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Sail for Hope raises $53,588 for COVID-19 related community support

by Sail Newport 15 Sep 16:04 BST
Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer meets the 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA 60 during an around Jamestown, RI race. © Billy Black

Newport, RI delivered perfect sailing conditions for the annual Sail for Hope race around Conanicut Island Saturday. The race is a yearly fundraiser that started in 2001 after the 9-11 attacks.

The event marked the 19th year of the 'round-the-island (Conanicut, RI) race which attracted 76 entrants for eight PHRF classes, one Multi-hull class, and a one-design J/22 class.

The fundraising regatta has tallied $53,588 in donations as of today and organizers expect additional donations to arrive this week.

"Saturday was one of the greatest sailing days I have ever seen on Narragansett Bay. But the spirit of Sail for Hope was not only to race, but to raise funding for those in need. Congratulations to the 11th Hour Racing Team for their generous donation of $15,000 to support three charities. They took the most meaningful trophy home - Top Fundraising Boat," says Matt Duggan, regatta director for Sail Newport.

The morning started with an easterly 8-12-knot breeze for the ten starting signals. Towards the end of the 18.7-mile course around Jamestown, the breeze shifted east/southeast and increased to over 15 knots. The race today was one of the quickest laps in the 19-year history of the race.

From the start outside Newport Harbor, the fleet sailed clockwise rounding Beavertail first, passing through the Jamestown Bridge, sailing around the northern tip of Jamestown Island, and then made a close-hauled finish to the south of the Newport Bridge.

The one-design fleet of Sail Newport J/22s sailed an inner loop course south to Castle Hill, back north through the Newport Bridge and around Gould Island to the finish off of Jamestown Harbor.

Nonprofit organizations benefitting from the fundraiser include the MLK Community Center for hunger, youth, family and senior support, Frontline Foods RI for meals for frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic and Sail Newport, for community sailing programs.

First place boats in each of the classes after time corrections included: Ron O'Hanley of Newport on his Cookson 50 Privateer (PHRF-Spinnaker 1); Mike Toppa of Newport onboard the W-37 Cavalino (PHRF-Spinnaker 2), Ken and Brad Read, of Portsmouth and Middletown RI on the Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 double-handed entry Alchemist (PHRF-Spinnaker 3); Vincent and Kristina McAteer of East Greenwich, RI on the Mills/Summit Divided Sky (PHRF Spinnaker 4); and the VX One Chuck Wagon, with Newport sailors Phip Hallowell and Charles Brown (PHRF-Spinnaker 5).

In the Non-spinnaker Division, Donald Tofias of Newport helmed his W-76 Wild Horses to a first-place win (PHRF-Non-Spinnaker 1), and Bristol, RI sailor Eric Hall won first place in the PHRF Non-Spinnaker 2 Class onboard Blackwing.

Surge, skippered by Ryan McKillen of Miami, Florida, won the Multi-Hull Class. The J/22 class raced on its own course and was won by Momentum with Mohamad Farzan and crew of Newport, capturing the one-design trophy.

In overall scores, Hall on Blackwing won first place in the PHRF Non-Spinnaker Division. Brown and Hallowell on Chuck Wagon notched a first-place overall win in the PHRF-Spinnaker Division.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of 9-11 and the race which originally sailed three weeks after the terrorist attacks. In 2020, the event is titled Sail for Pride as it was named in 2001 and will take place on September 11, 2021.

Find full results here.

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