This year’s SCORCH took place on March 4th on Biscayne Bay between the EFG Winter Cup which finished on March 3rd and Bacardi Miami Sailing Week which started on March 6th. Bracketed by 2 serious winter regattas for the Viper class, most Viper owners will tell you that the SCORCH is their personal “must attend” race for crew and loved ones on the winter circuit. The SIs, such as they are, are unwritten. Competitors meet at 11.00 am at the Coral Reef Yacht Club Tiki Bar where SCORCH PRO, Kay Van Valkenburgh reveals the selected starting buoy off Coconut Grove while the teams engage in some trash talking supplemented by CRYC’s excellent Bloody Marys.

Fun, thy name is Scorch!

From the starting buoy, the course is a screaming one leg, 4 mile, spinnaker reach to a cove with a waterfront restaurant. Although there are only two marks of the course (start and finish) the course is not entirely a straight line and requires tactics and boat handling skills as we sail through the beautiful reefs at the entrance to the cove. The midpoint of the race consists of a fish and lobster lunch for 60 people and then the race recommences with an equally thrilling spinnaker “scorch” back to Coconut Grove.

Aussie snakes invade Biscayne Bay

This year’s SCORCH was won by Nick Lewins and his team who had flown all the way from Freemantle Australia to participate. Due to the addition of wives and girlfriends, Nick’s Viper had a crew of 6 rather than the usual 3 on a Viper which took a slight edge off maximum downwind speed. However Nick exploited a little known loophole in the SIs to gain the winning advantage. Although, the PRO specified a starting sequence, there was no penalty for OCS…so dead on the 2 minute whistle, the Australians complete with a full size Australian battle flag flying from the spreaders, hoisted the chute and took off. By the time that Brad Boston from Canada, preoccupied with owning the right end of the line realized the move, he was going to be playing catch up for the entire reach. It was a close run thing but Brad incurred a penalty under rule 17 for an aggressive luff above his proper course (it looked like he was trying to steal the Aussie battle flag) and the Australians were the newly crowned 2014 SCORCH champions.

How many Aussies CAN you fit on one Viper??


Lunchtime. All too gorgeous!





The Miami Scorch consists of a scorching reach with spinnakers up, starting from a buoy off Coconut Grove and finishing at the scenic cove in No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne. At this half way point, the fleet will raft up and have lunch at the waterfront “Boaters Grill”. Then after lunch, we scorch back to Coconut Grove. There will be numerous awards for anything except trying to win, including the prestigious Scorch Trophy.

 Boaters Grill  Lunch at the secluded Boaters Grill! 

The Miami Scorch will start at approx. 11.30 on Tuesday March 4th at a designate buoy off Coconut Grove



New Logo for EFG and New Logo for EFG Pan American Championship

Our sponsor, EFG International is adopting a new logo and in line with that change the Pan American Championship will be designing a new logo.


EFG International’s new circular logo represents an evolution from the existing symbol and maintains many of its strengths and with its abstract suggestion of the letters E, F and G, it reflects the name of the business.
Given the cohesive nature of EFG International’s international private banking business (spanning some 30 locations worldwide), it will increasingly seek to project a unified approach under the marketing name, “EFG”. In a number of regions, the logo will frequently be accompanied by the descriptor, ‘Private bankers’, reflecting EFG International’s sole focus on private banking.

Learn more about our sponsor here:

Three Winners at CORK.

Team Flux Panda comprising Peter and Rachel Beardsley and Jay Rhame have won the CORK Regatta and the inaugural Viper 640 Great Lakes Championship with a perfect score of seven bullets and a DNC.  Their perfect score was a very close run thing. In their final race (race 7), Rum Theory led the whole race ahead of Flux Panda until a furious gybing duel in the final 200 yards resulted in a photo finish. After a heart stopping pause, the RC announced that Panda had crossed a meter ahead of Rum Theory.  Congratulations to Peter, Rachel and Jay.
Great Lakes Champs

Congratulations are also due to Rum Theory in Viper #117 comprising Ron Schute, Tom Miller and Gavin Roleston who were the second winner at CORK taking home the Viper 640 Canadian National Championship.

