2012 Review


52nd Annual National Championship

75th Annual SMYRA Championship

August 4 & 5 …………………………………………………………………………….……………….BY:  JOHN C. POWERS







Megansett Yacht Club was host to 19 boats competing in the annual Cape Cod Knockabout Class National & SMYRA Championship Regatta last weekend. Yacht clubs represented were Waquoit Bay, Woods Hole, Yarmouth Sailing, and Megansett.

The two championships have distinctly different formats.  The SMYRA Championship, now in its 75th year, splits the fleet into two divisions in which boats sail to qualify for a final championship race.  Six boats in the 1st division and seven boats in the 2nd division would qualify for the Championship race, and the winner of this race is awarded the coveted Scudder-Cahoon trophy.  Boats that do not qualify for the Championship race, sail as a separate fleet in the Consolation division.  The SMYRA format is scored using the “high point” system.  The boat accumulating the highest combined points in the qualifying division and the championship race is awarded the Crowell-Small trophy.  There is also a Club Challenge trophy which is awarded to the yacht club with the highest combined score.

The National Championship event, now in its 52nd year, is a 4 race series which is scored by the traditional low point system.  A first place finisher scores ¾ point, 2nd place is 2 points, 3rd is 3 points, etc…….   The boat with the lowest combined score after 4 races is the winner.

The early sunny morning at Megansett harbor on Saturday was quickly overshadowed by a fast moving fog bank which caused some concern to the Race Committee as they discussed the location of the racecourse and how to keep track of the fleet in the low visibility.  As luck would have it various events quickly put the regatta schedule on “Megansett Time” which is defined as approx. 45 minutes behind “World Time”.  This peculiar time delay is an as yet unexplained phenomenon that is indigenous only to the small geographical area of Megansett.  Although it has been reported that the phenomenon has been found occasionally on the off cape side of the canal bridges.      

 The Megansett Time delay was just enough to see the fog lift slightly and Race Committee chairman Dick Marcel along with his co-chairman Jim Hoar made the decision to go.   The Race Committee boat Pure Bluff, captained by Andrew Powers, headed out to set the course.  John Kingston and Chris & Marge Loschi were also onboard as able assistants.

 Megansett’s Joe Hurley was in command of the Collins Launch with First Mate Paul Gallagher and followed the Race Committee to the course to assist as the Mark boat and Chase boat.  Photographer Ben Streber rounded out the crew onboard the Launch.





The fog had lifted and visibility was good so, racing marks were set for Windward-Leeward courses, final adjustments were made, and as the fleet settled into the starting area the show got quickly underway.  The SMYRA format would be the first event of the day.  The two divisions, one with 9 and the other with 10 boats started 5 minutes apart.  Soon, all 19 boats were battling to the weather mark in a tenuous SW wind of approx. 10+ knots.  The SW breeze had not settled in to its normal steady self and sailing was very difficult as boats jockeyed to find the favorable side of the course.  These conditions would be the order of the entire day and would challenge the racing skills of even the most experienced sailors in the fleet.

The 2 divisions quickly pushed their way around the course and as the race committee tallied the results the top 6 finishers in  Div. 1 and the top 7 finishers in Div. 2 were qualified as the Championship Race competitors.  As the final boat crossed the finish line, the crews quickly re-grouped and the Race committee signaled for the start of the Championship Race.  Woods Hole’s Charlie Hokanson sailing Luciole quickly established a lead on the fleet .  Cynthia Limberakis sailing SOS out of Waquoit was in hot persuit and Megansett boats  Obsolete (Anthony Julian) and Twinkle (Steve Cowen/Adrienne Stuart) were close behind.  Luciole  maintained a comfortable lead all the way to the finish line to claim the victory and the Scudder-Cahoon trophy.  Luciole would also accumulate the most points in the combined races to win the Crowell-Small high Point trophy.   

