by Scuba Steve
The 2014 Viper Australian Championships were hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The Australian Viper Class continues to be one of the most exiting high performance classes in the country. The light and extremely fast catamarans provide exhilarating racing for competitors and spectators alike.
A high quality 12-boat fleet including past catamaran champions, current Olympic hopefuls and the next crop of Youth Catamaran sailors made for the closest racing the class has ever seen. Perfect warm conditions greeted the fleet and all but one race was sailed in twin trapezing breeze.
After three days and six races there was a three-way tie for first place between Daniel Van Kerckoff/ Lachlan White, Matt Homan/ Leo Sharp and Pip Pietromonaco/ James Wierzbowski. The three teams exchanged leads every lap of every race with the flat and shifty conditions on Moreton Bay.
On day four with nine races completed it was the 22 year olds Pip and James who were able to wrap up the series with a race to spare sailing a 2,1,1. The pair who are currently campaigning for the 2016 Rio Olympics showed that there is no substitute for time on the water.
Day five had race 10 sailed in 14 – 17 knots to decide the silver medal. It was yet again Pip and James that took the race win with Matt and Leo finishing second to take the silver, Daniel and Lachlan taking the bronze.
The fleet consisted of six sailors under the age of 21, all addicted to the speed and close tactical racing these boats provide. The Viper Class is the perfect breeding ground for the next generation of catamaran champions with the boats efficient power and ideal platform for mixed teams.