Ron Schute

Team Panda and Team Schute both score a top quintile point in the run up to Miami

The third victory at CORK took place in the online version of the EFG Pan American Qualification Series. The winner of the online version of CORK was Argentinian sailor Toamz. Following his win at CORK Toamz lies in fourth place in the EFG Pan American Online Championship series and is the leading South American sailor only two places ahead of Gonzales Rios from Peru.

Eben Vivier from South Africa came second in the online version CORK Pan American qualifying regatta and maintains a strong overall lead in the online qualifying series which has now attracted no less than 620 entrants including some of the best professional and amateur sailors in the world.

Eben Vivier 2

Eben sails out of Cape Town and at 19 years old, he has already represented South Africa in the 420 class at the international level and his goal is to switch to the 470 in two years and mount an Olympic campaign and “bring a medal home”.  Eben has also been following the real world Viper 640, thinks that it is the hottest boat on the planet, and would love to be invited to Miami. (Ed, We’re working on that !)

Day 2 at CORK – Flux Panda pitch a perfect “no hitter”.

After six races we are on the verge of something never seen at a major championship regatta in the Viper 640 Class…a perfect game. Flux Panda have scored 6 bullets in 6 races.


With two races to go on Sunday, Flux Panda has already won CORK and scored top quintile points in this round of the EFG Pan American Qualification series. But can Peter Beardsley and Jay Rhame complete the perfect regatta score by pitching another pair of shut out innings tomorrow?


Saturday started with more Chamber of Commerce conditions for Kingston – not a cloud in the sky, air temperatures around 73 degrees. By noon, AP came down and with a 7-knot southwester, hope floated for a build into the teens. The build never materialized, but with 6-9 knots of wind all day, most classes were able to complete another 3 races, all twice around, with the start / finish line just 200 yards off the Portsmouth Harbour seawall. In Race 4, Darren Gilbert’s Black Sheep found better pressure on the right on the beat to round in first, with “Flux Panda” only 2 lengths in front of Ron Schute’s team and Kentucky Road Warrior Jeff Danhauer on Wild Turkey. Gilbert led at the leeward, but the Pandas jumped over the Sheep on the beat by finding a puff and favourable shift on the left, holding on for the win. Sheep finished second, and Schute and Wild Turkey had a tight finish after a late gybing duel.


The breeze began to build for Race 5 to hiking conditions, and teams tightened rigs in anticipation of more wind.  Flux Panda led wire to wire in tricky conditions that never built as promised. Sheep and Schute were on their games again, battling for the second spot and top quintile points for Miami. Schute had a big gain on the final run gybing out early in a lefty to sail around Sheep, the Rowlinson Brothers on Grendel and Wild Turkey to take the two. Race 6 had similar conditions, with the Pandas getting off the line clean and sailing conservatively in the oscillating shifts, with Schute and Steve Chapman taking the final two podium spots, with Grendel edging out Gilbert by a quarter length at the line.

With only two more races scheduled, Flux Panda has clinched the Regatta win but the battle for Canadian National Champions will be determined in a Sunday dogfight, with Gilbert only two points ahead of Schute and a number of others close behind.



Day One: CORK – Canadian Viper National Championship – EFG Qualifier

The first day of CORK One Design Week opened with ferociously shifty conditions that meant that almost everyone was a hero or zero at some point during the day.


Kingston, Ontario is known as the freshwater sailing capital of the world.  It was the
Olympic sailing venue for 1976 Olympics and ever since has hosted the Canadian Olympic Regatta at Kingston (CORK). It is renown for a southwester that builds through the afternoon and frequently tops out around 15-20 knots (or as the locals say, 30-40 kilometers per hour).

In 2013, CORK is hosting the Canadian Viper National Championships and the EFG Pan American Canadian Qualifier with Viper teams from the Great Lakes and Canada coming from as far East as Montreal and as far West as Chicago.

