Paddling pumpkins for a cause

Published on October 13th, 2019

For gazing at beautiful boats, or hungry for an epic breakfast with a matching view, it’s hard to beat Newport Shipyard in Newport, RI. But the venue is a community hub for good reason, among them is their annual “Pumpkin Regatta” which attracts the local yachting community for some righteous racing.

Held October 4, the mission this year was to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Dorian, raising $3,022 for hurricane relief organization HeadKnowles. Different charities are chosen each year and for 2019, Shipyard employees chose to raise money to help Bahamian residents who were affected by Hurricane Dorian in early September.

“Every year, the outpouring of support for our chosen charity and everyone’s desire to race in our fiberglass pumpkins never ceases to amaze me,” said Eli Dana, general manager of Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard.

“We had over 125 people join us to either race or cheer on friends and fellow captains and yacht crew in what has become a fun and very worthy annual tradition. Local residents also joined in on the fun and the result was over $3000 raised for hurricane relief.”

This year seven teams raced in a relay-style challenge across the Shipyard’s “Main Street” basin for bragging rights as fastest team. Teams are allowed to race more than once to best their own time and there were at least three capsizes in the two-hour contest.

In the end, team Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry from the M/Y Odessa won with the fastest time of 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Team Boleronawa representing the S/Y Bolero and S/Y Onawa won for best costumes with their silver one-piece suits and floral head dresses.

“The energy around the Pumpkin Regatta is always lighthearted and festive which is a nice outlet for captains and crew who are often working long days getting ready for their return to warmer climates,” continued Dana. “We hope to keep this tradition going for many years to come.”

Tacos and burritos from Diego’s Newport were served all evening by their local catering team and the bar was sponsored by Whalers Brewing Company, a local Rhode Island brewery and partner of Newport Shipyard.

Paddlers paid $20 each to race and all attendees supported the event by buying raffle tickets, making donations, and bidding in silent auction items. Both winning teams took home a case of Whalers Rise and three bottles of rosé

“A big thanks to our donors and sponsors who are helping to make this annual event a huge success,” Dana concluded.

Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, one of the most popular and recommended shipyards in the U.S., is a full-service marina and shipyard with over 3,500 linear feet of dock space that can accommodate yachts up to 300+ feet.

Its amenities include a dockside café, ship store, fitness center, courtesy vehicles and crew housing. With its friendly staff, welcoming atmosphere and event planning capabilities, Newport Shipyard also is host to many other prestigious yachting events.

The event calendar includes the Newport Charter Yacht Show, Newport Bermuda Race Crew Party, Candy Store Cup superyacht regatta, Newport Yacht Rendezvous benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, and the Newport Brokerage Boat Show. For the full Newport Shipyard experience, visit:

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