North Sails NEWS

August 29, 2019


Boat Speed & Preparation Goes a Long Way

viper 640 sailing

The 2019 Viper 640 World Championships in Long Beach, CA, supplied sailors with varying conditions across the board in regards to both wind strength and wave state. The first two days were classic Long Beach: breezy with small swell. The third day proved to be quite different due to a weather pattern referred to as the “Catalina Eddy”, which brought lighter air and much choppier conditions. Jackson commented; “Keeping a Viper moving in those conditions was trying to say the least!” The fourth and final day of racing found sailors with a moderate to strong breeze and heavy chop, but only on port tack. North Sails expert Jackson Benvenutti joined the Eagen brothers on Cajun Underwriting and commented; “Our North Sails proved to be the fastest and most versatile sails in all of these conditions, giving us what we needed to win the regatta.” The team scored an impressive five bullets over the course of the regatta and was deemed unstoppable. Although the championship was just last weekend, for Cajun Underwriting it started way before they got to California.

Marcus and Andrew Eagan, and Jackson Benvenutti made the Worlds their goal a year before it even happened. Planning ahead, they had a few different approaches to solidifying their strategy before the big regatta. Here’s where their journey started.

The Viper Winter Series in Sarasota & practice days

This was really where the team tested themselves against top-level competition in the class (except for the West Coast teams). They treated the winter series circuit events as serious regattas, but in doing so experimented with small setup changes and tests.

Local regattas along the Gulf Coast

The team made sure they sailed together as much as possible to maintain good communication flow. Sailing together also kept sailing the Viper fresh in their minds. The boat was always running well and in tip-top shape. Small improvements can be made at any event, whether it be upgrades, sailing styles, or small tweaks to sail trim.

Enlisting a high-caliber coach

Ed Adams, coached the team for a weekend with two other local boats (one of which became their tuning partner, Lee Eikel on Last Call). Throughout the weekend the team was able to develop a better sense of rig tuning, trim, and boat handling. “Coaches help a ton,” said Jackson. “If you’re really looking to up your game, then there’s no better way than to spend a day or two with a great coach. Being coached speeds up the learning process!”

viper 640 sailing championship

Countless hours of boat preparation

The team went into the boat being 100% prepared. They went over every fitting, every line, every piece of hardware on the mast, and every single inch of the boat to make sure it was perfect. They spliced whipping into the sheets so they had settings for both the leeward jib sheet and the windward jib sheet. They replaced the halyards with high quality rigging from Gorilla Rigging and then trimmed and whipped the halyards to the perfect length. Every single piece of gear that wasn’t absolutely perfect was modified to run as smoothly and properly as possible. Not to mention polishing the boat for a few hours after it made the cross-country trek.

“Our sails proved to be the fastest and most versatile sails in all of these conditions, giving us what we needed to win the regatta.”


They talked to each other a lot. Even when they didn’t have any immediate regattas or practices scheduled, they would end up chatting on the phone about some of the smallest things; fittings, sail trim, and rig tune. This kept the team excited and focused on all of the details that need to be attended to in order to win the world championship.

Having a tactical mindset for a long event

“Once the regatta was just about to get underway, the three of us knew it was going to be extremely important to be conservative at the beginning. The old saying, “You can’t win the regatta on the first day, but you certainly can lose it” comes to mind. We would make sure we had “safe” pings on the Velocitek, and also safe starting strategies,” said Jackson.

We know the start is definitely the most risky part of the race and a really bad start can make or break an entire regatta, so they went about being conservative by always searching out the less-dense areas of the line that were fairly close the favorite end. “We wanted to start clean,” said Jackson. “We relied on our speed and established ourselves in the top group at each start. For example, if the pin was favored, we’d look to start about 1/3 up from the pin where we might find a little less density and get off the line easier than mixing it up trying to win the pin.”

The team feels they may have actually been a little too conservative on the starting line the first two days of the regatta, but they couldn’t argue with that kind of mindset when it worked out the way it did. “A long event is a game of averages and avoiding the big mistakes,” said Jackson. If you do those two things well, you’ll generally end up in a pretty good spot at the end. Focus on the process and the results will come.”

“We wanted to start clean. We relied on our speed and established ourselves in the top group at each start.”

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted an incredible regatta,” said Jackson. “Their local team of Ed “Spot” Spotskey and Tim Carter, and the support of the West Coast Fleet Captain Geoff Fargo, and Edward “Buttons” Padin of the Viper Class really made this event one for the record books. The next club that hosts this event has some seriously large shoes to fill! ABYC is certainly ‘The place to be!’”

Client Tim Carter won the Sportsmanship Award, recently donated by the Kleinschrodt family. Congratulations Tim for the highly deserved award!

North Sails powered teams finished 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10. Find out more on our championship-winning Viper sail designs.

Full results

viper sailing worlds championship

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