The following was provided by Sail Newport

On Saturday, September 11, a community of sailors in Newport, plans to race around Conanicut Island in the 20th Anniversary Sail for Pride. The event was founded twenty years ago in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

In the 2001 Sail for Pride, nearly 200 boats raced or cruised around the island, flew their ensigns in a show of national support, and raised funds for victims, survivors and first responders. Over $100,000 was raised from the event to support 9/11 nonprofit organizations. 

Sail for Hope entrants fly their ensigns in a show of national pride, “Billy Black/2002 Sail for Hope/Sail Newport”

After the remarkable event, one of the co-founders, local sailor Scott Murray, rallied fellow sailors, families, friends and crews together and vowed to hold the event every year. Because, he said, “Lest we forget.”   

Two decades later, the sailing community has gathered every year (except once when weather forced cancellation) to race and to date has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for over a dozen charities.  

“Twenty years after 9/11, the impact of that day has not dimmed or been forgotten. Many of our participants in this year’s Sail for Pride were not yet born, but most of us have not forgotten the impact of that day – where we were, what we were doing, and who lost family or friends. We swore then that we would never forget and would continue to help those in need,” says Murray. 

Sail Newport announced today that organizers chose The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Warrior Sailing, and The Timothy J. Mills’ Financial Aid Fundat Sail Newport to receive donations from next week’s event and fundraiser. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. They also honor military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for America. 

“The Newport Sail for Pride has supported so many worthy charities over the years, and Tunnel to Towers is honored to receive support from this annual event, on the 20th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Events like this help us keep the promise we made 20 years ago to NEVER FORGET, and teach the next generation about the heroes we lost that tragic day,” says Frank Siller, Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The nonprofit organization Warrior Sailing is also slated to receive funding from Sail for Pride. They provide maritime education and outreach opportunities for wounded, ill and injured veterans. By teaching the sport of sailing, Warrior Sailing improves veteran’s physical and mental health while reconnecting them with the camaraderie and teamwork previously found in service. 

“What better way for the sailing community to thank veterans for their service than by sharing the sport we all love with them! We are grateful to be included in the 2021 Sail for Pride,” says Director Ben Poucher.

The Timothy J. Mills’ Financial Aid Fund was established at Sail Newport this year in memory of Newport’s former harbormaster, Tim Mills, who passed away in 2020. All dollars raised will be directed to the endowed fund which provides financial assistance to children in need seeking to participate in Sail Newport’s Summer Youth Sailing Program. “Tim loved sailing in and around Narragansett Bay and loved encouraging new sailors, young and old. This Fund seems to be a perfect way to pay tribute to him in a way that he would have supported, sharing his love of the water and providing an opportunity for young sailors to experience sailing for the first time,” says Kathleen Dunn, Tim Mills’ sister.

Registration for the race around Conanicut Island (Jamestown) is open to sail and powerboats, 22 feet and larger. Organizers encourage all boaters to participate and will assign a PHRF rating for boat owners who don’t ordinarily race. Powerboats are also invited and will cruise around the island in concert with the race. Registration for all boats is at this link:  Register Sail for Pride. Sailboats will be scored PHRF spinnaker, non-spinnaker, and double-handed classes. Multi-hull boats will be scored with a NEMA rating. Those who charter a Sail Newport J/22 will be scored in a one-design class and race on an East/West Passage buoy course. Reservations for a J/22 may be made via emailing the Sail Newport Dock Office.

Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard will host an after-race social and fundraiser at their location on Newport Harbor. The party for race entrants will include an auction and fundraising for each of the three designated charities.   The name “Sail for Pride” was chosen initially as participants were encouraged to fly the ensign from the stern of their boats in a display of American support and pride. After 2001, the name Sail for Pride was retired, and the event was renamed Sail for Hope – inspired by the Rhode Island flag motto. Every ten years, the race is again called Sail for Pride to commemorate tenth-anniversary milestones.
Donations may be made to either of the three charities or directed to be split between the three nonprofit organizations here: Donate Sail for Pride.

“I’m hoping as many boats as possible can join us for this significant anniversary year of remembering those we lost and who were injured during the attacks on our country and to continue our twenty years of helping heal through giving,” says Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport and a co-founder of the sailing event.

Donations may be made at: https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/23008/donations/new

Boat registration for the event:https://sailnewport.org/calendar/sail-for-pride/

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).