Reviews of the Viper
“The Viper 640 was our unanimous choice as Sailing World's Overall Boat of the Year and top Performance One-Design ” - Betsy Allison and the Sailing World panel of judges. Read full review in Sailing World.
"Make no mistake about it; the Viper 640 is a fast and exciting ride." - Sailing Anarchy 2/07/06
“It handles a lot like a dinghy but its not a dinghy… I don't think you can call it a keelboat. Its something in between....its fast, comfortable to sail and well balanced. Upwind, the boat's fine bow slices through the water. Downwind, it gets up and planes.” - Paul Bieker. Read full review in 48 North Magazine
“It’s just a boat that makes you happy.” -- from the June 2010 Sailing World article "Don't Call It a Comeback" about the history of the Viper 640. Read the entire article.
Description and Technical Specifications
6.40 m 21' 1"
||340 kilo 749lbs
||Lifting Bulb Keel. 123 kilo 271lbs (including 220 lb bulb)
||4' 6" with keel down. 1' 10' with keel up. (keel is bolted down while sailing per class rules)
Main/Jib 252 sq ft
Spinnaker 425 sq ft
||PHRF 111 US Sailing Portsmouth Yardstick 70.4
||Over 180 boats in over 20 locations
||Rondar Race Boats
||3 or 2. Typical competitive crew is three people and a weight of 500 to 600lbs
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Performance:- An Uncompromising Race Boat
- Fine entry, long narrow bow and pronounced cross sectional flare in the midsection results in unusually low drag.
- Bulb keel and wide flared beam at the cockpit provides superior stability and enables a more powerful sail plan.
- The combination of fine entry, low drag, and powerful sail plan make the Viper incomparable in light air or chop. The Viper will start planing before any similar class (SB3, Open 5.70, K6, U20, Melges 20 & 24 etc).
- The combination of wide cockpit, superior stability and a sturdy carbon mast make the Viper fast and secure in a big breeze.
- The hull shape means that the Viper does not go 'bow down' planing downwind at high speeds.
Ease of Sailing:- Design Philosophy of “ Simple, Clean and Effective”
- Wide rounded decks means no droop hiking. The most comfortable boat in its class.
- Clean ergonomic cockpit layout means no unnecessary lines.
- Gnav (compression vang) creates more space for the crew.
- Asymmetrical spinnaker set and retrieved from a bow launcher
- The design emphasis was on simple and effective. "Sheet in and go".
- The Viper is accessible to a wide range of sailing skills.
- Typical overall crew weight (500-600lbs) allows a good combination of different crew weights. The light sheet loads make it easy for women and kids to crew.
Safety:- #1 Priority
- Combination of carbon mast and 220lb keel bulb (adopted by class in 2006) ensures that the Viper passes the stringent “self righting” test in the European Recreational Craft Directive and the international stability and bouyancy standard ISO 12217.
- Built in safety lines under the gunwhale to prevent losing MOB.
- Self bailing open transom.
- Closed cell, foam core hull provides positive flotation.
Launching/Transport:- Anywhere, Any Tide
- 3 point clip on bridle - easy launch from the hoist. Custom trailer- easy launch from ramp.
- Lightweight carbon mast is easily stepped by one person.
- Keel is easily lifted using purchase attached to halyard or mast tang - No crane or device needed from shore. Hoist the keel as you sail into the ramp.
- 1100 lb all up weight of boat,trailer sails and gear - Towable by any passenger car
- Sits at waist level on trailer due to lifting keel – no need for ladders
Construction and Cost:- High Tech’ build quality at price directly from builder
- Light weight and super stiff due to vacuum bagged vinylester closed cell foam sandwich construction. Harken top of the line hardware. Carbon mast.
- Base Boat cost of $34,995. Race Ready, including carbon mast, North sails, trailer.
- No license fees, no royalties, no distributor margins. Buy the boat directly from the builder.
- Used Boats range from $15k to $28k.
The Viper 640 is a 2 to 4 person, high-performance sports boat. It is FUN, FAST, EASY and AFFORDABLE. The Viper makes high performance sailing available to everyone. The open transom bails water instantly, even in extreme conditions. The Viper is simple, clean, and effective, with no protruding hardware and everything placed for efficiency. The Viper is light enough to be towed behind a compact car and simple enough to be rigged and sailed in under a half hour. The boat can be launched from a hoist or ramp. The 640 is strict one-design with no changes permitted to the boat as supplied by the class approved builder. The only option is sails, supplied by class approved sailmakers and strictly controlled through class rules, which encourages the development of tuning techniques with the help of the best sailors and sailmakers.
"The Viper 640 is a 2 to 4 person, high-performance sports boat. The open transom bails water instantly, even in extreme conditions. The Viper is simple, clean, and effective, with no protruding hardware and everything placed for efficiency. The Viper is light enough to be towed behind a compact car and simple enough to be rigged and sailed in under a half hour. The boat can be launched from a hoist or ramp ."
Designer: Brian Bennett
“One-Design classes begin with a boat, but succeed because of its members. The Viper 640 class is riding a wave of enthusiasm that may never reach the beach. “ - Curmudgeon, Scuttlebutt
" When you first take off downwind in the Viper, you realize that the boats are fast, real fast…… and then the perma-grin sets in as the funmeter get pegged." Scott Nixon.
“The Viper 640 is still one of the most fun boats I have ever sailed.” - Phil Crebbin Americas Cup skipper, 470 Olympian.
“ The Viper has a terrific feel on the helm and it is one of the best designed one-design keelboats available today.” - Dave Curtis, Six time Etchell world champion and Viper 640 owner
“Make no mistake about it, there’s a new kid on the block. Fast, close racing, big fleets, a great supportive builder and a class association that rivals any other. Go Viper!” John Porter, previous Melges 24 Class Association President , two times Finn North American Champion and Viper Owner.
"The most fun I have had racing one design in my entire adult life" Stu Hebb, Miami.
“My wife drives, my son crews and I do tactics.” - JB Braun, FD Olympian, Mumm 30 North American champion & BMW/Oracle Americas Cup principle sail designer and Viper owner.
"What a great boat and a fantastic class the Viper is"- Brad Boston. Sailmaker, Olympian, Ultimate 20 North American champion and Viper owner.
"One of the fastest growing and most exciting niches in sailboat racing " - Hal Smith, PRO "Roaring Twenties" circle, Charleston Race Week
"The one that left you wondering how you got so lucky" http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=89156&view=findpost&p=2238098 Post on Sailing Anarchy.
"With regard to the performance difference between the 20's. The Vipers are faster period." David Hammett, Melges 20' sport boat owner and Viper connoiseur!
“The Viper is totally up to date in hull geometry and rig.”
- Bob Perry, Read full review at Perry Yacht Design.
"The Viper 640 is without a doubt, "a sweet sailing boat." " Betsy Allison, Sailing World.