Schweppes Viper 640 World Championships 2018

Conducted by South of Perth Yacht Club

Swan River, Western Australia

17-23 February 2018

Race officer Nick Hutton declares a clear start


Final Day’s video:




23/2/18 Jerwood Wins Viper Worlds – Day 4

Another Family World Title 

The Jerwood/de Vries family combination is well known at Australian Sailing headquarters, where Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries are Australian representatives in the 470 class.  They jumped back to 420’s in January to claim the World Women’s title in that class.  This time it is their parents in the spotlight.  Nick Jerwood, Nia’s father and a former world champion in the Flying Fifteen class, teamed up with her brother Matt and Monique’s father Brian to win the Schweppes Viper 640 World Championship 2018, conducted by Western Australia’s South of Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River.

Justin Scott repeated his success at last year’s Worlds by finishing second with two third placings in the last two races.  The American stated at the start of the campaign that he came to Perth expecting a top-five finish, so he would have been delighted with his performance.  Sailing with young local guns Conor Nicholas and Luke Elliot, the combination improved steadily throughout the regatta, with no worse than a third place in any of the final six races.

Match racer Keith Swinton, originally from Perth but resident these days in the USA, held down second place until the final day, bombing out with an early start in the last race of the series and allowing Scott to relegate him to third.

Conditions were difficult for both competitors and officials today.  The forecast strong winds did not materialize and instead winds shifted between 140 and 190 degrees for some time this morning before finally settling enough to allow racing to proceed after a long delay. Wind strength never reached ten knots.

It was a brave skipper who dared to stray out to the corners of the course in either of today’s races and the rewards went to those who worked the shifts down the middle.

The consensus from competitors was a big endorsement for the championship.  Most praised the organization and the way racing was run, the weather offered a little for everyone – from light breezes through to a testing 28 knot gear breaker, this regatta had it all. ~ Bernie Kaaks, SoPYC

Jerwood crosses the finish line to take victory in the last race of the Worlds, and with it, the World Championship!

Host Club Commodore Phil Warwick was on hand at the finish line to congratulate the winners

Wild champagne spray celebrations to wind up a successful regatta. From left, Nick Jerwood, son Matt Jerwood and Brian de Vries


23/2/18 Viper Worlds With One Day to Go – Day 3

In perfect conditions on Perth’s picturesque Swan River in Western Australia, another four races of the program were completed, leaving just two to go on tomorrow’s final day. Today’s breezes remained relatively steady between 250 and 260 degrees, ranging in strength from ten to fourteen knots – perfect weather for Viper 640’s.

Today also showed that Nick Jerwood is after all, fallible.  After racking up another two first placings in the first two races today, his uncharacteristic start in the third put him in the middle of the fleet. No amount of tacking could find a clean lane and he reached the top mark in tenth place, his worst performance of the series.  Maintaining that position on rounding the second time, Jerwood then executed a gybe set, heading to the northern side of the course when everyone else went south. The move failed, dropping him back further still to finish sixteenth – easily his worst result for the series.

In race 12, to end the day’s program, Jerwood found himself behind the leaders after the start but sailed strongly to emerge at the top mark in fourth place. On the final downwind leg he sailed inside the leaders and maintained a very deep line without dropping boat speed. At the final gybe for the finish-line, he squeezed ahead of American Justin Scott and Albany’s Michael Cameron to finish second to Martin Webster, who started strongly, sailed a brilliant first leg and went on to quietly extend his lead for an easy victory.

Denis Jones, sailing with Colin and Graeme Spence, notched his first win for the series in race 11.

“We’ve been starting conservatively so far so I decided to go for broke this time,” Jones commented after his all-the-way win.

Keith Swinton emerged at the top mark in first place in race 11, with Martin Webster and Justin Scott close behind.  Downwind speed has been a vulnerability for Swinton, who has one of the heaviest crew combinations in the fleet.  “We’re the slowest downhill boat in the whole fleet,” he joked. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”  That may be the case, but he has sailed the regatta with remarkable consistency, his worst placing today being a seventh, which leaves him comfortably in second place behind Jerwood on the overall points table.