On Day 1 Kingston’s fabled southwester didn’t materialize , leaving teams with an unusual northeaster blowing from the St. Lawrence Seaway that saw 30-40 degree oscillations with the wind shifting through a total of 70 degrees throughout the day, never seeing more than 10 knots on the racecourse. In these difficult conditions there were place changes on every leg. In the first race, these difficulties were compounded by a sailing instruction amendment, which tripped up several of the leading teams who cut the offset mark, and subsequently retired after the finish, including the leader across the line skippered by Ron Schute on 117.  The vicious fluxing conditions seemed to suit New Yorkers Peter Beardsley and Jay Rhame teamed up for the first time in their hybrid “Flux Panda” program (or is it “Vicious Capacitor?”) who won races 2 and 3 in down to the wire finishes with teams swapping places with every puff.

Friday night saw an unofficial fleet meeting in a private room at Kingston Brewery, coordinated by Steve Chapman on Viper 87, including a fleet debrief and speed/tune Q&A, and the impromptu musical styling of Toronto’s Doug Hennessey (Viper 57), probably the best blues harmonica player in the Viper class world wide.


Australian Sport Boat National Championship is EFG Qualifying Event


The Australian Sport Boat Association is hosting their national championship out of Fremantle Sailing Club near Perth in Western Australia from January 2nd to January 5th 2014. The Viper 640 Class and EFG International are thrilled to announce that the ASBA National Championship will count as a qualifying event toward the EFG Pan American Championships in Miami in March 2014.

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Any competitor from any class may use their overall result at the ASBA National Championship as a qualifying score towards the championship. Boats that finish in the top quintile will score 1 point. Boats that finish in the second quintile will score 2 points and so forth to 5 points for fifth quintile finish. Competitors at the final event at Miami bring forward their best points from a qualifying event to add to their score in Miami.

The ASBA National Championship is also designated as the Viper 640 West Australia Championship and the winner of this event receives a free charter of a new Viper 640 in Miami (approximate value $4,000).

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Cowes Week Qualifier Results in a Tiebreaker

Cowes Week 1
After seven days of racing in the IRC Sport Boat Class, the EFG Pan Am Qualifying Event at Cowes Week resulted in a two way tie between “Betty” a Hunter 707 sailed by Jon Powell and “Oh No” a Viper 640 sailed by Julian Cook and Caroline Aisher.

It was a closely fought battle between the two leaders. Julian and Caroline started on their back foot because they had to miss the first day of racing, which scored as a DNC while Jon and his crew picked up a first place over 2nd place finisher James Flynn sailing his CORK 1720, Crescendo.

On arrival at Cowes, Jim and Caroline quickly made their mark winning the races on Sunday and Monday. Betty was 2nd on Sunday but slipped to 4th on Monday behind 2nd placed “Darwin Property” , a modified J80 sailed by Charlie Esse and Crescendo. The battle lines were now drawn. If “Oh No” discarded the DNC they were one point ahead of Betty.

Cowes week 2

Spectators watch the Sport Boats gybe in close formation close to the shore

On Wednesday (after no racing on Tuesday), Betty claimed back the 1 point by winning ahead of Oh No in second place. On Thursday, Oh No put on a two point lead by finishing 2nd while Betty finished 4th. Then on the last two days Betty pulled out two bullets while Oh No took 2nd place twice. This left the boats tied on ten points apiece. Since Betty had picked up more first place finishes than Oh No, including the critical one point on the opening day, Julian and Caroline congratulated Jon on winning the tie breaker.

There was close racing among the 16 boat sport boat fleet with a premium on gybing skills to stay close to the shore to avoid the Solent tide. Team Fer De Lance were glad to have obtained a 3rd place top quintile finish in Long Beach last month as they finished 2nd quintile 6th place at Cowes.


Cowes week 3

Cowes week 4

The Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows in even closer formation over the fleet on Friday.

Congratulations to Jon Powell who not only wins top quintile points towards the final in Miami but also wins a free charter boat for the event. Julian and Caroline also win top quintile points with the opportunity for a rematch with Jon in the sunny blue waters of Miami in March 2014. In third place at Cowes, Charlie Esse also picks up top quintile points.

More on Cowes Week Here: