Test­ing the young and the old

Lo­cals fare well de­spite tough con­di­tions

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

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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