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The Dorchester Skipjack Committee sponsors and operates the annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race in Cambridge, held the third Saturday in September. Since the race's debut in 1997, the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester has acted as the host-city vessel for the race.

The Skipjack Race

Skipjacks traditionally raced in September to shake out rigging and get boats ready for the upcoming oyster season. Today there are less than two dozen active Skipjacks and only two skipjack races left on the Bay. The race in Cambridge provides the opportunity to see most of the surviving traditional Skipjacks up close and under sail in one location. The Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race hosted by Cambridge's ambassador skipjack, Nathan of Dorchester, is held on the third Saturday of September.

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Each race is unique with these fast-disappearing icons of the Chesapeake competing in a swift or leisurely event, depending upon the wind. The beautiful Choptank River provides a perfect course for the race, offering great views from its banks. A race festival begins at 8:30am, with a parade of boats at 9am out of Cambridge Creek. The race itself begins around 10am, depending on weather conditions. The parade and start and finish are best viewed from Long Wharf Park (near High and Water Streets in Cambridge, MD), where there will be food and gift vendors. A radio-controlled skipjack regatta will take place from the docks at Long Wharf, providing competitive entertainment while the full-size skipjacks are on the middle legs of their race.

Racing for Pride

This is a race for pride and skipjack preservation, not prize. Each participating Skipjack receives equal show-up money. The show-up money gives each boat much needed funds for maintenance and preservation and, of course, the winning boat and her captain gets bragging rights for the next year! Winning captains have their names engraved on the Heritage Cup Trophy, established by the 1880 Bank of Cambridge, and they receive a smaller version of the cup, engraved to commemorate their victory.

Over the years, the Nathan of Dorchester has raised over $100,000 to help preserve the vanishing skipjack fleet. Nathan returns its show up money to give the other boats larger shares. Twelve to fifteen boats may participate in the race, depending on their availability and their seaworthy condition. The only other surviving skipjack race on the Chesapeake Bay is the annual Deal Island Labor Day Race, which has been held for more than fifty years.

Join as a Sponsor of the
Choptank Heritage
Skipjack Race!

Help keep the skipjack heritage alive.
All proceeds support the race and
the survival of the remaining skipjacks.

Business sponsor packages are available.
Contact us for more information.

Race donations may be made through the link below or mailed to:
Dorchester Skipjack Committee, Inc.
Attn: Skipjack Race
P.O. Box 1224
Cambridge, MD 21613

(Donations made through this button are targeted directly for the race. To make donations to the Nathan, please use the other button, on the right side of this page.)

Donors & Sponsors Invited

The Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race needs your help to keep our skipjack fleet sailing. We welcome your participation as a donor, sponsor, or volunteer.


Past Winners:
2017 ... Capt. ...
2016 Rosie Parks Capt. Joe Connor
2015 Rosie Parks Capt. Joe Connor
2014 Rebecca T. Ruark Capt. Wade Murphy, Jr.
2013 Rebecca T. Ruark Capt. Wade Murphy, Jr.
2012 H. M. Krentz Capt. Ed Farley
Rebecca T. Ruark Capt. Wade Murphy, Jr.
2010 Rebecca T. Ruark Capt. Wade Murphy, Jr.
Thomas Clyde Capt. Lawrence Murphy
Race canceled due to weather
Martha Lewis Capt. Greg Shinn
Martha Lewis Capt. Greg Shinn
Martha Lewis Capt. Byshe Hicks
Helen Virginia Capt. Ernie Barlow
Martha Lewis Capt. Byshe Hicks
Martha Lewis Capt. Mark Sanford
Martha Lewis Capt. Mark Sanford
Martha Lewis Capt. Mark Sanford
Martha Lewis Capt. Allen Rawl
Nathan of Dorchester Capt. Frank Newton
Martha Lewis Capt. Allen Rawl


The Dorchester Skipjack Committee, Inc., is a private not-for-profit organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. A copy of its current financial statement is available by writing P.O. Box 1224, Cambridge, Maryland, 21613, or calling 410-228-7141. Documents and information submitted under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are also available, for the cost of postage and copies, from the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-974-5534. Registration with the Maryland Secretary of State is not, and does not imply, endorsement of any solicitation.