The Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol crew of Brendan Cunningham and Terry McGovern will try to win the Bud Tarbotton Memorial North Wildwood Beach Patrol Around The Island Row for a record third straight year Monday.

The 38th annual 20-mile race around Wildwood for doubles crews will begin at 7 a.m. with a floating start at 1st and Surf avenues in North Wildwood.

The Around The Island Row has had many repeat winners, and one crew, Max Bilkins and Bick Murphy of the Crest won in 1985, 1992-1993, 1995-1996, and 2005. But no crew has won the race three straight times.

“As far as I’m concerned, the last two years are in the past,” McGovern, 39, said. “2013 is a new race, and we just want to go out and be the best we can be in the race. To win it, things would have to go our way. It’s a new race, a new summer and with new crews.”

The rowers go in a counter-clockwise direction around Wildwood island. The finish line is at the 15th Avenue beach in North Wildwood, in front of that town’s beach patrol headquarters.

The crews first row through Hereford Inlet and under the Stone Harbor Bridge. Continuing through the back bay to the Cape May Bridge, the crews then get to the Cold Spring Inlet at the bottom of Wildwood. After a final turn, the race ends in the ocean as the boats go past Wildwood Crest and Wildwood to the finish line.

Cunningham and McGovern won last year in 2 hours, 38 minutes. The alumni crew of Carl Smallwood Jr. and B.J. Fox, the winners in 2008 and 2009, were second in 2:39.12. Ventnor’s David Funk and Ventnor alumnus George Miller were third in 2:39.26.

Race director Bill Ciavarelli said Friday that the race has 23 entries this year, up from last year’s 21.

“It’s a good field, with a lot of veterans,” said Ciavarelli, the North Wildwood beach patrol captain. “It should be a good race because we had four other crews last year within three minutes of the winning time. Our veterans really enjoy the race. It really helps when you’ve rowed it before.”

Some of the crews are a bit different this year. Smallwood will row with Margate’s Chris Graves, while Fox will pair with David Funk.

Miller will compete with longtime rowing partner Dennis Funk, who is David’s father. Dennis Funk didn’t compete last year. Dennis Funk and Miller have won the race four times, most recently in 2006.

Two other crews likely to contend: Avalon’s Erich Wolf and Craig Whitehead (fourth last year) and Cape May’s Geoff Rife and Cape May alumnus Jim Wadlow (sixth in 2012).

Also back are Upper Township’s Wayne MacMurray and Wildwood alumnus Bill Kindle (10th last year). Avalon’s Matt Wolf will row with Jake Enright. Tom Sher and Tom Kresz will represent Longport. Ocean City has Dan Brady and Paul Boardman. Some of the other crews include Margate alumni Jim Swift and Joe Swift, the crew of Jim Gibbons, an Upper Township guard, and Kevin Larkin, a Sea Isle City alumnus, and the alumni crew of John Swift and Sean McCann.

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I've worked at newspapers since 1985. Mostly in N.J., but with an eight-year pit stop in N.C. I've been at The Press since 1997.