More than 160 boats are ready to set sail in 31st Governor's Cup

Race starts in Annapolis, ends in St. Mary's City

August 06, 2004|By Mary C. Schneidau | Mary C. Schneidau,SUN STAFF

More than 160 boats will snake 70 miles down the Chesapeake Bay - from Annapolis to St. Mary's City - tonight as crews battle fatigue, the weather and each other to claim the Governor's Cup title.

The 31st annual Governor's Cup Yacht Race will take sailors on an overnight trip from Maryland's current capital to its first, leaving Annapolis about 6 p.m. and with some reaching St. Mary's City about 3 a.m. Trophies will be awarded in 11 categories; the event ends with a party tomorrow afternoon at St. Mary's College of Maryland, which hosts the race.

The Governor's Cup is eagerly awaited and the oldest and longest overnight race in the Chesapeake Bay, said Marc Apter, a spokesman for St. Mary's College.

John Dodge, the president of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association, agreed. The overnight component of the race forces sailors to deal with rapidly changing weather and learn how to manage fatigue, he said.

"It's a great race because it not only tests the skill of the sailor during the course of the day but also during the night," said Dodge, who has won the Governor's Cup six times in the 20 years he has competed in the race.

Entries range from 30-foot boats to vessels as long as 74 feet, Apter said. Each boat has a crew of eight to 20 sailors, who alternate between manning shifts and sleeping. Boats will leave Annapolis by class between 6 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. and have 21 hours to complete the course, though some finish in about nine hours. People who want to watch the start of the race can see it best at Tolly Point on River Drive, Apter said.

Sailors are not the only ones who can join in the post-race festivities. The party on the St. Mary's College campus will kick off at noon tomorrow and is free and open to the public. Tropical Ensemble, a steel band, will take the stage first, to be followed by 'Round Midnight. A video of the race will be shown throughout the day, and the awards will be presented at 5 p.m.

Apter said St. Mary's College officials hope to have one special piece of Governor's Cup history in their hands this weekend - the original Governor's Cup trophy, which was stolen in the late 1980s. The college is offering $1,000 and amnesty for the return of the trophy, which was probably taken by a college student who is now an alumnus, Apter said.

St Mary's College officials have a few leads and are proceeding "gently but persistently" to reclaim the trophy, which they want to display in a new boathouse, Apter said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.