Harken Derm

Helping those who are suffering

Published on September 11th, 2019

We’re big fans of the annual Sail for Hope fundraising regatta in Newport, RI. It’s not a windward-leeward course, it’s very inclusive, and it is super righteous. It brings together all sailors, not just the hyper-competitive, to sail with a purpose. Actually a few purposes.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the original sailing event. In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania, Scott Murray, Mick Harvey, Brad Read, Pat Kennedy, and Sail Newport staff acted quickly to organize a regatta to honor and support those affected.

In only three weeks, the first event titled Sail for Pride, rallied over 180 boats and $110,000 for charities. Funding supported New York City firefighters, police, and the victims of the attacks and their families.

The remarkable display of patriotism and generosity on and off the water made a lasting impression in the sailing community. After that inaugural year, the organizers retired the name Sail for Pride, but continued the event as Sail for Hope, reflecting the Rhode Island state motto and focused the mission to support non-profit endeavors.

The 2019 edition will focus its fundraising efforts on aid needed for the recovery of the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian decimated the islands.

“Our friends in the Bahamas are in dire need in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and will be our primary focus at this year’s regatta. We ask all sailors to participate in the event for a sail around Jamestown Island but also to remember this is to raise money to help others in great need,” says Murray.

All sailboats over 22 feet are invited to participate in the race around Jamestown on September 28. Several classes are available for PHRF-rated boats, spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions and some one-designs will also race.

Murray encourages all boats to register whether they are avid racers or not. A rating will be assigned to any vessel that would like to participate.

Also, Sail for Hope is open to powerboats who want to join the cause and cruise around Conanicut Island in a show of support and to help raise funds.

The race starts outside of Newport Harbor beginning at 11 a.m. Shoreside vantage points to watch the event include Goat Island, Fort Adams State Park, Beavertail and points along the Jamestown shoreline.

After the race, The Newport Shipyard sponsors and holds a fundraising reception for participants.

Each year the organizers select three charities to benefit from funding. In addition to Hurricane Dorian relief through The Rhode Island Red Cross, the Warrior Sailing Program and the Tad Sanchez Youth Sailing Program at Sail Newport will also be featured charities.

Charities supported over the years include the Rhode Island Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief, food banks, Seamen’s Church Institute, Newport Harbormaster’s Emergency Equipment Fund, local public high school sailing teams, US Olympic Sailing Trials, and emergency assistance to active-duty families, military veterans and others.

To date, over $1,000,000 has been raised for various charities.

“Sail for Pride was founded because of tragic events and great need. We remain committed to compassionately help those are who are suffering and other deserving charities,” Murray adds.

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