This year’s Long Beach Race Week marks several accomplishments for the Viper 640 Class on the West Coast. It’s our first 20+ boat starting line. Now for the Right Coast teams 20, 30 and even 40 Viper start lines are pretty commonplace. We’ve been hovering in the mid-teens for a couple of years, but have recently seen loads of new (and used) Vipers hit the West Coast.
Another landmark is the Vipers success at King Harbor YC in Redondo Beach. Last year we had one boat there…this year there’s 5 resident boats and they ALL sail regularly in the SoCal Viper circuit.
West Coast buyers represent nearly 40% of the new boats sold out of our Peabody, MA shop. Early on Rondar decided that Vipers should sell for the same price on both coasts to encourage growth out West. It’s working.
What’s the real story here? Small, performance boats! As of today, 42% of the boats racing this years LBRW are under 25 feet. We all know how the huge growth in small sportboats at Charleston is leading to that event’s success and it certainly seems that LBRW is closely following suit. I predict that next year, the under 25 foot classes will makeup perhaps 60+% of LBRW.
So far, we’re at 23 entries for the Vipers, led by defending champion,Team FNG, Jim Sears, an ABYC member and co-host of the CBS network daily show “The Doctors.” We’re still pushing for 25! Here’s a little video from Team FNG and our friends at Ullman Sails from LBRW 2012:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY8U2kdazYk (please embed video!)
Alamitos Bay YC, co-host of LBRW will host the Viper North American Championship in 2014. That could well be a fifty Viper regatta! If racing in a fleet of easy to sail, small, fast, fun, competitive boats sailed by people who like to have fun, sounds like your idea of a good time too, contact us for a test sail or to learn more about joining in!
Drew Harper, Rondar Raceboats USA, West Coast