The non-qualifying boats followed the Championship division in a Consolation Race and Escargot sailed by Brett Longworth of Woods Hole was the winning boat.  Escargot, as winner of this race, picked up a ½ point for Woods Hole’s Club Challenge total.




Having dispensed with the SMYRA event, the Race Committee and the fleet quickly shifted gears and set up to sail the first 2 races of the Nationals series where the entire 19 boat fleet would be racing together.  Adjustments were made to the racing marks as the wind settled in a bit more, and the starting line was lengthened to accommodate the larger fleet.

Luciole did not miss a beat and continued her SMYRA performance with impressive wins in these first two Nationals races.  Waquoit’s SOS has two championship skippers onboard, Cynthia Limberakis and Kristina Woods, and they split the command duties between the two championship events.  Kristina was now at the helm for the Nationals series, and did not disappoint as she sailed to a 2nd and 3rd place in these first two races.  Andrew Kingston’s Fantasy out of Yarmouth Sailing was near the top of the fleet with a 3rd &  8th place and Megansett’s Andrew Gallagher was solid with two 4th place finishes.  Shep Halloran’s Late Show, Web Collins’ Mae Win III, Steve Cowen’s Twinkle, Nick Bronski’s Blue Moon and Anthony Julian’s Obsolete rounded out the top half of the fleet as the day’s racing closed out.

As predicted, Sunday morning brought increased SW wind and clearing skies.  After a few Boxes of Joe, DD Munchkins, and many pieces of fantastic blueberry cake (Compliments of Judy Powers)  the crews headed to their boats and quickly made their way from the harbor following the Race Committee. 

Conditions on the racecourse were quite different than the previous day.  Wind direction was still out of the SW but, as mentioned above, had increased significantly and seas were starting to build, even at 9:30 AM!  Skill sets would have to be shifted from those of Saturday.  Sail handling and boat handling would be entirely different from the lighter air sailing of the previous day.

The Race Committee elected to use the longer Windward-Leeward-Windward (twice around) courses for these final two races.  The windward finishes would make for exciting endings to a terrific weekend of racing!

Andrew Gallagher had Yanqui up to speed quickly in both of these races and wasted no time in dueling with Charlie Hokanson’s Luciole for the top spot in the first race.  Yanqui held on to take the first win just ahead of Luciole.  Andrew did it again in the 2nd race with a convincing win.  Luciole was in the hunt but a breakdown nearly put them out of the race.  Luciole’s crew managed a temporary repair and were able to complete the course.  Web Collins turned things around from his Saturday performance and nailed 2 solid 3rd place finishes.  Anthony Julian came on strong with finishes of 4th and 2nd.   SOS was in

contention for one of the top 3 overall spots in the Nationals but, a broken main halyard forced them to drop out of the last race.  Gallagher’s solid consistency on Saturday and two wins on Sunday would give him a 5.5 point margin over the next place boat and the 2012 National Championship.





Tom Reilly’s Megansett Time was on its final run of the second race when a gust hit the boat.  With the spinnaker to the windward side and the crew hiking the boat rolled to windward and capsized with no chance of recovery by the crew.   Joe Hurley quickly had the Launch on scene to assist the now swimming crew.  After checking that the crew was safe and uninjured, Megansett Time was stabilized and soon under tow.  John Kinston of Yarmouth Sailing was onboard the Launch and was an able assistant to Captain Hurley in the rescue operation.  Mackie Spencer, a crewmember on Obsolete, entered the water to assist with the operations.  Many of the boats having finished the race circled the area to recover floating boat parts and offer assistance if necessary.  Megansett Time was towed back into the harbor where her crew was able to bail out and put all of her parts back together.  In short order she was back on the security of her mooring, and her crew was drip drying at the post regatta festivities.

All competitors headed back to Megansett Yacht Club for  good food and beverages and post racing tales of the high seas.  Results were tallied, awards were awarded and the regatta was finalized.  As crews made their way home after a tiring day on the water, anticipation was already building for the 2013 Championship Weekend to be sailed in Waquoit Bay!