Justin Scott, who finished second in the last World Championship, has now moved up to third place outright, even with a 17 included in his scoreline. When tomorrow’s races are completed, he should be able to drop the race which will leave him very close to Keith Swinton in the battle for second. Scott had a brilliant day today, scoring three seconds and a third from the four races. Britain’s Lawrence Crispin is carrying a 13 in his score, so he is another who might be in the mix for podium places.

The weather forecast for tomorrow’s final two races is daunting, with 20 knots plus likely on the Swan River.  The stage is set for a very exciting finish to what has already been an entertaining series.

Watch video highlights of day 3


22/2/18 Viper World Championship Cocktail Party and video highlights from Day 2

After a hard day’s sailing with four races completed, sailors were able to let their hair down at the Western Australian Maritime Museum for a cocktail party. In the shadows of the iconic Australia II (the real yacht, not a replica) and Jon Sanders’ Parry Endeavour, the yacht that carried him around the globe single-handed, non-stop for three circuits, Viper competitors enjoyed local wines and some great camaraderie knowing that a sleep-in was possible this morning with a lay-day scheduled. ~ Bernie Kaaks, SoPYC


21/2/18 Viper World Championships Day 2

After the second day of the Schweppes Viper Worlds in Perth, Western Australia, a total of eight races have been completed and scores recalculated to include a single drop.  A second drop will be allowed if thirteen or more races are completed. Conditions today could hardly have been more different from yesterday.  Shifty southeasterly breezes rarely reached more than twelve knots, in stark contrast to the 25-plus knots blasting across the Swan River yesterday.

The resilience of this fleet of sports boats is quite amazing.  As the survivors limped ashore after four brutal races yesterday, they reviewed the carnage.  Six of the 25 boat fleet suffered sufficient damage to force their retirement.  There were two dismastings, a broken boom, a holed hull and many minor issues.  Amazingly all yachts appeared on the start line today, ready to race, suggesting that some crews had very little sleep last night and the locker containing spares was given a serious raiding by those in need.

It is said locally that the only certainty about Perth’s weather when a tropical cyclone is brewing off the northwestern coast is that nothing is certain.  That is definitely the case this week. With the windward mark at the southeastern extremity of the course, the surrounding land mass created challenging shifts and those who did best were unafraid to throw in a short tack on approach.

Britain’s Lawrence Crispin, who has been sailing exceptionally well, was the beneficiary of a big shift in race 6. Working the right-hand side of the course early, along with countryman David Hitchcock, he picked up a shift along the western shoreline allowing him to establish a match-winning lead by the time he reached the top mark and bowl away to a convincing win. Hitchcock was less fortunate, swallowed up by the chasing pack and finishing seventh.

The surprise of the regatta, to many except the man himself, has been Flying Fifteen champion Nick Jerwood, who heads the points table after eight races, scoring five wins in the process. His crew includes son Matthew, a prominent skipper on the world match racing circuit and boat owner Brian de Vries. Jerwood has started near the centre of the line in most races and with the exception of a “U” flag disqualification in race 3, has emerged among the leaders each time. His defensive strategy in race 8 was classic.  Approaching the finish line with Denis Jones well ahead in a seemingly invincible position, Jerwood found himself locked in a battle with match racer Keith Swinton, Matt Jerwood’s sailing partner Alex Landwehr and American Justin Scott. The final outcome saw New South Welshman Martin Webster steal first place by sailing around the rest of the fleet and flying home in good pressure. Unfortunately, an arbitrary penalty cost him his first place. Jones maintained his position and Jerwood, sailing deep after several defensive gybes, was able to crank up the angle on the final approach to narrowly take the points from Landwehr, Swinton and Scott.

With fourteen races scheduled, the regatta is now past the halfway mark. Jerwood would seem the logical favourite from here, but Keith Swinton is a seasoned battler in hard campaigns and remains in contention as does the British champion Lawrence Crispin. ~ Bernie Kaaks, SoPYC

Watch video highlights of day 2


20/2/18 Viper World Championships Day 1 – Wild West Tames Vipers

Britain’s Lawrence Crispin heads the points table after four races in the Schweppes Viper Worlds 2018, being sailed on Perth’s Swan River in Western Australia.

