Sea Dragon Races in the governor's cup 2005

 

The Governor's Cup race is a Chesapeake Bay tradition for over 30 years. The Governor's Cup Yacht Race is an annual event in Maryland taking place the first weekend of August each year come rain or shine, wind or no wind. It begins in Annapolis and ends at the St. Mary's College Waterfront in St. Mary's City. The Governor's Cup is the largest overnight yacht race on the east coast with over 150 boats participating each year. The event terminates with a large public party that includes beer, food, and live music.

After several races on boats of others, I decided 2005 was the time to enter Sea Dragon in the Governor's Cup. So I began my search for the best crew in the land... Or at least a crew willing to sail with me. A crew was found and the race was on. The crew consisted of Jack Wong our sailmaker, Tartan owner racer, and retired NASA engineer; David Schreder an Annapolis grad, small boat racer and Catalina 34 owner; Jim Underwood fellow Pearson 365 owner; and Mike Myers friend recently bitten by the boat bug.

With the crew in place, the real preparations began, "What color shirts should the crew wear?". Crew arranged, shirts ordered, and food & drink on board, we are ready to race. All we need is a little wind.

The race began with a perfect weather forecast for our boat, winds from the North West at 15-20 knots with rain storms throughout the night, some severe.

Crew L-R Jack Wong, Dave Schreder, Jim Underwood, Myself, Mike Myers

Note: the boat in the slip next to us is another Pearson 36 Cutter. Interestingly, the boat is from Nashville, TN and Jim had met the boat and its owner in the Canneries and sailed with it from there to the Caribbean during his solo great circle voyage five (5) years ago. 

Professional Delivery Crew

Sea Dragon is docked 12 nautical miles South of the race start. I decided to move her to Annapolis several days before the race to prevision her and be closer to the start. I was able to find professional delivery crew to help me move her North.

A delivery crew that worked until they dropped.
Our first test as new crew was to get Sea Dragon out of the transient slip without taking out the half a million dollar Hinckley yacht moored behind us.
We are off and ALL of the Hinckley's are still floating -- not a scratch.
One hour before the start of the race, everything is looking good, 18 knot winds with gust to 22 knots. 

 

However, as the race starts the winds die to less than 6 knots and we race across the starting line at 1.8 knots.

 

 

 

By 8:00 PM the winds are up again and we are making great time...

We are on our way to nice finish.

Rain is coming down and it is the most magnificent lighting storm I have ever seen.

Life is good!

 

 

 

 

We are still making great time.

The first watch goes below to get some rest at 9:00.

 

 

 

 

The winds are dropping and our speed is down under 4 knots.

At Midnight I go below to get some sleep.

 

 

 

By 1:00 AM the winds have dropped and our boat speed is barely 2 knots.

 

From this point forward, I feel like I am in the movie "Groundhog Day". Each time you go below for rest and go back on watch, your watch is the same as the last.

 

 

By 7:00 AM it is clear we are not going to make St Mary's under sail. So breakfast is served and at 8:16 the engine is fired up and we motor for the last 6 hours of the race.

 

 

 

 

 

8:16 Motor on; Sails stowed.

 

 

 

 

Here is Sea Dragon crossing the finish line.

This year's race set an all time record for the SLOWEST winning time in the 32 year history of the race.

Of the 31 boats registered in our class, 4 boats finished the race under sail. One was a Pearson 30.

With the race over and the boat back in its slip, I am making plans for next year's race.... We will be back!

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Copyright 2006 Garner Bennett. All Rights Reserved