Penelope Takes Over Top Spot for Fall, Master Handicapper Roger Becker Feted

Penelope Takes Over Top Spot for Fall, Master Handicapper Roger Becker Feted

Roger Becker
Master-handicapper Roger Becker at the helm of Gloria, a C&C 24. Susan Waldrop Photo.

by David Lott

Mo Flam and his Alerion 28 Penelope notched two more qualifying races for the Holmes Hole Sailing Association Fall Series races and with them turned the standings upside down.

Following up on his winning summer, Flam took a fourth last Thursday and added a second on Sunday to leap from the sidelines to the top of the standings, pushing Dan Culkin and his Vineyard Vixen Magic Time to second.

Magic Time’s first on Thursday and third on Sunday were enough to keep her in close striking distance for the top spot.

A Fall Gem
Sunday’s race was yet another sparkling fall gem with north northwest winds pushing into the  harbor at 15 mph—enough to speed eight boats around Course No. 1 in less than an hour and a half.

Taking first on the day was Frank Sutula aboard Soma Holiday, a Hanse 335, which traversed the twice-around-the-buoys loop in 1:04:33 on corrected time.

Becker Feted
Gloria, a C&C 24 with Roger Becker at the helm, came in sixth on a day important on several fronts. First, the race put Gloria into a qualifying position for the Fall Series and, second, skipper Becker was later honored at a special lunch which recognized his critical contributions to Holmes Hole

over the years.

Several speakers noted, “Roger, you are the reason we have so much fun every Sunday. Your handicapping of the field, race calculations and post-race standings and commentary pull it all together. Your handicaps are also the source of so much animated discussion throughout the year.”

Becker keeps a tight ship on those rules and handicaps. The Hugh Schwarz Cup rules he recently outlined prove it: All races sailed count (no "throw outs") and there is no award for second place.

As for those famous handicaps, which are proprietary to Holmes Holes and created for the entire fleet as a labor of love, Becker once remarked with tongue somewhat in cheek," We create the  handicap ratings so no one can win."

Actually, he has it wrong. When Roger Becker is working his magic for Holmes Hole, everyone wins.

Thursday Results

Last Thursday 10 boats came to the line, showing the October strength of the fleet which now counts 19 boats having competed. Gusty variable winds mostly over 13 mph made for a crisp autumn sail.  One time around with West Chop the first buoy at about low tide with plenty of wind meant the currents played only a small part in the mix.

Magic Time took the blue ribbon over second-place finisher Phil Hale aboard his J/100 Tango while third went to Adam Hayes and his new boat, Sophon Opus, a J 35C. Also in the mix were the recently joined Cape Dory 25 Sandpiper sailed by Kathy and Ernie Mendenhall.

For more information about Holems Hole Sailing Assoication, go to

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