50th Annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race Sets Sail August 4

Submitted by Chuck Steenburgh on July 19, 2023 - 2:52 pm
July 19, 2023
By Chuck Steenburgh

Sailors and spectators alike will have a chance to participate in the historic 50th annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). The race is the oldest and most distinguished overnight competition on the Chesapeake Bay. It begins Friday, August 4, at various times in the afternoon in Annapolis and ends Saturday, Aug. 5, at the College’s waterfront on the St. Mary’s River with post-race awards and festivities. There are race legs starting in Virginia, Solomons and the Potomac River. The race from Maryland’s modern-day capital to its colonial first capital in St. Mary’s City includes the Pride of Baltimore, a 105 ft. topsail schooner built to the lines of an 1812-era Baltimore Clipper.
About 125 competitors are expected to arrive at the College to participate in an all-day festive atmosphere Saturday including free rock and steel drum bands and a pay-what-you-wish concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The public is also invited to the festivities and award ceremony dubbed “one of sailing's 10 best parties” by Sailing World Magazine. Race registration and shoreside activity information at www.smcm.edu/govcup50.
The new Maryland Dove, an 84 ft. replica of a 17th-century square-rigger from Historic St. Mary’s City, will be the finish boat at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The nature of the race has a lot to do with its enduring popularity. “It’s a sailor’s delight, a 60-mile open water race on the Bay that finishes as a tactical race up the St. Mary’s River for 10 miles,” said Adam Werblow, director of the waterfront and head varsity sailing coach for SMCM. “The leaders usually arrive at the finish at dawn or earlier and as the oldest and longest race on the Bay it’s one damn exciting competition.”
Special 50th post-race festivities will include live music and dancing from  8:30 am to 9:00 pm. This year’s finish celebration at the College’s waterfront promises to be a memorable one, with four bands playing throughout the day, some of the area’s favorite food trucks and cash bar, showers and overnight accommodations for sailors and their guests as well as the public and even a performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). All of the festivities are open to the public, and the music is free (donations accepted for the BSO concert in the College’s newly-christened Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center). Registration is suggested for the BSO concert at https://www.smcm.edu/bsoc.
The race’s yacht classes for scoring include Multihull, ORC, CRCA ORR-ez, PHRF A, PHRF B, PHRF C/D and the generalized PHRF Spin & PHRF N. Specialty awards on the Annapolis course are given such as the St. Mary’s Alumni trophy, the Waldschmidt ‘Best In Fleet’ trophy, and the Steve Bickel award for most improved over last year’s race. Registration closes Sunday, July 30th. The race also offers three additional legs besides the main 70-mile route from Annapolis: the Potomac Leg that starts in Dahlgren; a Solomons leg; and a Fishing Bay leg starting from the Piankatank River in Virginia.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s dinghy sailing team has won 17 national championships and produced more than 150 collegiate All-American sailors since 1991. In 2010, the team won the National Intercollegiate Sailing Association team racing championship. SMCM 2023 graduate Leo Boucher won the National Singlehanded Championship in 2022 and this year was named Mid- Atlantic sailor of the year as well as Sportsman of the Year.


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