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Wye Island Regatta in Maryland

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Everyones a Winner!

Wye Island Regatta, Wye Island Maryland
12.4 mile race around Wye Island, open to any and all human powered craft.
Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Duckhead Racing Association was once again represented by a select few at the Wye Island Regatta.

The crew of the Bloody Mary, Blue Mountain Outfitters Clipper Mariner, was piloted as usual by Captain Topher, powered by mid-ship engines CWDH, Brian Sill, Tyler McCrea, Mike McCrea, Theresa Alexander and Patty Paris Hale. Replacing c2g as bowman this year was Chip Walsh. So once again the Bloody Mary was propelled by an all crew.

Returning to race the Sockeye, a 1977 Old Town tandem kayak, was team Hopkins, this year crewed by Patrick Coordy and returning champion Laura Hollingsworth. Lauras regular crewman and navigator Loandra Torres pled a scheduling conflict (no doubt remembering her partners penchant for singing Disney tunes while paddling). Laura elected to go with both brains and brawn this year, selecting a lean, mean biophysicist paddling machine as her partner.

I was able to coerce Chip into taking c2gs place in the bow by describing this as a leisurely trip around Wye Island, complete with a planned stop near the midway point to stretch our legs, drink a beer, and generally recuperate. Well, it was a plan Chip, but you should know by now that Duckhead plans often go awry.

Checking in with the race officials we discovered that Theresa was old enough to qualify us for the Masters category. Hard to believe she doesnt look a day over 50!

We also discovered that the race officials, perhaps remembering some confusion in a previous year where we were uncertain if our race number was 81 or 18, gave us the unmistakable and utterly appropriate number 69.

Team Hopkins would be racing as the 91 boat. Or maybe # 16.

Another surprise was revealed as we launched; we would not, as expected, be racing as a crew of eight, but instead as a crew of eight thousand, as a colony on black ants had taken up residence in the Bloody Marys flotation tanks. Ants in yer pants gonna make ya gunwale dance.

The race itself was uneventful, at least in comparison with last years hurricane blow, as conditions were nearly ideal, with a light breeze, mostly sunny skies and a now practiced crew.

Our replacement bowman soon fell into a regular cadence, although his sudden shifts from paddling port to paddling starboard were accompanied by occasional gunwales-to-thewaterline lists.

Chip later related that, as the midpoint of the race approached he began to eye each sandy beach as our probably picnic point, remembering the promised plan of a leisurely paddle round the island. As the hard reality set in that this was a race, not a pleasure cruise, Chip exacted his revenge by calling out switch before changing sides; a luxury not afforded the six midships engines seated side by side. Chip said something about this being payback for false pretenses. False maybe, but Duckheads have no pretenses.

Captain Topher lit a fire under the crew by occasionally calling out GPS readings of our distance covered, average speed and top speed.

More motivationally he would select a boat to be overtaken in order to spur us on to more strenuous stroking. That guy rowing the Old Town hes spent, lets take him, That woman in the red outrigger, we can catch her. And we could, and we did.

And could and did and could and did. Hitting a top speed of 6.7 mph, and averaging an even 5 miles per hour, we finished in 2:24:28, winning the 8-person war canoe class. It was unanimously decided that this race is our once a year penance for averaging two miles per hour on most other trips.

Laura and Patrick finished in 2:52:20, and officially won the mixed tandem kayak class. Just think what they could do in a faster boat.

As usual the real fun began post-race. Waking back to the van I was chatting up a gentleman who had finished in a Jensen racing canoe. One anecdote led to another and I realized that I was chatting up Paddler01s old partner Bill Hahn. Bill was racing with a new partner this year; perhaps the memory of Brian and me in a Malecite whipping him and Alan in their Jensen by 3 minutes still stung.

Not that the change of partners did him any good, we still beat em (by nearly 11 minutes). We discount the excuse that the combined age of the Bloody Mary crew, even with Granny Theresa aboard, still didnt equal the combined age of Bill and his new partner. The AARP discount doesnt apply here; a whipping is a whipping. (Bill, it was delightful to meet you, and we hope to beat you again next year).

In typical Duckhead fashion we were the last the leave, sticking around to haggle with the tee shirt vendor (best score a $23 tie died Wye Island Regatta shirt for 5 crinkled singles and some lose change it pays to be the last to leave).

A traditional stop at Hollys restaurant for some caloric replacement and a lingering visit in the newly remodeled Duckhead shop/bar, where we heard the news that Diane had finished first in her age group in the Shrewsbury mini-triathlon, and race day 2005 drew to a close.

Everyones a winner!

Some race results from past years:

Tyler McCrea & Mike McCrea in the Sockeye 2:56, first in mens tandem kayak (but only because the wake from a cabin cruiser capsized the only other two mens tandems competing)
Chip Walsh 3:00 in single sea kayak (I guess he stopped for a picnic lunch) Dan and Ian Gillespie 3:44 in a Grumman (after a pre-launch debate about whether or not to bring their fishing poles)
Vic Chenowith 2:43 in a sea kayak (no picnic stop for Vic)
Ebet Chee 3:12. In a Piccolo. Just think what she could do with a faster boat.

Brian Sill & Mike McCrea 2:26 in a Malecite
Alan Reid 2:29 in a Jensen (another picnicker)
c2g 2:36 in another fast Wenonah canoe (shoulda brought a Pungo)
Ebet Chee 2:45 (27 minutes faster than last year, and still in the Piccolo)
Laura Hollingsworth & Loandra Torres 3:05 in the Sockeye (too many Disney songs)

Well, lets just say that the crews of the Bloody Mary and the Sockeye didnt require rescue by the Coast Guard and leave it at that.
Laura and Patrick, how about a trip report from the Sockeye perspective?
Topher, cant wait to see the photos.
Thanks as usual to Blue Mountain Outfitters for the loan of the Bloody Mary. We hope we did you proud, and cant wait til next year; 2:20 is the time to beat.

2005 Official Finish Times
Bloody Mary 2:24:28 (1st WC8)
Sockeye 2:52:20 (1st mixed double kayak)

A few of Tophers photos:


Landing ramp, port-a-johns.


Entry fee for the Regatta race, otherwise no.


To Wye Landing from the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay:

Take 50 East over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Follow Rte. 50 E to Rte. 213 S (14 miles east of the Bay Bridge and 5 miles east of Rte. 50/301 split.)
Turn right on Rte 213 S and proceed 1 mile to Wye Mills.
Stay straight past old church. Rte becomes 662 S.
At Wye Landing Lane (c. 2 miles from Wye Mills; look for Regatta sign.) turn right and stay on Wye Landing Lane 2.0 miles to dead-end at Wye Landing.


Laminated course map distributed by race officials. Or just paddle around the island and remember to keep it always on your left if going counterclockwise :-)

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location