As forecast, the weather turned brutal. The first race, started in a southerly of about 12 knots, was abandoned before the leaders reached the halfway mark of the first leg after a thirty-degree wind shift made it possible to sail to the windward buoy without tacking. A second attempt was made after the course and start line was adjusted but resulted in a general recall with most of the fleet on the course before the start signal. The third attempt was still aggressive, but the fleet was underway with two skippers, Chris O’Keefe and John Park, disqualified under the “U” flag. O’Keefe had a horror day, falling foul again in race 3 and retiring from race 4.

Aggressive starts characterised the day.  Race 2 began with no problems but in race 3 there were no less than five “U” flag disqualifications, including many of the pre-regatta favourites, Keith Swinton, Justin Scott, Nick Jerwood and Denis Jones. The experience will no doubt put them under pressure from here on since none can afford a second disqualification in the series.

Justin Scott was a dominant force in the light breezes of the Practice Regatta but found the going a lot tougher in today’s conditions, with a best, placing of fifth, leaving him languishing in tenth spot at this stage, but the talented American, with Australian crew Conor Nicholas and Luke Elliot will be keen to improve on that.  He finished second in the last Viper Worlds.

“We’re just happy to be here,” Scott said today. “But really I’m aiming for a spot in the top five. We’ve heard about the big breezes they’re expecting today and it’s a whole different game than the practice races, that’s for sure.”

Nick Jerwood finished the day with three wins and a disqualification, in which he crossed the finish in second place. With the crew including his son, match racing supremo Matt and the boat’s owner Brian de Vries, had few problems with the big breezes, displaying perfect control and plenty of speed. While they sit in third place overall at the moment, that will obviously change when drops come into play.

Albany sailor Murray Howson is no stranger to fresh conditions. Most of his sailing is in similar conditions so it was no surprise to see him sailing consistently enough to claim the second spot on the leaderboard.

As Justin Scott observed, it certainly was a different ball game today, with capsizes galore, some breathtaking spinnaker rides and unfortunately a dismasting and some gear damage.  The attrition rate reduced the final race today to just sixteen starters so the repair crews will be working overtime tonight to have boats ready for the next start at 11am tomorrow. ~ Bernie Kaaks, SoPYC

Watch some great video highlights from day 1.


19/2/18 Viper World Championships Race Practice Day 2 – Yanks Come To Play

Justin Scott, one of the many international skippers who travelled to the South of Perth Yacht Club to compete in the Schweppes Viper Worlds 2018 on the picturesque Swan River, stamped his authority on the fleet today with two wins, to move him to the top of the table in the Pre-World Practice Regatta. Sailing with local sailors Luke Elliot and Conor Nicholas, each of whom have chalked up international success themselves in the Laser class, Scott sailed away from the fleet in the third race of the series and won the final race on the last downwind leg, overtaking early leader Alex Landwehr in the closing stages.

Britain’s Lawrence Crispin made up for an unwelcome start to the day with his eighth and fifth placings to move into the top ten.  His day began badly when he ran aground on a mud bank near the launching area, needing a tow back into navigable waters.

“The race area is a bit like Bermuda,” Crispin said, comparing the Swan River to the last world championship for the class. “We are aiming to at least claim a place in the top five.” After today’s outing, that aim would seem to be well within the crew’s reach.

Nick Jerwood had a quiet day today.  A score adjustment from yesterday’s second race saw his dead-heat first place reduced to an outright second, which he followed up with a fourth and a sixth today to leave him in second place overall. “It’s great sailing with Matt (Nick’s son, a world match racing champion),” Nick explained. “He’s brilliant.” Strong praise indeed from a man who holds a world and several national titles in the Flying 15 class. Nick is a proven competitor at the top level and will be a force to be reckoned with as he and Matt become increasing familiar with the Viper 640.

