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Red Bull team set for latest challenge

Latest test: Team BDA sailors will be in action in the Great Sound this week

Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailors will be among the local hopefuls competing in this week’s inaugural Viper 640 International Championship in the Great Sound.

The regatta features some of the best sailors in the one-design keelboat who will provide a stern test for the island’s Red Bull team who will make the adjustment from training in the GC32 foiling catamaran to sailing in a more conventional rig.

Also flying the island’s flag are skippers Douglas DeCouto, Alec Cutler, Rockal Evans and Somers Kempe, the Bermuda Viper Class executive and race chairman.

Evans, a 2020 Olympic hopeful, is the national Viper 640 champion while Kempe, the past Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore, has thrived in the boat overseas having won last year’s EFG Winter Cup in Miami.

More than 40 teams from North America, Europe, Australia and Bermuda have registered for the regatta, that will run concurrent with the first Viper 640 North American Championship to be held here.

The overall winner will be crowned as the first Viper 640 International champion while the highest-placed North American team will receive the Class’s coveted North American Championship trophy.

The teams already based in Bermuda have taken advantage of ideal conditions to fine tune last minute preparations in the boat. “We have had two gorgeous days of practice racing for the rest of the fleet and everyone is happy and ready to race,” Kempe said.

“Everything is coming together and we are looking forward to a really good international championship.”

The championship, the largest one-design keelboat regatta held in local waters, starts tomorrow and runs until Saturday and is being jointly hosted by the RBYC and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.

The Viper 640 was designed and built in 1996.

The Class was relaunched in the United States in 2006 with a new, self-governing Viper 640 Class Association and a new builder.