The Screwpile Lighthouse Regatta is a Chesapeake Bay-wide sailboat racing event and a tradition among sailing enthusiasts around the world. “We have boats from New Jersey to Florida entered into the race and from everywhere in between,” said host organization Southern Maryland Sailing Association’s Chairman, L. G. Raley.
The event originally began when Yachting Magazine tried to organize a sailing race years before, but stopped their efforts after a few seasons. 16 years ago, the Southern Maryland Sailboat Association, based in Solomons took the lead. “We named the race after the Screwpile Lighthouse,” said Raley, who jokingly added, “After about three cases of beer, the name stuck.”
The event is a three-day racing extravaganza during the day and a three-night rip-roaring party at night.
Local host, Solomons Holiday Inn spokesperson and Guest Experience Champion, Richard Cotton said, “This is one of the busiest weekends of the year.” Cotton indicated that once the hotel gets everyone settled through the registration process, it is a good time for everyone at the hotel.
“Everyone here is invited to attend the activities after the races and the Screwpile people are happy to have them,” said Cotton.
The hotel has been housing the racers for the past 14 years and over the last four years has been the primary host to all the screwpile after-race activities.
Out on the bay, during the races, sailors compete in one to four races a day over the three-day regatta period. “We try to keep classes of racers racing against each other to make the event fairer,” said Raley. “We have boats of all kinds – from Catalina 27s to Transpak 52s,” said Raley. He indicated that there is a handicapping system place to make the event fun for everyone involved.
“The Screwpile Lighthouse Regatta is all about fun,” said the affable chairman. Based on the 700 or 800 people gathered each night at the hotel to see who won the day’s events, eat the food, mingle and enjoy some free-flowing libations, he might be right.