This Saturday, May 13th the Chesapeake Bay will host the 7th Annual Elf Classic Yacht Race. Yachts depart from Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis after a brief captain’s meeting at 9:00am. After the meeting a whistle sounds and the race is off! Captains race to reach their yachts with their crew and raise anchor to race to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. The yachts will anchor in Fogg’s Cove and captain’s will conclude the race rowing to shore. Yachts are expected to begin arriving in St. Michaels in the afternoon on the 13th.
The race features America’s oldest active racing yacht, the Elf. The yacht was constructed in 1888, and pioneered offshore yacht cruising by being the first small craft to race round-trip from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this original race, captains would arrive to Marblehead by train. When the whistle of the train sounded, captains raced to the location of their skiffs and rowed to their awaiting yachts. In 2008, a team of dedicated individuals restored the yacht to historically accurate condition, and it wasn’t long before the race that made this boat famous was recreated, too. Though the race now takes place between Annapolis and St. Michaels, the style of the race is very similar, down to the toy train whistle that is sounded to indicate the start of the race.
Proceeds from this event go towards the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Classic Yacht Restoration Guild. The Classic Yacht Restoration Guild is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of maritime heritage through the maintenance and operation of the Elf. In the summer, the Elf can be seen dockside at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. From May to October the museum is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm. From November to April, the museum is open from 10:00am – 4:00pm. General admission is $15, with discounts for seniors, students, military, children and EBT cardholders.