The Viper 640 is a high-performance one-design sport boat. At 21 feet long and only 748 lbs, it combines the stiffness of a keelboat with the acceleration and planing abilities of a dinghy. The design mandate was "Simple, Clean and Effective". The Viper has a precise and exhilarating feel on the helm, a spacious cockpit for 3 people, strict one-design class rules and ease of launching by ramp or hoist.
Buying a Viper 640 is easy! Our sole Class approved builder, Rondar Raceboats, has reps covering all of North America. They're all enthusiastic Viper owners who are here to help introduce you to the Viper with a demo sail and guide you through the process of buying your own Viper 640. CLICK HERE to locate and contact the rep nearest you!
On the off chance that you haven't been paying attention, Rondar Raceboats is now building Viper 640s in the U-S-of-A in Peabody, Massachusetts (or as Texans refer to it, "South Canada"), to go along with the home of Viper 640 production for the past several years at Rondar Raceboats in the UK (or as Texans refer to it, "Southwest Norway"). The guys at Rondar USA rolled out the first U.S.-built Viper in many years for the 2012 North Americans, and have been getting orders ever since. As you can see in the video below, they have to walk very quickly to get everything done in a day, but as you can also see in the video, there's some magic involved in building the deck of a Viper 640. Rumor has it there will be more videos coming from these guys in the near future as epoxy fumes allow. If you have limited time, fast forward to the 0:25 mark when things really heat up (hint: watch the back of the boat at the top of the screen). And if you missed this video being posted a split second faster, consider liking the Viper 640 page on Facebook.
The last Viper regatta on Western Long Island Sound for 2012 had no entry fee, no recorded scores, no trophies, the smallest turnout of the year, and had boat owners in a panic derigging boats to avoid a hurricane that was closing in on the area. Yet it might have been the most successful regatta of the season.
Most Viper owners have taken sailors out before either formally or informally to demo the boat -- it's a win-win, you get to go sailing, maybe the person coming out is a friend who sails in other classes or who hasn't done much sailing, or is a prospective owner who is thinking about getting a boat and joining your fleet (even better than taking a friend sailing!). As an experiment and to promote fleet growth in the area, we wanted to see what would happen if we put multiple demo boats in the same place at the same time, set some marks, blew some whistles, and turned Viper novices loose in close proximity to each other. Would the newbies figure out the closing speeds on opposite gybes when both boats are doing 10-12 knots? Would they get the feel for the boat fast enough? Would they have a good enough time to tell their spouses, kids and friends?
The original forecast called for very light winds. Hurricane Sandy changed that, and gave us 11-15 knots from the east 50 hours before the storm hit the area and caused significant damage to the sailing facilities at LYC. Five owners lent boats -- some also sailed as a crew/coach to teach the 12 newcomers from the tristate area (most were from WLIS clubs other than LYC) how to get sails up and down and the boat around the racecourse quickly. Nearly everyone got the hang of it by the second race. The racing was surprisingly close, and the newbies got their competitive juices flowing early while trying to shut out the other demo sailors on the starting line and stealing holes to leeward. Four different teams won the five races. Other area owners chipped in to serve as race committee and mark boats. The hosts provided beverages afterward. No scores were posted or trophies provided since that wasn't what the day was all about. Everyone had a great time, some people even said they'd be putting in deposits. Huge thanks to everyone for participating in what we hope will become an annual event.
Several people have requested that this guy be profiled for a while now...not just *that guy*, but the f***ing new guy, Dr. Jim Sears. Jim may not be the new guy anymore now that he's had his Viper for two years, and he certainly doesn't sail his Viper like the new guy, taking podium places up and down the west coast in 2012, including a first at Long Beach Race Week, second at Mardi Gras Race Week, and third at Pacific Coast Champs. Jim is talking about bringing his west coast style (and Viper) to the east coast this winter, starboard tackers beware. If his mug looks familiar, you're watching too much daytime television (though in Jim's honor, if you're watching, don't change the channel). As far as we know, Jimbo is the only Viper sailor who is also an Emmy nominated television personality (dare we say star?), and if you didn't know that, then you better get to know Jim...
Dave Nickerson is the Viper 640 class's Technical Committee chairman. Dave, along with his Tech Committee colleagues Ben "Carbon Mongoose" Steinberg, Tim "Timbo" Carter and Professor Bob Matthews, are the keepers of the sword, inspecting Vipers with rulebooks in hand and ruthlessly burning tow lines that are a millimeter too thin and declaring that the brilliant and complicated spinnaker halyard retrieval takeup system that you spent all summer designing isn't class legal. Still, there are benefits to knowing the Class Cop, and in Dave's case, the knowledge acquired during his hundreds of hours of boatwork spent upgrading and perfecting one of the oldest Vipers on the racecourse can be transmitted over a beer post-race. The Tech Committee are also the guys who think about improvements to the class rules to keep the boat modern and fun to sail. Dave's also not one of those "soft drivers" who doesn't know what to do once he steps forward of the mainsheet bridle, as he spends 50% of his time crewing his boat when co-owner Moise "Mo" Solomon is on the helm. Dave is a veteran of at least a dozen one design classes, so we wanted to pick his brain about why he likes the Viper the best out of all of them...