44th Gov­er­nor’s Cup Yacht Race is on tap

Sailors hop­ing to come away with a ti­tle in lat­est run­ning

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twitter: tblack­somds1

Be­gin­ning to­day from three dif­fer­ent launch­ing ports, more than 100 sailors from across the Mid-At­lantic re­gion will make their fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for the 44th run­ning of the Gov­er­nor’s Cup Yacht Race along the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay with their even­tual fi­nal des­ti­na­tion be­ing St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land in St. Mary’s City.

Nearly a dozen of the sailors are lo­cal. Robert Bal­lard of Leonard­town, along with his two brothers, Brian and Chris Bal­lard, son Chad Bal­lard and brother-in-law, Tom Daven­port, will climb aboard the “Look Close” on Friday morn­ing from the Po­tomac River start in quest of reach­ing St. Mary’s Col­lege well ahead of their com­pe­ti­tion.

“We’ve been com­pet­ing in the Gov­er­nor’s Cup since 2004 and it re­ally is a fam­ily af­fair,” Robert Bal­lard said. “On board will be my two brothers, my brother-in-law and my son. We’ve up­graded to a newer, faster sail­boat this year, so we’re hop­ing to do well. We have friends and rel­a­tives that fly in from Ken­tucky, California and Ten­nessee to watch the race ev­ery year. It’s a lot of fun.”

Bal­lard, who spent 28 years in the Marines, has been hon­ing his skills in the air and on the wa­ter for the past 25 years. He is still em­ployed full­time as an air­line pi­lot for Amer­i­can Air­lines, but he has also started his own char­ter boat com­pany, Com­pass Point Char­ters, which takes pas­sen­gers on brief tours once each week. For Bal­lard, the sim­i­lar­i­ties of fly­ing a large 737 and nav­i­gat­ing a sail­boat down the Ch­e­sa­peake clearly out­weigh their dif­fer­ences.

“Sail­ing and fly­ing are re­ally the same thing,” Bal­lard said. “There are a lot of the same con­cepts in­volved re­gard­ing lifts, drags, thrusts and weight. Fly­ing a plane and steer­ing a sail­boat or mo­tor­boat are re­ally the same thing. Sail­ing is some­thing that I did not take up un­til I was in my 40s, but it’s a lot of fun and I would rec­om­mend that any­one in­ter­ested would cer­tainly take up sail­ing start­ing at a younger age.”

Scott “Gus” Ward will nav­i­gate “Crocodile” into the Gov­er­nor’s Cup this week­end look­ing for his sec­ond straight vic­tory in the Line Hon­ors divi­sion of the event.

Ward, a re­tired Lieu­tenant Colonel in the Marines where he flew Har­rier, has been com­pet­ing in rac­ing events on the sea for over 40 years and was a Ho­bie 18 Na­tional Cham­pion and also took first in the USYRU Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons.

“Most of the race we’re go­ing to be en­coun­ter­ing a wind right on the nose,” said Ward, who will have eight crew mem­bers aboard “Crocodile” with him, in­clud­ing nav­i­ga­tor Shane Mo­rat. “But my boat is de­signed to slice right through the wind, so we’re hop­ing to get an early jump on the com­pe­ti­tion and get to the mouth of the Po­tomac River well be­fore ever yone else.”

Ward has com­peted in the Gov­er­nor’s Cup since 2004, but he ex­pressed a pref­er­ence for some of the longer events, in­clud­ing those that span from New­port to Ber­muda, An­napo­lis-New­port and Ber­muda Open races. In 2016, Ward and his team won two dif­fer­ent ma­jor dis­tance races along the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and the East Coast.

“For us the Gov­er­nor’s Cup is like a sprint race,” Ward said. “Our main events are the longer dis­tance races. The trip to Ber­muda is 670 miles and when you cross the Gulf stream you never know what you’re go­ing to en­counter. But all of us on board the ‘Crocodile’ are ei­ther Navy or Marines. Nav­i­gat­ing the sail­boat is a lot like fly­ing a plane.”

James Whited of St. Leonard will com­pete in the Gov­er­nor’s Cup for the 25th time this week­end. A re­tired com­puter an­a­lyst who moved to the South­ern Mary­land area in 2001, Whited will have six fel­low crew mem­bers aboard his sail­boat “Bad Cat”, sev­eral of whom are St. Mary’s Col­lege alumni.

“I probably com­pete in 20 to 25 races each year, but this one is al­ways among the more chal­leng­ing and more dif­fi­cult,” Whited said. “We sail right into the wind for most of it leav­ing An­napo­lis and we re­ally don’t get a break un­til we make the fi­nal turn and head to­ward the col­lege. But my crew is from the school and they en­joy be­ing part of the race each year.”

Whited, who fin­ished fourth in one ear­lier edi­tion of the Gov­er­nor’s Cup, ad­mits his fa­vorite race is one con­tested bi-an­nu­ally that be­gins in An­napo­lis and ends in Ber­muda. That event is held on even-num­ber years. He also com­petes in races held oc­ca­sion­ally dur­ing the week and others on week­ends, but the Gov­er­nor’s Cup will mark the third voy­age down the Ch­e­sa­peake for “Bad Cat”.

James “Shawn” Moore, a Me­chan­icsville na­tive who grad­u­ated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in 1973, be­fore it was af­fil­i­ated with St. Mary’s, is com­pet­ing in his 10th Gov­er­nor’s Cup and is ded­i­cat­ing this year’s race to his fa­ther, Don­ald T. Moore, who passed away a year ago.

Moore, who re­tired from 32 years in law en­force­ment and now op­er­ates Moore’s Driv­ing School, will send out his 1984 boat “Corv­ina” on Friday evening look­ing to make an early land­ing at St. Mary’s City.

James Black (“Seize The Bay”) and Nor­man Daw­ley (“Pur­suit”) of Lusby, Stan­ley Shortz (“Sin­gu­lar­ity”) of Dunkirk, Wil­liam Ward (“Sun­dog”) of St. Mary’s City, Neal McKin­ney (“Ten­nounce”) of Leonard­town, Thomas Cordell (“Moovin”) of White Plains and Mike Mullarky (“Eighth Deadly Sin”) of Pasadena rep­re­sent the other lo­cal con­tin­gent.

Once the sail­ing ends at St. Mary’s Col­lege, the other fes­tiv­i­ties be­gin. The an­nual Trin­ity Church break­fast will take place from 5:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, then the Wa­ter­front Crab Feast & Bar­be­cue will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., fea­tur­ing steamed crabs and that will be fol­lowed by the cov­eted Gov­er­nor’s Cup Awards Cer­e­mony from 5 to 6 p.m.

But the fun doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily stop there. On­look­ers can ei­ther take a shut­tle back to the City Dock in An­napo­lis or stay for the live mu­sic on the wa­ter­front from 7 to 10 p.m. and those who stay overnight, pri­mar­ily on their sail­boats, can rise early and par­tic­i­pate in an­other Trin­ity Church break­fast from 6 to 10 a.m. Sun­day with check­out for the en­tire event at 11 a.m.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

On­look­ers will see nu­mer­ous sail­boats trav­el­ing down the Po­tomac River and ap­proach­ing St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land in St. Mary’s City on early Saturday morn­ing as they com­pete in the 2017 edi­tion of the Gov­er­nor’s Cup Yacht Race from three dif­fer­ent start­ing points along the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

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