Log canoes race for Cup
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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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.