Christian Manchester having WAAAAY too much fun at the 2015 Viper NAs
Photo: Linda Berkeley Weiss


A warm Viper welcome to the GYA
It's finally done! For the past five years, the Gulf Yachting Association's New Boat Selection Committee has been working to select a new boat for the GYA's prestigious Capdevielle interclub championship series. For the past 50 years, GYA member clubs have raced "club owned" Flying Scots in a dozen regattas held along the Gulf 
each year. To the winner went a year's worth of bragging rights...and tremendous satisfaction.
Over recent years, Capdevielle participation levels have waned and the New Boat Selection Committee was tasked to find a replacement for the venerable Scot that would increase Capdevielle participation and club racing in general. They looked at dozens of one-design classes and, in the end, selected the Viper 640. They recognized that the boat is fun, fast, and affordable; but what also helped sway the decision were the stature, tone, and inclusive approach of the Viper 640 Class Association combined with ours being a member-owned class...with really great members to sail against and party with afterwards.
A shout out to Rondar's Dan Tucker and Mason Sheen, Gulf Performance Sailing's Craig and Deb Wilusz, Don and Tracy Faircloth, and Buttons Padin for helping the Viper to the GYA. Well done, team.
Now comes the fun part. As GYA clubs and individual members buy Vipers, they will likely need some input from the Class to get up to speed quickly. As such, I've asked Class Administrator Buttons Padin to serve as a clearing point for Viper sailors who would like to travel south for a weekend of sailing on a new GYA Viper. Show them the ropes, as it were. In GYA Commodore Cathy Cromartie's letter that follows, she notes the four key GYA Viper Regattas for 2016. Shoot a note to Buttons at and tell him which GYA events you'd like to sail.
Welcome GYA clubs and sailors to the Viper Community. We can't wait to have more and more of you on the starting line with us.
Sail fast,
Dr. Jim Sears
Viper 640 Class Association

Back to the Top

At the Gulf Yachting Association's Board of Directors meeting on January 10 the Board unanimously approved changes to the GYA Regulations for Sanctioned Events naming the Viper 640 as the Capdevielle boat beginning January 1, 2018. The approval of these changes was the final hurdle, giving GYA clubs the needed assurance to order boats and begin building the Viper fleet along the Gulf Coast.
In the interim we will be running a GYA Sport Boat Championship series in parallel with some of our Capdevielle events.  There are twelve Capdevielle events each year. In 2016 four of these events will officially include a Viper class. Those events and dates are:
GYA Opening Regatta at Fairhope YC (AL), May 22 and 23
Meigs Regatta at Fort Walton YC (FL), July 9-10
Weatherly Regatta at Gulfport YC (MS), July 30-31
Sugar Bowl Race of Champions at Southern YC (New Orleans, LA), Dec. 3-4
GYA Commodore Cathy Cromartie
More information about the Sport Boat Championship and NORs will be posted soon on the GYA web site ( and on
In addition to these four events, we are encouraging all GYA clubs to include a Viper 640 class in their regattas throughout the year. We invite any and all Viper sailors to join us at our regattas. A full schedule of 2016 regattas can also be found on the website.
Selecting a new Capdevielle boat has been a long and, at times, rather arduous undertaking, but we are very excited about starting this new chapter in Capdevielle sailing. All of us in the GYA look forward to building our relationship with the Viper community, to making new friends and to the challenges and excitement of Viper racing.
Catherine Cromartie
Commodore, GYA

Back to the Top

Sarasota Viper Winter Series #2
Round Two of the Sarasota Viper Winter Series was sailed January 9-10 in very fun
Jay Rhame with Peter and Rachel Beardsley - Winners of Sarasota #2
conditions with a great group of 21 crews. Saturday morning dawned with a touch of fog that burned off and gave way to steady 8-12 kts by the time the first race got under way. Justin Scott, sailing his new boat #237, drew first blood and had a good day to finish up leading after day one;  the fleet was very close in each of the four races sailed. As a sure sign of how tight it was, every team in the top ten had a double-digit finish during the day. 

PRO Ron Pletsch and the crack RC team got things underway promptly Sunday morning with   the eager fleet pushing the line for
Scott Furnary, Brendan Healy and Zeke Horowitz with PRO Ron Pletsch - Second at Sarasota
multiple general recalls. Wit
h the "I" flag in constant use, five races were sailed Sunday in fantastic conditions varying between 12-14 kts  in the slower races and 17-20 kts in the more sporty races. Picking up only 11 points in the five races sailed on Sunday was key to the overall event
Crew Jeff Sullivan accepting third place for skipper Tom Loutrel
 win put together by  Jay Rhame, Peter Beardsley, and Rachel Beardsley on Ghost  Panda , who finished the day with two bullets. 

