Sailing is life, the rest is just details

Published on July 28th, 2019

There are times in our lives when sports transcend competition. It goes beyond winning and losing, or life and death. CJ Buckley epitomized this feeling.

A talented Tabor Academy sailor, CJ loved to team race; the strategy and tactics of team racing was an exciting challenge for him. Summer after summer, he sailed and competed with his friends at the Greenwich Bay Sailing Association in Rhode Island.

In 2001, CJ Buckley was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, two weeks before his 16th birthday. The following winter, December of 2002, CJ lost his battle with cancer. CJ’s teammates from GBSA started the CJ Buckley Regatta in his memory in 2003, to keep his passion for team racing and sailing alive in the community.

The 17th edition of the CJ Buckley Regatta will be held at East Greenwich Yacht Club in collaboration with GBSA on July 29-30. The regatta has grown and changed over the years, from a fun remembrance of a special teammate, to the Club 420 Association National Junior Team Race Championship.

Each year the regatta attracts teams from all over the country, selling out minutes after registration opens. Alumni of the event have gone on to be Collegiate All-Americans, National Champions, and professional sailors.

By the numbers in 2018, 155 sailors, on 24 teams from 17 states and territories, in 72 boats completed over 200 races on one course in two days. Over 70 volunteers led by Chief Race Officials Justin and Kyle Assad, Co-Chair Carter Buckely and Chief Umpire Clinton Hayes, made it all run smoothly.

Made up of CJ’s teammates, friends, family, and others who have fallen in love with the event over the years, the volunteer crew all believes in the mission of the regatta; to help instill CJ’s love for team racing and sailing among today’s junior sailors.

As one of the largest youth team races of its kind, the CJ is synonymous with the summer racing circuit. Drawing sailors from across the country such as California, Chicago, Maryland, Minnesota, Florida, and all the way down to the US Virgin Islands, it is the highlight of many summer programs.

All of the proceeds from the regatta go to the epinonimous scholarship fund which provides aid to those youth sailors who demonstrate the desire and drive to embrace the sport that CJ loved.

The CJ Buckley Regatta aims to keep his love of the sailing alive every summer. Team racing is unique in a largely individual sport, having to work together to get teammates ahead is unusual and different. It is this teamwork oriented attitude that captures young sailors attention.

Through the tireless efforts of the Buckleys, Assads, Murthas, Baeders, Langellas, Wehrs and MacMillans, along with countless other individuals, the event serves as a lasting reminder of CJ and his passion. After all, as CJ said, “Sailing is life, the rest is just details.”



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