The Alamitos Bay YC-hosted Goslings 2019 Viper 640 World Championship wrapped up Saturday as 41 teams raced a total of 13 races over a four-day period.
Marcus Eagan, Andrew Eagan, and Jackson Benvenutti from Bay Waveland YC won the World Championship without having to sail the final race. In Eagan’s trophy acceptance speech he said, “ABYC is much like my home club in Mississippi, where regatta success relies on the club’s volunteers, and to all of you I am thankful.”
ABYC proudly represented with 11 entries, and three of those teams finished in the top 10. Placing fourth — Kevin McCarthy, Greg Dair and Zak Merton; fifth — Jay Golison, Steve Flam, and Eric Doyle; sixth — Mike Pentecost, Garrett Brown, and Chuck Tripp.
On behalf of the regatta’s title sponsor, Rinear Coulter, Goslings event director, said, “My dad (Clive Thatcher, ’72 Olympian-Star Class) and my professional boat captain husband are both big boat racers. I have the opportunity to witness racing every week — but going on the water today in Long Beach was truly a rush of excitement.”
“The Viper 640 fleet is like no other, there is always carnage, at every mark there is plenty of action — this is a regatta I looked forward to attending. The chairman, Ed Spotskey, who I must have shipped 100 boxes too, and staff under club manager Rick Roberts’s direction did not miss a single detail. This event is 100% classy. We sell ‘enjoyment in a bottle' and Viper worlds were worthy.”
According to organizers, this was the third Viper Worlds held, and the first in the United States. This regatta was the second largest gathering of these 21-foot high performance boats. The diverse conditions were a true test of talent.
With the exception of Newport Harbor’s Baldwin Cup last April, this was Goslings first major sponsorship of a West Coast regatta. From the time boats starting arriving, more than a week before racing, there was no trace of “the other red hat” — you know the ones — with the yellow map of Barbados. They have been replaced with crisp red hats with Gosling’s iconic seal embroidered smack in the middle.
Ed Spotskey, whose most folks call Spot, has experience hosting youth regattas and shared his goal when selected to chair the Worlds with adult competitors, “I wanted people to talk about this regatta 20 years from now.”
Believe me they will.
Trophies extended five deep. They were unique and trophy display area was second only to Transpac. There was a clear sound system, a photo op area for the podium finishers and flying butterflies.
Wait — Flying Butterflies? Yes, a team of Cirque du Soleil-caliber performers entertaining with aerial routines was one component of the off-the-water activities that raised the bar for future regattas.
Award-winning photographer Sharon Green did an absolutely superlative job capturing the color, flavor and texture of the Goslings Viper 640 World Championship. There was state-of-the-art video and drone work by Mikey Foxtrot.
The gourmet meals each evening were created by Teak Catering culinary team led by Executive Chef Pierre Francis Barit, a James Beard Award winner whose resume includes galley duty at Princess Cruises.
Competitor Jim Sears referred to those competing as, "The Garage Band of sailors.”
These sailors compete because they love the sport. There were no late night protests. The winners’ acceptance speeches were songs of gratitude for the race committee, fellow competitors and organizers.
Labor Day Regatta
With no time to rest on their laurels, ABYC is known for their holiday weekend regattas — 56 teams have registered at press time for this weekend’s Labor Day regatta.
The largest fleet so far is the Cal 20s — with Chuck Clay and Pat McCormick already entered. They won the prestigious Cal 20 Nationals, where these ABYCers beat out the other 22 teams competing in the gold fleet in the regatta hosted by King Harbor YC.