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North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Zeke Horowitz
Images © Alan Staniforth


Good starts and pure speed were keys to success in Sarasota


The final stop of the Sarasota Viper Winter Series finally delivered some beautiful conditions and 29 teams were able to complete eight races over the course of the weekend in 10-20 knots.

Physical stamina and technique were at a paramount as the big breeze punished any mistakes made by the teams. Without big wind shifts, starting and speed were key. North Sails clients finished strong, showing great consistency that allowed them to have spectacular overall finishes in the series.

We asked Winter Series champion, Zeke Horowitz, to share how he was able to sail upwind with great speed in the big breeze. Here is what helped him to the win the overall series.

“Make sure you know how many turns it takes to get to 40 on the uppers on your PT1 when you feel fully overpowered and set the lowers to show a hint of weather poke in the middle of the mast. Make sure to get at least 3.25″ of mast blocks in front of the mast. The name of the game is keeping the head stay as tight as possible and keeping a steady angle of heel. Playing the jib sheet along with the main sheet (using heavy vang) helps with both of those key elements. Keys for downwind sailing are conservative boat handling (sets, douces, and jibe) and active crew weight. Having the crew weight move out and back when you get the ‘knock down’ puffs helps keep the rudder in the water and the bow down. Don’t underestimate the power of good puff calls from the crew! If the team knows the puff is coming, they’ll be ready to react quickly.”

Learn more about the fastest Viper 640 sails. Contact our experts today for any additional questions you may have.


2017-18 Sarasota Viper Winter Series
1 Zeke Horowitz
3 Jay Rhame / Peter Beardsley
5* Paul, Ken, and Karl Kleinschrodt
6 Jonathan Nye
7 Robert Harrison
8 Mike Dowd / Will Stocke
9 Geoff and Mary Ewenson
* Denotes Partial North Sails Inventory


Jake Doyle, Zeke Horowitz and Brendan Healy, overall winners of the 2017-18 Viper 640 Winter Series. Missing Ian Coleman who also sailed with Zeke in the first two events.


Story Contributors

Zeke Horowitz Claims Overall Viper 640 Winter Series headshot
Zeke Horowitz

One Design Expert — Annapolis, Maryland

Zeke Horowitz grew up in Sarasota, Fla. where he quickly took to sailing and began racing in the Optimist Class at the age of nine. His Optimist racing took him all over the world and inspired his passion for sailing...