Log ca­noes race for Cup

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­pub.com

The Miles River Yacht Club in St. Michaels held its 90th Gover­nors Cup Race on Sun­day, July, 30. The log ca­noe race is typ­i­cally a two­day event but due to in­clement weather on Satur­day and rough winds on Sun­day the race was con­densed into one hair-rais­ing event mid-morn­ing Sun­day. The race be­gan be­fore noon with nine of the 22 yacht club’s reg­is­tered log ca­noes ready to take on the rough winds and earn a chance to win the cov­eted Gover­nors Cup.

ST. MICHAELS — The Miles River Yacht Club in St. Michaels held its 90th Gover­nors Cup Race on Sun­day, July, 30.

The log ca­noe race is typ­i­cally a two-day event but due to in­clement weather on Satur­day and rough winds on Sun­day the race was con­densed into one hair-rais­ing event mid-morn­ing Sun­day.

The race be­gan be­fore noon with nine of the 22 yacht club’s reg­is­tered log ca­noes ready to take on the rough winds and earn a chance to win the cov­eted Gover­nors Cup.

Penny Rhine is on the boat­ing com­mit­tee and she said for some the race was over be­fore it be­gan.

“One de­cided not to race due to too much wind, another boat at the start­ing line had a prob­lem with their sails and dropped out,” Rhine said.

In the end Rhine said only two log ca­noes com­pleted the race due to five boats cap­siz­ing.

“Usu­ally cap­siz­ing isn’t too bad with a log ca­noe,” Rhine said. “It is wet and it is mis­er­able, but it is par for the course.”

Rhine said the Gover­nors Cup is the most im­por­tant and pres­ti­gious race of the year.

To add to the chal­lenge of the day, Rhine said it a very tra­di­tional race in which par­tic­i­pants can only use their orig­i­nal three sails.

“They can not use any­thing else, so their rig­ging is very dif­fer­ent,” Rhine said. “It is one of the neat things about the race.”

Rhine said boats are all lo­cal from the Mid-Shore area but some of the crew mem­bers may have trav­eled far­ther in or­der to com­pete in the event.

“The boats are mainly from the Ch­ester River or the Miles River,” Rhine said. “The crews — some them came as far away as New York to race to­day.”

Win­ners of the Gov­er­nor’s Cup not only earn the pres­ti­gious ti­tle and brag­ging rights, they also get their name on a plaque on the cup and are awarded cus­tom glass beer mugs to take home.

Is­land Blos­som owned by the Es­tate of John C. North and cap­tained by Corbin Pen­well was this year’s win­ner.

Pen­well is from St. Michaels and has been on the Is­land Blos­som for 19 years and said the race is all about team work.

“What you try to do is get peo­ple on board that are bet­ter (than) you,” Pen­well said. “Win­ning re­quires a high cal­iber of peo­ple on board, and you have to lis­ten to all of them.”

The crew of the Is­land Blos­som is ac­cus­tomed to win­ning the Gover­nors Cup and Pen­well be­lieves this was their 6th or 7th con­sec­u­tive win.

“We win fairly of­ten,” Pen­well said. “The boat is also his­tor­i­cally fast also.”

He said about 15 years ago mprove­ments were made to the boat to in­crease its speed, in­clud­ing a newly shaped rud­der.

Pen­well said the im­prove­ments help but it all comes down to be­ing able to work to­gether ef­fi­ciently on the boat.

“We are well prac­ticed,” Pen­well said. “It takes so many peo­ple to tune it in right, it re­ally is a team ef­fort, if one per­son messes up then it cap­sizes.”

He said the proof of that was the chal­lenges he and his crew faced Sun­day. Dur­ing the race, they broke a board and broke their main sheet.

“While you have these things go­ing on on the boat, if you have con­fi­dent peo­ple you can fix these catas­tro­phes as you’re go­ing along,” Pen­well said. “It makes a big dif­fer­ence and it helped us to fin­ish the race.”

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PHOTO BY DENAE SPIERING

On Sun­day, July 30, the Miles River Yacht Club in St. Michaels held its 90th Gover­nors Cup race. Above the Is­land Blos­som and crew makes its way to the dock.

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