Season ending tribute for Leukemia Cup

Published on December 4th, 2018

Celebrity sailors joined top fundraising Leukemia Cup Regatta participants from throughout North America for the 2018 Leukemia Cup Regatta Fantasy Sail at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans November 30 and December 1.

Members of the Leukemia Cup Regatta Celebrity Ambassador team joined the Fantasy Sail Challenge and shared their insights about their sailing experiences included:

• Steven Callahan, who shared his story of survival at sea for 76 days on a raft (Adrift) and his subsequent battle against acute mylegenous leukemia.
• John Dane III, who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Star Class at age 58 and is the Chairman of United States Marine, Inc.
• Benz Faget, three-time winner of the U.S. Adult Sailing Championship’s Clifford D. Mallory Trophy and second-place finisher in the 2018 competition. Faget is the long-time manager of the North Sails New Orleans loft.
• Annie Haeger, winner of the 2011 Quantam Female College Sailor of the Year Award , four-time Inter-Collegiate Sailing All-American and competitor in the women’s 470 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
• Suzy Leech served on the bow in the 1995 America’s Cup aboard America3, and since then as helm, tactician, and navigator on boats from her J/70s to Super Yachts. She has won over 30 International regattas in 15 separate classes and is a World Champion in three of them.
• Luke Ramsay, ranked among the top 100 sailors in the world for the two-person dinghy class, and sixteenth in the mixed multihull class. Luke competed in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, teaming up with windsurfer and three-time Olympian Nikola Girke in 2016.
• Kyle Smith, who sailed on three America’s Cup campaigns: Freedom in 1980, Liberty in 1983, and Stars and Stripes in 1987.

With 45+ regattas held each year, the following participants and clubs were recognized for their outstanding fundraising achievements during the 2018 Leukemia Cup Regatta campaign:

Top fundraising campaign:
The Jobson Cup, named for National Leukemia Cup Regatta Chairman Emeritus Gary Jobson, was established in 2009 to recognize the top fundraising yacht club for each year since 1993. This year it was presented to the San Francisco Leukemia Cup Regatta for the twelfth consecutive year. Jobson, a pre-eminent ambassador for the sport of sailing, is a lymphoma survivor and played a key role in the growth of the Leukemia Cup series into an international movement.

Top five national individual fundraisers:
1. Tracy Howard, Columbia Yacht Club, Chicago
2. Ted Hannig, Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, CA
3. John McNeill, Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, CA
4. Diane Simon, Southern Chesapeake Leukemia Cup Regatta, Deltaville, VA
5. Robert Kottler, Porsche of New Orleans Leukemia Cup Regatta, Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans

Top five national team fundraisers:
1. My Girl, skippered by Donald and Margaret Steiner, New York Yacht Club, Newport, RI
2. Team Zephyr, skippered by Robert Kottler, Porsche of New Orleans Leukemia Cup Regatta, Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans
3. Compass Self Storage, skippered by Tom Purdy, Cleveland Yachting Club
4. Team Jahazi, skippered by Frank and Lori Giampoli, and Brad and Debbi Polivka, Columbia Yacht Club, Chicago
5. Dharma/Twilight, skippered by Doug Robinson, Charleston Ocean Racing Association; Charleston, SC

As the top national fundraising team, Donald and Margaret Steiner received the first-ever Robert Edward Maher Memorial Trophy, named for an honorary lifetime member of Southern Yacht Club and a respected avid sailor.

Maher, who passed away on September 11, 2018 after a very long battle against multiple myeloma, was a dedicated Leukemia Cup Regatta supporter who was the epitome of teamwork, whether on the water or in fundraising. When he wasn’t sailing, you would find him behind a camera lens, capturing special moments of those around him.

The Fantasy Sail Challenge race was held in 20-30 knots of breeze on Lake Pontchartrain. The winners were:
PHRF Performance Class Winner: Zydeco, J/111, owner Burt Benrud. First Mate Jon Nunn, Leukemia Cup Celebrity Ambassadors Annie Haeger and Luke Ramsay; John Heintz of Annapolis, Rhett and Carl Krawitt (San Francisco), Lynn Ohman (Annapolis), Patrick Shannon (Annapolis)

PHRF Classic Class Winner: Mystic, Newport 41, owned by Guy and Pam Brierre. Leukemia Cup Celebrity Ambassadors Steven Callahan and Benz Faget; Chris Bellone (Southern YC), John McNeill (San Francisco) and Jim Wade (Southern YC)

For nearly 31 years, Leukemia Cup Regatta participants have been sailing, powerboating and paddling in communities throughout the country in support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Individuals form fundraising teams that help galvanize relationships between friends, family and business contacts. The team that raises the most in their community receives the coveted Leukemia Cup.

Events take place in a number of different ways but all help to fund life-saving research and treatment for blood cancers. Over $66 million has been raised since the first Leukemia Cup in 1988. National Supporters of the Leukemia Cup Regatta campaign are Gill, Gosling’s Rum, The Moorings, North Sails, Offshore Sailing School, Sailing World and West Marine. For more information, visit

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit

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