Once again, today’s racing was conducted in very light conditions, the breeze rarely rising above six knots. Heavy weekend power boat traffic travelling at speed through the race area in big boats made conditions challenging for competitors as they struggled through significant bow waves, but when the championship begins tomorrow, the weekend warriors should be back at work and through traffic will no longer be an issue.

Weather conditions tomorrow, influenced by a cyclone in the far north of Western Australia, should be vastly different to the two days of practice racing.  By the time racing is scheduled to begin at 10 in the morning, winds will already be close to 20 knots and are forecast to rise to close to 30 knots by the end of the day. The form guide for the past two days then will count for very little!

Tasmanian race officer Nick Hutton was forced to do the detail work today, with his local race officer Les Swinton unwell and recovering at home. The pair will certainly have their work cut out to manage tomorrow’s expected blustery conditions. ~ Berni Kaaks, SoPYC


18/2/18 Viper World Championships Race Practice Day 1 – First Blood to Jerwood

Flying Fifteen supremo and former world champion Nick Jerwood, sailing with his son, match racing champion Matthew and boat owner Brian de Vries, set the pace on the first practice day on Perth’s Swan River with two firsts – the second shared with Justin Scott.

A quick look at the entry list reads like a “who’s who” of the yachting world, with champions from other classes scattered throughout the fleet.

Redline Racing’s Alex Landwehr and Patrick Vos, with an impressive match racing pedigree on the world stage, teamed up with Sam Monkhouse to register second and sixth placings in the two races. Former world youth champion in Laser radials Conor Nicholas added some local knowledge to Justin Scott’s team – good enough to share first place with Jerwood in race 2.

Former dinghy champions Rod Beurteaux and Denis Jones, Laser champion Zoe Thomson and the much-travelled Graeme Spence all added a touch of glamour to the Viper fleet, which already has many illustrious names in its ranks.

Today’s racing was in very light conditions, but with a cyclone now active on the north-west coast of Western Australia, the weather in the south of the State is going to be unpredictable during the next week or so, making for some interesting times on Perth’s Swan River.

Hosts, the South of Perth Yacht Club have put together a strong team, headed by Tasmanian Race Officer Nick Hutton, to manage the event and has planned a few interesting social activities to keep visitors entertained.

Practice Day 2 is due tomorrow, with racing proper scheduled to begin on Monday.




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Notice of Race

Sailing Instructions

Notice to Competitors


  Date   Time    Event
Sat 17 Feb 2018   0900-1230    Practice Regatta 1
  1400-1700    Registration & Measurement
  1800    Welcome BBQ & Drinks
Sun 18 Feb 2018   0900-1230    Practice Regatta 2
  1400-1700    Registration & Measurement
Mon 19 Feb 2018   0800    Competitor’s Briefing
  1000    1st Warning – Championship Race Session
Tue 20 Feb 2018   TBA    Championship Race Session
Wed 21 Feb 2018   TBA    Lay Day / Resail
Thu 22 Feb 2018   TBA    Championship Race Session
Fri 23 Feb 2018   TBA    Championship Race Session
  1800    Presentation Dinner & Prize Giving


Jury Notices

International Jury

Rut Subniran          Int. Judge     (THAILAND) – Chairman

John Standley        Int. Judge     (AUSTRALIA) – Vice Chairman

Jos M Spijkermsan  Int. Judge    (NETHERLANDS)

Christina Heydon    Nat. Judge   (AUSTRALIA)

Mark Townsend      Nat. Judge   (USA)

Race Officers

Nick Hutton        Int. Race Officer
Nick Hutton is an International Race Officer with over 20 years’ experience of conducting national and international sailing events in Australia and overseas. A finalist in the 2016 Australian Sailing Sports Professional Award in 2016, Nick has considerable experience in sports boat events including recent national and world championship regattas. Nick was a Director of Yachting Australia (now Australian Sailing) for six years and was the Oceania delegate to ISAF’s (now World Sailing) Youth World Championship Sub-Committee for four years. He is the Sailing Operations Manager at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, hosts for the 2018 SB20 Class World Championship.

Les Swinton       National Race Officer

John Rooke       State Race Officer

Phillip Draber     Club Race Officer