St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) is gearing up to host the prestigious 50th annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race, a historic event known as the oldest and most distinguished overnight competition on the Chesapeake Bay. Sailors and spectators alike will have the opportunity to participate in this remarkable race, which kicks off on Friday, August 4, at various times in the afternoon in Annapolis and concludes on Saturday, August 5, at the College’s waterfront on the St. Mary’s River, followed by post-race awards and festivities.

The race, encompassing different legs starting in Virginia, Solomons, and the Potomac River, holds great significance as it includes the participation of the Pride of Baltimore, a 105 ft. topsail schooner meticulously constructed to match the lines of an 1812-era Baltimore Clipper, adding a touch of historical authenticity to the event.

Approximately 125 competitors are expected to gather at St. Mary’s College for a full day of festivities on Saturday. The public is invited to join in the celebration, including free rock and steel drum bands and a pay-what-you-wish concert by the esteemed Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Sailing World Magazine dubs the festivities and award ceremony “one of sailing’s 10 best parties.” Detailed information regarding race registration and shoreside activities can be found on the official event website at

After the race, the new Maryland Dove, an 84 ft. replica of a 17th-century square rigger from Historic St. Mary’s City, will serve as the finish boat at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The race’s enduring popularity lies in its unique nature. Adam Werblow, the director of the waterfront and head varsity sailing coach for SMCM, described it as “a sailor’s delight, a 60-mile open water race on the Bay that finishes as a tactical race up the St. Mary’s River for 10 miles.” He added, “As the oldest and longest race on the Bay, it’s one damn exciting competition.”

Special post-race festivities have been planned to commemorate the 50th edition of the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race, featuring live music and dancing from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm. The waterfront celebration promises to be unforgettable, with four bands performing throughout the day, a variety of beloved food trucks, a cash bar, shower facilities, and overnight accommodations for sailors and their guests. Moreover, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will treat attendees to a captivating performance. All the festivities are open to the public, and admission to the music performances is free (though donations will be accepted for the BSO concert in the newly-christened Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center at the College). Those interested in attending the BSO concert can register on the official website at

The race’s yacht classes for scoring include Multihull, ORC, CRCA ORR-ez, PHRF A, PHRF B, PHRF C/D, PHRF Spin & PHRF N. Additionally, special awards are presented on the Annapolis course, such as the St. Mary’s Alumni trophy, the Waldschmidt ‘Best In Fleet’ trophy, and the Steve Bickel award for the most improved performance compared to last year’s race. Registration for the event will close on Sunday, July 30th. In addition to the main 70-mile route from Annapolis, participants can opt to take part in three additional legs: the Potomac Leg starting in Dahlgren, the Solomons leg, and the Fishing Bay leg commencing from the Piankatank River in Virginia.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s dinghy sailing team boasts an impressive track record, having clinched 17 national championships and produced over 150 collegiate All-American sailors since 1991. In 2010, the team achieved a milestone victory by securing the National Intercollegiate Sailing Association team racing championship. Notably, Leo Boucher, a graduate of SMCM in 2023, emerged as the victor in the National Singlehanded Championship in 2022. This year, Boucher was recognized as the Mid-Atlantic Sailor of the Year and the Sportsman of the Year, solidifying his position as a rising star in the sailing community.

As the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race approaches its 50th anniversary, St. Mary’s College of Maryland prepares to welcome sailors, spectators, and music enthusiasts to an unforgettable celebration of history, competition, and camaraderie.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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