2017 Sail for Hope

September 30, 2017

Sail for Hope 2017

Annual Race Around Jamestown Challenges Sailors

NEWPORT, RI (October 1, 2017) – As a fall tradition in Newport, sailors raced around Conanicut Island in the annual Sail for Hope on Saturday.   The fleet of 58 boats raced in seven classes during the 19.1-mile distance race that raised funds for hurricane relief, Warrior Sailing and a Sail Newport Youth Program in memory of Oliver “Tad” Sanchez, III, a well-loved local sailor who died last year.  

The fall regatta, which most often sails in a crisp breeze under brilliant skies, delivered a “dark and stormy” day instead. At the time the 58 boats were preparing to start in their PHRF spinnaker and non-spinnaker, multi-hull and one-design classes, there was only a light northerly. The wind direction prompted the race committee to send the seven classes of boats counter-clockwise around Jamestown Island to finish outside Newport Harbor after sailing up the Bay.

About half way through the seven different class starts, the wind shifted to a westerly and then to a southerly. It’s a rare race day that classes start in such a varying wind direction and on different tacks heading in the same direction.

By Noon all of the classes had started around the island.  Shortly after most boats had rounded the northerly side of Jamestown, a huge breeze filled in with gusts in the upper 20s.

As the competing boats sailed south and passed Dutch Harbor, the breeze had built to what was reported as gusts exceeding 30. The ocean state became heavy with large swells, and several boats capsized and needed assistance from safety boats.

A few of the competing boats ducked into Dutch Harbor to avoid the weather, and two others capsized and had to be towed in by the race committee support boats.

A Marstrom 32 sailboat snapped its mast and required a rescue.   Newport’s Ron O’Hanley guided his crew aboard Privateer to drop out of the race to tow the crippled catamaran into Newport Harbor.  O’Hanley and crew won a sportsmanship award from Sail Newport for helping their fellow competitors return safely.

Most of the fleet finished under dark skies, torrential rain and some flashes of lighting. But, the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of these hardy New England sailors had continued in the race, finished, and attended an after-race party at the Newport Shipyard to raise donations for several worthy charities.

“This race will go down in the books,” said Principal Race Officer Sue Reilly. “We have an awesome volunteer group in Newport and some amazing sailors in Newport.”

The overall monies raised for the three individual charities will be announced later this week after final donations have been tallied.  The race was first sailed in 2011 as “Sail for Pride” after the 9-ll attacks to help victims and their families. Over $1 million has been raised for more than a dozen charities to date.

2017 will mark the 16th anniversary of the original Sail for Pride. This year we will be raising funds for Hurricane Relief (Harvey, Irma, Maria), Warrior Sailing Program and the Tad Sanchez Youth Sailing Program at SN.  In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania, a few local sailing enthusiasts scrambled to organize a regatta to honor and support those affected. 

The first Sail For Pride Regatta rallied over 180 boats and $110,000 designated for charities to support the NYFD firefighters, police and the victims of the attacks and their families.

The display of patriotism and generosity on and off the water made a lasting impression in the sailing community. After the 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 focuses mission to supporting local non-profit endeavors.  Charities supported over the years have included RI Red Cross, Seamen's Church Institute, Newport Harbormaster's Emergency Equipment Fund, local public high school sailing teams, US Olympic Sailing Trials and many more.  Those funds reached outside Rhode Island in 2005 when over $100,000 was raised after Hurricane Katrina's and send to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

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

For more information on the 2017 Sail for Hope, email our Race Manager today.
For Dockage Questions for the 2017 Sail for Hope, email Nick Mauprivez today. 


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