by Ed Padin
For the first time in the Viper 640 Class’s history, the North American championship will be contested on the west coast. Hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, the 2014 NAs will feature 40 boats with teams from seven states, as well as three Canadian and two Australian teams. 'We’re thrilled to bring the North Americans to a very deserving venue' said Class President Peter Beardsley. 'Long Beach is a fantastic place to sail, and the Southern California Viper fleet has become one of the largest in the country.'
2013 Viper 640 North Americans
Event chairman Tim Carter, who also serves as the local fleet captain and is one of the biggest reasons behind the success of the class locally, has queued up four days of post race parties and classic California fare for the visitors. 'I just want the damn thing to be done at this point, and if there isn’t wind, I won’t be able to look Beardsley in the eye afterward,' said Carter. Thankfully, the forecast is on Carter’s side, as the sea breeze has returned to Long Beach after early signs of an El Nino year kept the event chair on pins and needles throughout the summer.
In late June, ABYC played host to the Class’s Pacific Coast Championship as part of Long Beach Race Week, and the 22-boat Viper 640 class, the largest at LBRW, was won by locals Kevin Taugher, Chuck Tripp and Mike Pentecost. After placing sixth at the 2013 North Americans in Houston, the team aboard Taugher’s Hot Mess will be considered one of the favorites in Long Beach. However, they’ll have to battle with 3-time North American champion and Canadian Olympian Brad Boston and his experienced team aboard Jackpot from Sarnia, Ontario, as well as two-time champion Justin Scott from Greenwich, Connecticut, both of whom traveled great distance for fun in the sun. Class Technical Committee member Rod Berteaux is traveling from Western Australia, and will also be a serious contender, having placed fourth at the 2012 North American championship and fourth at the 2014 EFG Bank Pan American Viper Championship. Local Jay Golison placed third at the 2013 North American championship and second at the 2014 Pacific Coast Champs, and is also likely to be in the mix.
Racing kicks off with an unofficial 'Pre-North Americans' at ABYC’s annual Labor Day Regatta Saturday and Sunday, with registration and the Class’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, September 2, followed by four days of racing in the waters off Long Beach.
To follow the racing and for daily results, please go to the event website.
The Viper 640 is a 21-foot sportboat known for its speed and simplicity. For more information about the boat, click here.