Megansett Yacht Club hosted the annual Cape Cod Knockabout Class Regatta on July 26 through July 28.
Eighteen boats from Megansett, Waquoit, Woods Hole and Sail Cape Cod in Hyannis participated in the regatta, which included two event formats. On Friday the fleet sailed in the 82nd SMYRA Championship, and on Saturday and Sunday, the 59th annual National Championship was sailed.
The SMYRA Championship—named after the Southern Massachusetts Yacht Racing Association—splits the fleet into two divisions, in which boats race to qualify for the championship race. The event is scored using the traditional high point system. Crews compete for awards in the championship race and recognition for the high point score, which is a combination of points in the elimination and championship races. There is also a Club Challenge award for the yacht club with the highest combined score.
The Nationals series sailed on Saturday and Sunday is a straight-up boat-for-boat competition with the entire fleet sailing together. This event is scored on the low point system, with the winning boats having the lowest score.
Race management was absolutely spectacular with a combined three-boat Race Committee effort. Pure Bluff with Andrew Powers, Mary Chase, Aja McElhiney, and Jeff Hart (on Saturday) was the main Race Committee boat at the start/finish line. Backing up Pure Bluff for race patrol and mark setting was Jim Powers with Rick Hyotte of Sail Cape Cod-Hyannis as crew on the Collins’ Launch out of Megansett. Mark Morley of Megansett was also on race patrol onboard Voyager.
Friday’s SMYRA races were sailed in light to moderate west-southwest winds, which would prove challenging to all crews.
Knightmare, skippered by Jobie Chase with (Typhoon) Tory Chase and Margaux Hein as crew, finished first in Division 1 with Anthony Julian’s Obsolete just 11 seconds behind in second place and Fred Denton’s Skimmer 53 seconds behind in third place. Obsolete had a crack crew of Andrew Julian and Mackie Stuart, and Fred Denton had the very capable Fran Elder and Karen Soenen onboard Skimmer.
Web Collins and Mae Win III finished first in Division 2 with a very firm lead over the fleet. Mae Win is crewed by the very seasoned racers Lee Davis and Noel Roberts.
Knightmare won the 12-boat championship race by a healthy 1-minute margin and would take home the Scudder-Cahoon trophy. Sailing was very difficult for this second race of the day as the unsettle wind was playing tricks, requiring intense concentration by the skippers to keep their boats moving. The fleet spread out for this race with 45 secconds to 1 minute separating all of the top boats, an indication of the degree of difficulty experienced by the helmsmen. Obsolete and David Epstein’s Luciole took the second and third spots in the race. Luciole was crewed during the weekend by a combination of the very capable Lisa Murray, Malcolm Child, and Steven McGuire.
Cynthia Limberakis’ SOS came out on top in the Consolation Race, followed by Tom Lanagan’s Holy Moly and Tom Reilly’s Megansett Time.
With a high point score of 19½ points, Knightmare’s Jobie Chase would take home the Crowell-Small trophy.
The Club Challenge was won by Megansett with 73¾ points, followed by Woods Hole with 49½ points and Waquoit with 32 points.
Race Management for the National Championship series on Saturday and Sunday was again spectacular, with all of the aforementioned personell on their “A” game. The Race Committee was able to get off three races on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Saturday’s conditions of even lighter and more variable westerly winds raised the bar for challenging the crews. Positions were gained and lost easily just by catching the right (or wrong) wind shift. The top places in the fleet were shared by multiple boats in these three races and margins between finishers were sometime measured in only seconds. The races were exciting as finishes throughout the rest of fleet saw groups of boats finishing just seconds from each other.
The fleet was greeted with quite a different racecourse for Sunday’s races. The forecast of southwest winds up to 18 knots with higher gusts in the 20s was on target. The Race Committee made short order of raising code flag “E” signaling “no spinnakers” and code flag “Y” requiring that life jackets be worn by all crew members.
Wind was gusting and seas were building as the fleet got off to their starts. Amazingly, strange things were happening as the boats headed for the often-favored shore of Nyes Neck. In a southwest wind the Nyes shore is normally favored for the lifts in the wind and the calmer seas. Not so on this day. The seas did calm towards shore but the wind seemed to be “oscillating,” making it a challenge to keep heading and boat speed. Staying slightly off shore sometimes seemed more settled but skippers had to play the heavier seas.
The first two races were dominated by a mix of four boats. Knightmare led the first race with Luciole, Obsolete, and Mae Win finishing next within 35 seconds. Luciole was the leader in the second race with Obsolete only 17 seconds behind and Knightmare pulling into 3rd place just 30 seconds back.
As the conditions got heavier the Race Committee made the prudent decision to cancel the planned third race of the day, sending the fleet back to the harbor. The crews enjoyed a spectacular ride in with gusts of wind exceeding 20 knots and were relieved to be safely back at anchor.
The somewhat soggy crews gathered in the shelter of the Megansett Yacht Club deck for post race libation, socializing and most importantly, the regatta awards ceremony.
SMYRA Championship Race
Knightmare, Jobie Chase
Obsolete, Anthony Julian
Luciole, David Epstein
Mae Win III, Web Collins
Escargot, Brett Longworth
Whiz, Ken Shepherd
Skimmer, Dave Denton
Quaker Lady II, Joel Kanter
Rumblefish, Greg Polanik
Finally!, John C. Powers
Late Show II, Shep Halloran
Cob Web II, Bruce Eldridge
SMYRA Consolation Race
SOS, Cynthia Likmberakis
Holy Moly, Tom Lanagan
Megansett Time, Tom Reilly
SMYRA High Point Score
1. Knightmare, Jobie Chase, 19½ points
2. Mae Win III, Web Collins, 17¼ points
3. Obsolete, Anthony Julian, 17 points
4. Luciole, David Epstein, 17 points
5. Escargot, Bret Longworth, 12 points
6. Whiz, Ken Shepherd, 12 points
7. Skimmer, Dave Denton, 11 points
8. Finally!, John Powers, 9 points
9. Rumblefish, Greg Polanik, 8 points
10. Quaker Lady II, Joel Kanter, 7 points
11. Late Show II, Shep Halloran, 5 points
12. Cob Web II, Bruce Eldridge, 4 points
13. SOS, Cynthia Limberakis, 2 points
14. Megansett Time, Tom Reilly, 2 points
15. Holy Moly, Tom Lanagan 1 point