On the first weekend of August, St. Mary’s College of Maryland welcomed students, faculty, staff, and guests from all over onto the banks of the waterfront in order to watch or complete the annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race.
This year, a total of 155 registered boats, a ten-year high, participated in the race, which started in Annapolis on Friday, Aug. 5 and ended on the St. Mary’s River. The finish line ran between Church Point and the 17th century replica of the Maryland Dove, which sat out in the middle of the river starting Friday evening through the weekend.
In order to improve race participation for this 38th season, a Cruising class was implemented in order to allow those who did not wish to be particularly competitive to take part in the race. The informal classes had a start time from Annapolis of 3 P.M. while the competitive classes left exactly three hours later. This way most boats would still arrive at the finish line around the same time.
Live GPS tracking was displayed online for everyone on shore to track friends and family, or to keep up with the entire race. Those that waited on the banks of the St. Mary’s River enjoyed a weekend full of swimming, music, vendors, and sun.
“The race ran beautifully,” said Senior and Governor’s Cup intern Mark Snyder. “Really everything ran according to plan and even the weather cooperated.”
Every boat in the race was placed in separate groupings, and the rankings were split into their respective categories. Each of the seventeen divisions had its own champion, which was not decided by the time at which they crossed the finish line, but by their time based on their handicap.
One overall winner was also awarded the Joseph Waldschmidt Best in Fleet Trophy, while the Bickell Award was given to the skipper and crew that best improved their time from the previous year. Approximately twenty-eight boats competing did not finish the race.
Last year the Governor’s Cup was known for having lost $20,000 instead of gaining any revenue from the event. This year, some changes were made in order to save more money, which helped the event break even.
“We eliminated a dinner that cost the college about $9,000,” said Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities Charles “Chip” Jackson. “More food vendors were brought in to replace the dinner. We also increased a number of fees: race registration was increased from $75 to $100 and we increased the cost for overnight housing.”
While rumors had been previously flying that the 2011 Governor’s Cup could be the last, due to monetary issues, Jackson is confident that St. Mary’s College will be keeping the annual race in future years and that fixing a few of the financial details for this year were crucial.
Whether participants in the 38th Annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race spent their time sailing from the new Maryland capitol of Annapolis, or spent the weekend soaking up the sun, music, and fun at Maryland’s old capital of St. Mary’s City, all parties seemed pleased with the event.
“It was a lot of fun and was relaxing to come back down to school for a weekend in the summer,” said Sophomore Tira Valkanas. “I got to see friends that I haven’t seen in a while and it was awesome watching all of the boats sail in.”