provided with sunny and breezy conditions, a club house and bar on the beach, Volleyball court, beer kegs, food, rum, and a great live band. In fact the promises made were so good that an uninvited guest by the name of (Tropical Storm) Dolores crashed the party and caused a little mayhem. Dolores invited her friends Rain and Fickle (winds) to make the party a little more challenging.

Reported by Paul Young

We have just had the Tattinger Regatta at the Royal Solent, Yarmouth. This regatta was scheduled for the first time this year and is sponsored by Tatinger Champagne, who ensured
Jo Gilles on is new Viper
that no one is thirsty, and had a turnout of around 170 boats ranging from old gaffers (leftover from the Paneriai Classics Week at Cowes) to IRC Class 1, through to sports boats and X One-designs. We had several Vipers present including Glyn Locke, a former EFG series winner in North America racing a new " FER De LANCE", and Jo Gillespie launching a brand new boat number "241" . There was some great racing, and some very impressive fireworks combined with some great parties; so this will definitely be back on the calendar for next year.

Glyn Locke in his new FER De LANCE

Submitted by Steve Chapman

The Nepean One-design Regatta took place June 21-22 at the Nepean Sailing Club just outside of Ottawa where seven Vipers joined 80 other boats for this well organized fixture in the Great Lakes calendar. As always, great music, cold beer, and hot summer sun greeted the visitors who came from Kingston, London, and Lake Champlain to join the local fleet for 2 days of racing.

The fleet headed out on Saturday with shifty winds challenging the race committee with 3 fleets starting on our course. The race officer managed to get off three races for the Vipers in modest 5-7 knot breeze. Local title defender Ron Schute in RUM THEORY (#117) came out strong winning the first race. James Colburn and his sons from Kingston in LUCKY VARMENT, who recently purchased #87, showed everyone their stern in the shifty second race.


BOAT HANDLING TIPS - This month, we have two

SAILING A VIPER FOUR-UP - Where do all the feet and fannies go???
Submitted by Danny Pletsch

Weight considerations:
The same overall weight rule applies when sail in with four as it is with a crew of three. Try and stay below 600 lbs. total, otherwise you really start to give up speed downwind, but upwind doesn't hurt as bad being heavy.

Where to put everyone and what do they do?
As far as placement, the forward person going upwind is always in front of the shroud till it gets windy enough that all 4 crew are hiking. Once that happens the forward person moves behind the shroud so they can have a proper hiking strap to hike off of.

Tacking with eight feet moving all at once:
The only other weight placement situation that is imperative when sailing with four is the timing of crossing the boat in tacks. The way we have done it is all 4 people help with the roll in the tack. Because of space, we all cannot cross at the same time because of space and arms flying trying to trim the jib properly. Whichever of the two forward crew is trimming the jib crosses the boat first in the tack so they can get to the rail and trim properly. The one not trimming the jib and crossing first follows by about 2 steps and is last to the rail as the skipper and the crew sitting next to the skipper cross at the same time as the jib trimmer.

Who does what forward in the boat?
As far as roles on the boat:

  • Skipper trims main all the time and is the only line he or she touches other than the vang when needed. 
  • The person sitting next to the skipper (3rd person from forward) usually is pulling up and down the spinnaker because they have the best angle from pulling from the blocks or cleat on the mast. 
  • The second from the bow usually gets to grab the spin sheet and get the spin filled before passing back to the person that pulls the spin up. 
  • The forward person that usually is sitting in front of the shroud is in charge of pulling the pole out.
The forward two people really can do either of the jobs of trimming jib, pole in and out, un cleating the spin halyard, and all the control lines that are at the mast. The two people need to just own those jobs and split them up between the two of them.

Submitted by Rod Beurteaux

The issue with asymmetrical sails is that the tension in luff of the sail determines the optimum angle the sail at which the sail should be used. In very light airs the Viper will soak downhill if you can keep the spinnaker set and drawing. To achieve this, the sail needs to rotate to windward and the length of the luff is the key to how far sail will rotate.

The window for when to do this and by how much depends purely on the wind strength. Too little wind, you need to sail higher just keep the sails set. Too much wind the boat will sail too slow when soaking and reaching higher with a tighter luff produces a better velocity made good. When the conditions support soaking the boat as low as possible the sail luff should be lengthened to allow the rotation. To get a handle on what works best is to try it.

A couple of extra points: we do not worry about pulling the halyard up through the gybes. Make sure the sail is well rotated the clew is well out from the boat and in a good position for the windward sheet to take the new load as the boat is turns through the gybe. (Note: this is for a float gybe and not a blow-through gybe.)


There are two places on the website where you will find regatta notices and information. The first accessed by clicking on the EVENTS tab. There, events are listed in chronological order with country indicators for your convenience. You can also search for regattas in your area on that screen.

The second spot you'll find regatta information is under the Forum tab's Regattas and Events heading/folder.

If you have a regatta to promote on the website, here's the process you should follow:

1. Go to the Forum/Regattas and Events section and create a new posting. At that time, put in dates, where to get NoR and registration access, and who is the primary contact. You can also create some promotional copy describing the event in detail and encouraging sailors to attend.
2. Once posted in the Forum, notify Class Administrator Buttons Padin ( that the information is not posted. He can then add the event to the Events tab on the main website.

If you have questions about your regatta, shoot a note to Buttons.


If you wish to be taken off the Viper 640 Class Association's database, please send an e-mail to Buttons Padin at and simply put UNSUBSCRIBE on the subject line. If you're getting multiple copies of Snake Bytes, shoot Buttons a note and say MULTIPLE COPIES.