Testing the young and the old
Locals fare well despite tough conditions
Those sailors competing in the annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race attempting to navigate the modest distance from three different starting points along the Chesapeake Bay and ending amid the shadows of the buildings overlooking the St. Mary’s River adjacent to St. Mary’s College of Maryland found the waters far less inviting than anticipated.
More than 100 sailors were entered in the annual Governor’s Cup that officially began on Friday afternoon with many combatants targeting an early Saturday morning arrival at St. Mary’s College. But less than three-quarters of them actually made the journey and one boat, the Singularity, needed to be towed in by the Coast Guard while others staggered into the docks after taking on water.
But since beauty is often described as being in the eye of the beholder, the high winds and choppy waters that greeted sailors on Friday afternoon and throughout the wee hours of Saturday morning represented different things to different captains. Local veterans Scott “Gus” Ward of “Crocodile” and Buzz Ballard piloting “Look Close” said the conditions were amenable, but newcomers Doug Ellmore and Steve Baier-Anderson had a different outlook aboard “Red Sky”.
“It all comes down to how much water you want to take on,” said Ward, who captured the Beneteau Cup for the third time and earned an automatic berth in the U.S. Offshore Championships Sep. 24-27. “We had the high winds all night and the waters were a little rough in some spots, but my boat handled it perfectly. I always love competing in this event. I think these overnight races are competitive and starting to gain more popularity.”
Ward not only managed the
waters superbly, he eventually garnered the Beneteau Cup as the overall winner of the Governor’s Cup and departed with a plaque and a small trophy. Ballard described the conditions as “beautiful” en route to steering “Look Close” to a second-place finish, but Ellmore and Baier-Anderson, competing in the Governor’s Cup for the first time, were not as complimentary of the conditions.
“I think the winds were 1520 knots steady all night,” said Ellmore, who is also the cross
country coach at Southern High School in Anne Arundel County. “I was basically steering the boat cross-wind the whole night. But Steve kept pushing me to keep going. This was our first time in the race and it was a lot different than what we expected. I was hoping to dock around noon and I probably got in around 10 minutes after that.”
Ballard, whose crew consists of son Chad Ballard, brothers Chris Ballard and Brian Ballard and brother-in-law Tom Davenport, had high hopes of taking top prize in his class and admitted to being content with second place on Saturday. Ballard,
who spent 28 years in the Marines and now owns and operates Compass Point charters, steered the “Crocodile” rapidly through waters that others may not have appreciated.
“Conditions all day yesterday and all night were beautiful,” said Ballard, who named the boat “Look Close” in honor of his father, who repeated told his sons to look close for quail when they went hunting for those birds. “My boat has that thin nose and I knew the wind would be right on our nose the whole way. My boat is designed perfectly for those conditions. We hit a few rough waters where the two rivers converge,
but overall everything went great.”
Other division winners included Scott Ruff of Virginia aboard “Makai”, Woody Morris of Virginia with “What Boat”, Doug Savage of Virginia steering “Dark Star”, Frank McGowan of Philadelphia guiding “Serenity”, Dr, Marshall Steele of Annapolis aboard “Moonlight Sail”, Jimmy Doyle of St. Petersburg, Florida with “Imari”, Stewart Jones of Virginia steering “Cordelia”, Josh Colwell of Virginia with “OrgaZmatron”, John Wayshner of Shady Side, Maryland, behind “Flipper”, Jeff Jeffries of Annapolis with “Arrestu, Stanley Wujcik of
Germantown, Maryland guiding “Vivace”, Tom Campbell of Oxford, Maryland steering “Nicole”, David Tabor of Virginia with “Dirigo” and Joe Laun of Virginia with “Lady Gray”
Several other locals fared well in their respective classes. Bob Donaldson of Avenue, Maryland, was third with “Evergreen” in the same class in which the Ballards finished second with “Look Close”. Barney Feist of Patuxent River guided “Arctic Tern” to a second-place finish behind Jeffries in their class, while James Whited of St. Leonard finished third with “Bad Cat” in their bracket.
Yachts sail towards the finish in the Governor’s Cup on Saturday at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Tough conditions made made the overnight journey arduous for some competitors, with over a quarter of the participants not finishing in the 44th running of the race.