In lieu of the Leukemia Cup, which never returned from the COVID-19 pandemic, a fleet of sailboats will circumnavigate Conanicut Island to support hungry Rhode Islanders.
The discontinued regatta was raced on Narragansett Bay annually during the first week of June from 1995-2019. The Rhody Regatta, hosted by the International Yacht & Athletic Club, will fill that void. Newport resident Clay Deutsch will set sail June 3 for the 18-mile race onboard his C&C 30 Just a Friend.
“This is a great idea,” he said. “For many, it will be a shakedown for the summer sailing season.”
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank distributes food through its 140 member agencies, including food pantries, meal sites and shelters. It serves more than 63,000 people each month, which is a 20 percent increase from 2019. The economic fallout from the pandemic has been attributed to this rise. According to Andrew Schiff, chief executive of the charity, 31 percent of households in Rhode Island are food insecure.
“The fundraiser comes at a critical time of increased need for food assistance in our community,” he said.
After registering for the race on the Yacht Scoring website, teams are encouraged to establish a fundraising page on a website managed by the food bank.
“We hope that our racing community will embrace this effort as it has done for similar efforts to help others in the past,” said IYAC commodore Bill Titus. “Those of us fortunate enough to have access, through whatever means, to this sport and Narragansett Bay have so much.” “It’s always good to be mindful of that and give back to our community when an opportunity like this arises.”
Titus will sail onboard Kip Curren’s 60-foot Reichel/Pugh design Laura. The regatta is open to all cruising and racing yachts regardless of whether they have a 2023 PHRF-Narragansett Bay rating.
A week after the inaugural Rhody Regatta, a second circumnavigation of Conanicut Island will be raced during a regatta that is much older. The New York Yacht Club’s flagship regatta will be run for the 169th time from June 9-11, and the event includes a race around Jamestown for opening day.