With two series events in the books,  Zeke Horowitz and his crew on Jenny  have the overall lead. Three has a solid chance to see 30 Vipers on the line in February, and teams can discard their worst 30% of scores, so stay tuned to hear about more great winter Viper sailing or get in gear to come join the crowd down in Sarasota.


FloridaViper Florida Winter Racing Series
The Viper Florida Winter Series is in high gear with one more Sarasota event remaining and the two major Class events in Miami in March. There is still time to register for the February Sarasota event. Then, after Sarasota, deliver your Viper to the US Sailing Center in Miami for the EFG Winter Cup (the final qualifier for the EFG Pan-American Championship) followed by the fun-filled Miami Scorch and the actual EFG Viper Pan-American Championship Regatta (sailed as part of Bacardi Miami Sailing Week sponsored by EFG). Here are the dates and links to regatta information:
Sarasota Winter Circuit - 27 boats registered
February 6-7, 2016  
EFG Winter Cup - Miami - March 5-6, 2016 - 10 boats already registered
Miami Scorch - March 7, 2015  (information coming soon)
EFG Pan-American Championship - Miami - March 10-12, 2016 - 14 boats already registered

Also upcoming:

Sperry Charleston Race Week - Time to register!
2016 Viper 640 Atlantic Coast Championship
April 14-17, 2016
Charleston Harbor Marina
It's time to get off your duff and register for CRW! Great sailing, great parties, great town to visit. The country's No. 1 regatta for keelboats will be turning 21 in 2016, and you know what that means. It's all legal now. Well, actually, only the legal things are legal, but that won't keep us from planning our best regatta yet for the 2016 Viper 640 Atlantic Coast Championship.
Come enjoy superb competition across 18 different classes with courses set by the best race officials in the business and shore side hospitality that is second to none.
NoR and online registration link HERE


2016 Viper NAs are in Bermuda less than a year from now racing Nov. 16-19 with a warm-up event Nov. 13-14. The Early Bird shipping deals have all been allocated as 50-yes, 50-boats have already registered. This is going to be one heck of a regatta.
Regatta factoid: Keep your ears to the ground. There are developments brewing that, if come to fruition, will make this an even better regatta. Don't hesitate any longer...make your plans to sail in Bermuda next November.
NoR, and online registration, and l ogistics information on the Viper forums HERE
Back to the top 

Possible New Jib Fabrics for Longer Life
As reported last month, in a formal test to determine options for longer-lasting Viper jibs, Doyle-Boston and North Sails have developed a series of jibs that will be used in the Sarasota and Miami events by different sailors and then evaluated by the Technical Committee and the sailmakers to see if the materials being used will extend the sail's peak performance life without breaking the bank.
Brad Boston (Doyle-Boston) is testing a radial cut Dacron sail and a jib of Aramid fiber Flex fabric. Zeke Horowitz and North have provided a base sail made with Pentex material and an Aramid cloth radial jib. 
As the data comes in, findings will be reported in Snake Bytes and on the Forum.


The following is a note from Sarasota Sailing Squadron's Coming In Hot skipper Michelle Lee:
With the last minute changes in weather predictions calling for heavy air this weekend at the Sarasota Winter Viper Series, we saw some very creative problem solving.  A team from out of town realized they were a little too light for a possible nuclear wind forecast, yet all of the available local sailors who could be a potential 4th were already taken. 
Michelle Lee's "Coming In Hot"
So one member of this team of underweight but determined Viperers went on Tinder to look for teeny, tiny crew.  After some trial and error, the team created a Tinder profile using a picture of the Viper and some basic requirements.  The requirements even appeared vaguely sailing related. 
As a backup plan in case of potential #TinderFail, this same determined crew simultaneously approached weight-appropriate women at some of the nicer bars around town to see if they would be interested in sailing.  Results on Tinder and in person were mixed.  One candidate initially looked very promising and was hugely enthusiastic, but ultimately ruled herself out since she was not only pregnant but getting married the next day.  Another candidate appeared to be the perfect size but seemed hesitant even after other Viperers were called in to attest that this was legit and not a serial killer situation. 
So did these Vipers find their perfect Tinderella?  Or did they end up with a local barfly that showed up to sail in sparkly hotpants and heels?  I can't say.  After all, what happens on the boat stays on the boat. 
PS - For older sailors, if you don't know what Tinder is... Google is your friend.  (But Tinder may not be.)

If so, send to Buttons Padin the following: Name of the event, location (host club), dates, a brief description of the event (promoting why someone should participate), and links to the NoR and online registration. Buttons will post on the website's Events listing and include in future newsletters.
If you do, we can use them on the Viper website or in future editions of Snake Bytes. Share your great images and video by sending the files to Buttons Padin at
If so, send a recap of the event and a link to results to Buttons Padin and he'll post online and may include in a future newsletter.
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.
Follow us on Facebook