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Viper world champion to strike at Geelong

by Lisa Ratcliff 15 Oct 2016 22:48 BST 7-15 January 2017
Tayla and Harrison Rietman on Port Phillip Bay © Goodall Design

Up to 40 Viper catamarans are expected to contest the International Viper Class World Championship 2017 over January 7-15 including the current French world champion and two top national youth teams, with a Rietman twin on each boat.

Reigning Viper world title holder Emmanuel Le Chapelier will sail with Theo Constance given his crew from their 2014 win, Eric Le Bouedec, isn't available.

"We hope that many Europeans join us, this championship is unique," said Le Chapelier adding "I have stayed in Australia for the World Cup in December 2014 and we were warmly welcomed by all the teams. You must live at least once; I hope us coming will motivate other teams in Europe."

Eighteen-year-old Aussie non-identical twins Tayla and Harrison Rietman from Sandringham, Melbourne were once a crew, until dynamics determined they were better off on separate boats. They split and more positive results started to flow, and importantly family harmony was restored.

For the Viper Worlds '17, Tayla will skipper her Viper called Thanks Again Dad, under the Port Melbourne Yacht Club burgee and her brother will crew for the latest whiz kid, 14-year-old Jack Challands, son of the Australian Viper class president Simon Dubbin.

The Geelong world title presented by Rex Gorell Land Rover will be Tayla's third world championship having competed in France in 2014 and this year in Belgium at the F16 World Championship with her dad Gavin Rietman. Tayla was one of 10 women skippers among a fleet of 48 and finished third female helm.

The Viper class comes under the F16 umbrella and attracts a lot of youth, especially internationally, as a pathway to the only multihull class at the Olympic Games, the Nacra 17, which made its Olympic debut in Rio in August.

Secretary of the Australian Viper Association Gavin Rietman says, "The F18 is like the Mack truck and the Viper F16 is like the sports car of the family, very twitchy and responsive. It's high-performance; high-adrenaline sailing, and the reasonably flat water off Geelong will be a great venue."

Tayla missed the usual pathways program from small junior dinghy classes graduating to something more powerful. "I did six months in the BIC class then dad bought a Viper. I skipped all the junior classes because I was a competitive swimmer. I got out of that and didn't have anything to do," said the first year International Business Uni student.

"I started sailing with my brother, we crewed together for two years and we weren't doing that bad, but we weren't doing that great."

For the Viper Worlds '17 Tayla is teaming up with family friend, NSW based Lachlan White, who recently won the multihull division of the 50th CHS Secondary Schools Sailing Championships in his foiling A Class catamaran.

Viper crews from France and Belgium intend to make the most of an attractive deal on a cargo ship leaving Europe at the end of October and transport their own boats.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Viper Association expect up to 25 Australian crews and the rest international with a total fleet of 40 possible for the class' first southern hemisphere world championship.

Entries are open online and eligible crews may enter via by 5pm on Monday December 19, 2016. Racing begins on January 9, 2017 and crews take a break on the Thursday for a layday before the regatta's second half.

As the presenting partner for the annual Festival of Sails, Rex Gorell Land Rover is pleased to join with the RGYC for another world class sailing event to be held on Corio Bay.

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