The country has been put through some adverse weather this winter (even California is having a cold one) with the exception of one place…. Miami Beach. Winter means Miami is in full flow and 2019 is no exception. If you haven’t been, then you are missing out.
I spent the last two weeks in South Beach and Coconut Grove getting ready for, and racing in the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta on the Viper 640 “Loco X.” One thing I can say with confidence is, this was one of the most fun events I have been to in a while. It might the best since KWRW a few years ago on the C&C30. What makes it so good? Well to start out… you are in Miami in the winter. If that is not enough then yes, the sailing is really good.
“Loco X” is owned by Ed Feo and our team consists of Ed, Phillip Toth and I. The Viper 640 is a nice downsize from the C&C30 and makes for a much more intimate regatta. I showed up to the Shake-A-Leg Center in Coconut Grove on March 1st to get the boat ready for a few days of training. I don’t want to promote this place too much because I don’t want it to fill up haha. The staff there is amazing, their mission statement is on point and it was a pleasure to be able to utilize their area.
After replacing all the lines and re rigging the boat (special thanks to Cody Schlub for coming down and helping fix the keel box area) we were ready for some practice. Getting to an event early and being prepared is half the battle. We had a coach come with us so we could elevate our program and try and be competitive. We are back in the class after an absence, and the progression of the fleet has been huge so having a coach was crucial. Paul Mckenzie came in and put us through the paces for a few days. One of the best points he made was when he had Phil and I change positions. If gave us insight into what the other person was doing and changed the team dynamic in a positive manner.
The Viper 640 fleet is continually growing and the competition is getting stronger every regatta. We decided it was important to get out East and race against the fleet here while we wait for the Viper circuit in California to ramp up. The World’s are being held in Long Beach in August so there is a long term goal with all this.
Our regatta started out well with a solid second place, I would attribute this to the practicing and coaching we received. We felt ready and confident and this made it easier to race. The next race was going even better… First around the second leeward mark and then unfortunately we broke our jib halyard. I ran up on the bow and used the spin halyard to hoist the jib so we could keep sailing. We had dropped into third but still had a good chance. We had to do a bald headed change at the weather mark and sail without a jib. We were short on boatspeed without a jib and dropped a couple more places. We had installed a two to one jib halyard and unfortunately tried to make it a bit too “Gucci” so we went with a bowline after that haha.
In between races we had to capsize the boat and fix the situation, which we did about 80%. We ran into some more problems in the next race due to this and ended up with our worst race. Tough start to the regatta but we had good speed and made it through the day.
Day 2 was great for us. We had amazing boat speed and solid racing. We pushed ourselves into third place for the regatta and we were tied for boat of the day in the Viper fleet. We had worked hard in training on boat speed, and in addition, I have been working hard with Alex Curtiss and Bruce Hollis (Our lead designer at Ullman Sails) on our sails. Our new jib is proving fast and it was good to be able to hold a lane against the top boats.
The final day was a bit of a let down. We were over early in the final race and gave up a podium finish to come in fourth for the event. It was our first event as a team and we just were not firing on all cylinders. The goal of the regatta was a to learn and get better and more cohesive as a team, which I think we accomplished due to all the hard work.
Team Evil Hiss did a fantastic job finishing strong and staying consistent. Congratulations to them. Our other West Coast friends from Santa Barbara finished second! We were rooting for you guys! Geoff Fargo and his team “Boomslang” are some of the younger guys in the fleet and have been throwing up some great results for the past few years. We were happy to see that the West Coast Viper 640 Fleet representatives mixed it up well.
Thank you to everyone who helped out and to all the Shake-A-Leg people that made our stay amazing. Big thanks to Patrick Wilson and Chris Stoke for their help in the yard and for letting me borrow what we needed. These guys have a new Viper and will be a huge threat in the fleet (oh btw they won the J-70 Class this weekend!) not to mention just being cool guys.
Next up for me is the NHYC to Cabo Race on the J-125 “Timeshaver” and then onto Charleston Race Week! 2019 is already an epic year and if you want to follow along please do so on Instagram @KeithMagnussen and FaecBook.
Ullman Sails Newport Beach