Warrior Sailing Program had two teams of paddlers racing in the Pumpkin Regatta on September 29 at Newport Shipyard
More than 200 members of the yachting community rallied on Friday, September 29 at Newport Shipyard to paddle in the Shipyard’s annual “Pumpkin Regatta” which raised over $8,200 for three non-profit organizations: Warrior Sailing Program which provides maritime education and outreach for wounded, ill, and injured service members; and Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) and Sea Mercy, both of which are aiding in hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean.
 
“It was a beautiful evening and we were thrilled with the number of people who came to race in our annual event and have fun supporting these organizations,” said Eli Dana, Newport Shipyard’s general manager. “This is by far the most money we have raised through this event and it truly was a team effort with Shipyard employees, yacht crews, and many local businesses generously donating for the silent auction and raffle. “We believe strongly in supporting the Warrior Sailing Program and we especially enjoyed having two teams of Warriors paddling and meeting many members of the Newport yachting community,” Dana said. “We spend several weeks in Antigua each winter supporting another event called the Wobbly Club Regatta which benefits Antigua and Barbuda Search & Rescue. We have a long-standing relationship with ABSAR and wanted to support their mission of rebuilding the hospital in Barbuda, which was decimated by Hurricane Irma,” Dana continued. “Finally, several yacht crews here work with Sea Mercy, an organization that has been asked to lead the disaster and response efforts in the Caribbean. Sea Mercy is focusing on dedicated transport to get aid and volunteers to needed areas, clean water generation, health care, and collecting and distributing roofing and building materials. We are thrilled to donate the money our community has helped us raise to these three worthy organizations,” Dana concluded.
A donation tent was also setup during the Pumpkin Regatta to collect new or gently used bed linens, towels, clothing, and other dry goods to take to the Caribbean later this Fall. Donations will continue to be collected at Newport Shipyard through the end of October.
 
Paddlers paid $25 each to race across the Shipyard’s “main street” basin, around a buoy and back in fiberglass pumpkins which were painted red, white & blue to honor Warrior Sailing Program. Each team had 4-5 paddlers in the relay-style race, which was timed by Shipyard employees. Team The Viz won the race with a best time of 5 minutes, 8 seconds and proudly received a case of champagne and bragging rights as the fastest pumpkin in town! Attendees enjoyed tacos and burritos from Diego’s Bodega, which was sponsored by Newport Shipyard, and yachts at the Shipyard donated hot dogs, wine and other beverages for everyone to enjoy.
 
Local businesses including the Clarke Cooke House, Newport Marriott, The Spa at the Newport Marriott, Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, and Black Rock Sailing School, made donations to the silent auction which raised $1,180. Avery and Elena Whidden, longtime friends and customers of the Shipyard, called in to buy the life-sized baby inflatable elephant that they saw on Newport Shipyard’s Instagram account. “We are in for $1,000,” Mr. Whidden said. “It’s all such a good cause.”
 
Donors for the raffle included: Candy Store Cup, Soulful Touch, Holy Smokes, Lemon & Line, Crosswynd Traders, Helly Hansen, lululemon, Breakwater Surf Co., RE-Sails, Buzzards Bay Outfitters, Providence Bruins, Mission, Aquidneck Meat & Provisions, and Mudville Pub.
 
For more information about events Newport Shipyard hosts and organizes, visit: www.NewportShipyard.com

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.