An estimated 50 sailboats will compete for a good cause on Saturday, May 20, during the 20th Annual Hospice Regatta, taking place off Fort Lauderdale beach.
The event is expected to raise about $50,000 to help care for over 2,000 terminally ill patients in Broward and Palm Beach.
“We are in South Florida [where] people love being on the water and the boating and sailing community is a very caring and giving group of individuals,” said Lauryn Barry, director of special events for Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation. “They love to be able to give back to an organization while participating in the sport they love to do.”
Any size sailboat belonging to seven different classes can participate, including PHRF, Arc, One Design, Multihull, Cruising Canvas, Beach Cat and Gunk Hole.
“It’s a fun race. It’s a great party,” said Holly Griffin, a member of the regatta’s committee. “This year we are going to have a drone flying over taping the race.”
The one-day, 12-mile event raises funds for Hospice by the Sea and Hospice of Palm Beach County, both nonprofit arms that help support parent company Trustbridge, which provides hospice services for patients and families throughout Broward and Palm Beach.
This year, teams that raise over $1,000 will receive a free boat entry and an extra dinner ticket. A trophy will be given to the team that brings in the most money. Awards will also be handed out to first to third place winners in each race category along with an overall regatta winner.
In April, some boat teams were already raising money for the regatta’s raffles and silent auction, which Griffin said will be bigger than last year’s events.
“The race is competitive for those who want to be competitive,” Griffin said.
Barry said funding goes to pay for caring for terminally ill people without health insurance, bereavement and children’s services and other programs.
“The more money we raise in the community, the more programs and the more services we can provide for this community,” she said.
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Michael Duvall, chairman of the regatta and a member of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club, has been participating in the race for about 15 years.
Duvall captains a 47-foot sailboat that weighs about 30,000 pounds and so is not very fast. He sometimes finishes around 15th place.
“Years ago when I first raced in the Hospice egatta, I did it for the fun of the race and the party after the race. Today I do it for the fun [and because] I’m trying to give to society, trying to give to my community by doing this.
“Every year it gets better and better with better participation and better exposure,” Duvall said.
Paul Chasse, an 18-year regatta participant, will compete in the cruising canvas category with his 30-foot Catalina, which he’s owned since 2003.
“The regatta in itself is really just a lot of fun,” he said. It’s a very friendly competition. “I m a big supporter of the hospice program.”
Chasse said he always finishes the race, but he hasn’t won one yet.
“The conditions of the sea can favor some boats versus others. If it’s very windy, the bigger boats are favored versus the smallest boats.”
Regardless, he likes “having a good time and knowing I’m doing a good thing for humanity.”
Up close Entrance fee for the Hospice Regatta is $120 per boat. A skippers meeting will be held Friday, May 19, at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale. Dinner costs are $25. The regatta begins Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. Festivities will end 6 p.m. that night with an award ceremony dinner, live band, raffles and silent auction. Cost to attend the dinner is $75 per person. For more information on the event please call 561-494-6884.