The Bud Tarbotton Memorial North Wildwood Beach Patrol Around The Island Row, the toughest test of the season for lifeguards and alumni rowers, will be held at 7:30 a.m. Monday, beginning at 1st and Surf avenues in North Wild-wood.
The 36th annual 20-mile race around Wildwood island goes in a counterclockwise direction and ends back in North Wildwood at the 15th Avenue beach. Along the way, the doubles crews go through the Hereford Inlet, under the Stone Harbor Bridge, and through the backbay of Wildwood. After reaching the Cape May Bridge, the rowers go through the Cold Spring Inlet at the bottom of the island and finish with a final sprint in the ocean to the finish line.
"We're holding it earlier this year in order to get a favorable tide," race director Charlie Iepson said. "Otherwise, we'd have to hold it on the 29th or 30th and that's a little too late. Most of the top crews from last year are in it, so it should be a good race."
Twenty-one crews are set to go, including Margate's Chris Graves and Greg Smallwood, the winners last year in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 15 seconds. Also back is the alumni crew of Carl Smallwood Jr. (Margate) and B.J. Fox (Atlantic City and Longport).
Carl Smallwood Jr., Greg's brother, and Fox won it in 2008 and 2009 before finishing second last year in 2:44:23.
Ventnor alumni Dennis Funk and George Miller, four-time winners of the race and fourth last year, also will be there.
Also entered are Avalon's Craig Whitehead and Shane McGrath, fifth in 2010.
Others are Upper Town-ship's Wayne MacMurray and Bill Kindle, a Wildwood alumnus, Wildwood's Tom McLaughlin and Steve McGuinn, and Wildwood Crest's Terry McGovern and Brendan Cunningham.
The race honors the late Tarbotton, who founded the race in 1976 while a member of the North Wildwood City Council.