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Viper regatta coming to Bermuda

Bermuda is quickly earning a reputation for successfully bidding for the right to host major international sailing regattas.

In December of last year Bermuda won its bid to host the 35th America’s Cup and lightning has struck again little more than two months later with confirmation that our bid to host the 2016 Viper 640 North American Championships has met with equal success.

The regatta will be held in November and could feature as many as 40 teams battling for regional supremacy in the one-design sport boat in the Great Sound.

Somers Kempe, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore, introduced the Viper 640 Class to Bermuda in 2012 and was among those who played an integral role in the successful bid.Viper regatta coming to Bermuda

“Basically a few friends and myself approached the North American Viper 640 Association and put in a bid to get the event here,” he said. “We are expecting this to be a very big event. We are expecting about forty boats and it will be a good return for sponsors and all that jazz.”

Kempe said one of the main objectives of Bermuda hosting the regatta is to help raise the Viper 640 class’s profile on the Island.

“The opportunity was always out there to host the North Americans which is the biggest regatta for that class at this time,” said Kempe, who finished second at the 2010 Viper 640 North American Championships in Miami. “And we wanted to use that hosting opportunity as the catalyst to kick start the fleet in Bermuda, and it’s working because in a few months time we will have six local boats whereas only a few years ago we only had one. There’s a lot of interests in the fleet right now and people are very excited.”

Kempe will travel to the US East Coast later this week to compete in the three-man Viper 640 at the Bacardi Miami Sailing week to be held in the first week in March.

Also representing Bermuda in the Viper 640 fleet is Douglas DeCouto, president of the Bermuda Viper 640 Class Association and a former crew-mate of Kempe.Viper regatta coming to Bermuda

While in Miami, Kempe and DeCouto will promote the 2016 Viper 640 North Americans to be hosted by Bermuda.

“We will handing out information packets and update people on planning and the logistics involved with getting all those boats to Bermuda,” Kempe said. “We have actually partnered with the shipping companies in helping all the teams get their boats to Bermuda.”

Chuck Millican, who served as Bermuda’s chef de mission at last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, is also competing at this year’s Bacardi Miami Sailing Week in the J-70 Class.

by Colin Thompson Sailing Correspondent

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