Local Whitbread group floats its preliminary plans

November 08, 1994|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Sun Staff Writer

The board of directors of Whitbread Chesapeake, Inc., the nonprofit organization formed recently to bring the next Whitbread Round the World Race to Baltimore and Annapolis, held a briefing yesterday on its preliminary plans for a week of festivities in spring 1998.

"I really don't have a clue yet how we are going to make this work," said Gary Jobson, a member of Whitbread Chesapeake's board of directors. "But I am sure we will make it work."

Jobson, of Annapolis, played a prominent role in getting the Whitbread, which begins in September 1997, to make a stopover in Maryland, and, as the sailing analyst for ESPN, has visited the other Whitbread race venues around the world.

"We can kind of do a Chevrolet kind of stopover," said Jobson, "or we can do a Cadillac-style stop. My preference runs toward the Cadillac."

Lee Tawney, special assistant to Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and a member of the Whitbread Chesapeake board of directors, said there is interest in trying to put together a Whitbread Week for Baltimore, with activities similar to those staged when the baseball All-Star Game was played here last year.

Whitbread race officials have said that exposure through the Washington media is one of the reasons they are bringing the race to Maryland.

But the bulk of activities would be in Baltimore, starting as early as April 23 and continuing through the morning of May 1, when the race fleet would leave for Annapolis.

The leg to Maryland would begin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The leg leaving Maryland would begin at the Bay Bridge on May 3 in conjunction with the annual Bay Bridge Walk.

The organizational meeting called last evening at HarborView Marina and Yacht Club on Key Highway was an attempt to raise sponsorship in the form of hotel rooms, transportation, office space and air fares for race officials who would come to Maryland for the stopover.

But it also was to "cast the net" to see what special interests or concerns the leaders of the state's maritime community might have.

From a business standpoint, Tawney said, Maryland wants to promote itself through the Whitbread race, especially in England, where the race starts and ends.

"But we also want it to have an impact here in Maryland, especially with schoolchildren," Tawney said.

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