On September 5th, after a democratic vote of its 33 member clubs, the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA) has selected the Viper 640 as the new boat to be sailed in its prestigious interclub Capdevielle Championship series. The voting process was the culmination of a multi-year selection process to find a successor for the Flying Scot, the boat in use for nearly 50 years.
The Gulf Yachting Association was founded in 1901 to support sailing and promote interclub completion. The GYA’s clubs follow the Gulf of Mexico coast from Sarasota Sailing Squadron in Florida, where the Viper holds its winter series, west to Houston Yacht Club, Texas, host to the 2013 Viper North Americans.
The GYA was looking for an exciting, contemporary platform which would get sailors reenergized about this nearly 100 year-old racing series, while not being intimidating to less experienced sailors. The new boat needed to be fast and high performance enough for youth and post-college sailors, while still being able to accommodate older or less athletic sailors. The Viper 640 fit the bill.
To say that the Viper Class Association and Viper owners around the world are thrilled at this news would be an understatement. The Viper was selected because it is an excellent sport boat platform, it has a thriving class association where the owners/class members “own” the design and determine the class rules, a world class builder, and, because the controlled evolution of the Viper over its lifetime, the Viper has proven to be a stable, but exciting and fun boat to race and sail.
The GYA, in selecting a new boat for the Capdevielle, initially considered approximately 50 boats, then narrowed-down the competition to a dozen which were invited for a sail-off in November 2014 and subsequently winnowed down to two finalists, the Viper 640 and the VX One—both designed by Brian Bennett. In a close vote, the Viper was ultimately selected.
The selection was a thorough process, both classes made presentations to the GYA Commodores in March 2015, and teams from each have been working hard through the season, introducing the boats, their sailing characteristics, class infrastructure, and all the purchase options, should that boat be selected.
The Viper team, including the Executive Committee, Class Administrator, Rondar Raceboats, and the local GYA Viper sailors who have done so much to make this happen, extends to the Gulf Yachting Association clubs, members, and friends a warm welcome to the ever-growing Viper community. If your club or region is looking for a class of raceboats to revitalize participation for all ages, sexes and skill levels, the Viper 640 may be the choice for you too.
About the Gulf Yachting Association
The Gulf Yachting Association was organized to promote the sport of yacht racing on the Gulf Coast and nearby areas. Founded in 1901 and reorganized in 1920, the GYA has grown from the original six clubs to over thirty member organizations. The GYA sanctions various yacht events, including interclub competition in Flying Scots, and serves to coordinate the activities of its members.
The GYA is a member of the United States Sailing Association, the governing body of the sport in this country, and is recognized as a member “yacht racing association” of that organization. In this capacity, the GYA provides representation to the national body for Gulf Coast sailors, runs quarter-final eliminations for national championships sanctioned by US Sailing, and provides an Appeals Committee to hear and decide appeals involving the racing rules.
About the Capdevielle Series
Dedicated in 1941 to the memory of Auguste Capdevielle, this trophy is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the Gulf Yachting Association. Auguste Capdevielle served as Commodore-President of the GYA from 1936 – 1939. He was also Commodore of the Southern Yacht Club, and for many years served as SYC’s Race Committee Chairman. This is the 74th year of competition between GYA clubs for this championship. There are only two older competitions in the GYA – the Lipton (1920) and the Knost (1938). The Capdevielle trophy and associated banner are presented to the winning club, and awards are also presented to the second and third place clubs. Any club that participates in all dozen Capdevielle Regattas will receive special recognition, however, a club must sail in eight Capdevielle Regattas to be counted as the Capdevielle Championship.
About the Viper 640
The Viper 640 is a high-performance one-design sport boat. At 21 ft (6.40 m) and only 749 lb (340 kg) it combines the stiffness of a keelboat with the acceleration and planing abilities of a dinghy. The Viper has a precise and exhilarating feel on the helm, a spacious cockpit for three or more people, strict one-design class rules and ease of launching by ramp or hoist. With fleets and regattas around the United States and the world, there is certainly Viper racing near you!