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After that tragic day in 2001, a few local sailors hurried to organize a regatta to raise funds for victims’ families and to create a stunning show of patriotism in a race around Conanicut Island. In that first year, the Sail for Pride rallied over 180 boats and raised $110,000 for 9/11 charities within three weeks time.
The event was so successful and heartfelt, it left a deep impression on the Rhode Island sailing community and the organizers vowed to continue the tradition as an annual event “‘lest we forget” the victims of 9/11. The Sail for Pride name was retired and the lasting event was named “Sail for Hope” reflecting the State’s motto. Every year since 2001, Sail for Hope has been managed by its founding organizations Sail Newport, New England Boatworks, Mac Designs and the IYAC and it has become an annual fall tradition for sailors. Overall, the event has raised over $900,000 for a multitude of charities.
“We are committed to continue the giving from the sailing community, says co-founder Scotty Murray (Middletown, RI). Since the first event, we have been determined to remember the victims and their families but to also be proactive by helping those in need in Rhode Island,” he adds.
Sail Newport also announced that this year’s Sail for Hope will raise funds for the Warrior Sailing Program’s activities in Newport.
“The Warrior Sailing Program will be available at Sail Newport next year and will be open to veterans and active duty personnel to come and learn how to sail, experience the open water and participate in a healthy sport,” says Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport and a co-founder of the original event.
“Adults can learn to sail at any age and our goal is to teach more and more sailors, many with disabilities, to take an active role in sailing and competing.”
Sail for Hope is open to sailboats 22 feet and over. Racing experience is not necessary and Sail Newport invites all boats to participate in the sail around the island. Entrants are also encouraged to raise funds for either or both charities in a sail-a-thon format. The most coveted prize of the event is awarded to the top fundraising boat.
The cost of participating in the sail around the island is based on length of entrant’s boat and is available online at www.sailnewport.org. Entry fees are split between the two designated charities. Dockage is available at Sail Newport at no extra cost to entrants.
A party will be held at the Newport Shipyard after sailing for awards, trophies and an auction to help support the RI Red Cross and the Warrior Sailing Program. To register for the event and for more information:www.sailnewport. org .
Information provided by Sail Newport | Picture via 12 Meter Charters