Ninth annual Elf Classic Yacht Race at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels

The Elf Classic Yacht Race returns to the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, with the traditional yacht race taking place again this year on the Miles River in St. Michaels, Md. The annual race is jointly sponsored by the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

“It’s very unusual to see a single classic yacht on any given day, so watching a fleet of them sailing away from the anchorage and into St. Michaels is an incredible experience,” said CYRG President and Elf skipper Rick Carrion. “The 2019 event will take place exclusively on the Miles River, offering land and sea spectators at CBMM an unparalleled view of some of the most beautiful, classic sailing yachts.”

The September race features a 19th century traditional yacht racing start, beginning with a captains’ meeting on land, followed by the boom of a cannon, signifying each captain’s mad dash to a tied-up dinghy, or tender. Next, the captains row out to their moored vessels and waiting crews, before tying up their tenders and raising anchor, with up to 30 yachts racing on the Miles River under a cloud of sail.

Race participants will first be greeted along CBMM’s Fogg’s Cove and the winners announced at a trophy reception later in the day. At 10:30am, CBMM will offer a two-hour spectator cruise aboard its 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle, with limited boarding and advanced registration at Entrance to watch the race on land is included with CBMM’s regular two-day admission.

“Spectators and guests are welcome to watch this unique 11am start, and spend the day at CBMM to explore the world-renowned museum, while watching the race from shore,” said Carrion. “As the race ends, captains will anchor off Fogg’s Cove, and row to shore to sign the race log on CBMM’s Steamboat Building’s deck. A post-race reception and awards ceremony will then be held.”

Organized by CYRG, the race features America’s oldest active racing yacht, the 1888 Elf. Restored to historically accurate condition and re-launched in 2008, Elf is a Lawley-built 30-foot class cutter. Elf pioneered offshore yacht cruising in 1893 by being the first small craft to race the round-trip from Marblehead, Mass. to Halifax, N.S.

For race registration information, visit or contact CYRG’s Rick Carrion at [email protected] or 443-566-2212. The racing fleet is limited, with registration required by Sept. 15, and preference given to wooden, classic, and traditional yachts. Race proceeds benefit CYRG and CBMM.

CYRG is a non-profit, member organization dedicated to the preservation of maritime heritage through the maintenance and operation of Elf. The yacht was designed by George Lawley & Sons of South Boston, Mass., and built in 1888 for William H. Wilkinson. Over the warmer months, Elf can be seen dockside at CBMM, and under sail along the Miles River and Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay region, and making this resource available to all.

Every aspect of fulfilling this mission is driven by CBMM’s values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship, along with a commitment to providing engaging guest experiences and transformative educational programming, all while serving as a vital community partner. For more information, visit or call 410-745-2916.

The 1888 racing yacht Elf, shown here, is the flagship for the 9th annual Elf Classic Yacht Race.