Two very different days of weather, two rainbows, five dolphins and 66 entries on the starting line made for a good venue to raise funds and awareness for hospice on St. Croix, at the St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta, February 19-21. Regatta director Julie San Martin announced the $50,000 fund raising goal was met through entry fees, donations and sponsorships. Continuum Care Foundation director Tracy Sanders accepted the regatta proceeds with gratitude, saying they will be used immediately for medical equipment and medications to give patients end-of-life comfort and dignity.
While the weather did not permit the newly added Kiteboard classes to get off the beach, all fifteen entrants opted to donate their entry fees to hospice, and they said they’d all be back next year. The Optimist class sailed eleven races, with the overall trophy going to Sam Morrell, age 10 years, from Tortola. He’s been sailing since he was seven, and said he was challenged by the shifty winds on Saturday. Sam took home his weight in sport drink and says he’ll train a bit longer for next year’s event.
On the one-design course inside Teague Bay, Chris Schreiber took honors in the Rhodes 19 class. He was also challenged by the wind shifts on Saturday, which put a premium on tactics and positioning. “Sunday was a gorgeous day,” he said, “with 10-14 knots of steady breeze.” Schreiber’s life has been touched by Hospice, and he enjoyed having fun while benefiting those who need end of life care. Matthew Flood escaped the cold in Westbrook, CT, and sailed his chartered 19-foot keelboat to a second-place finish.
On the Buck Island Channel course, Robert Armstrong’s J-100, Bad Girl, won the Spinnaker Racing class with an all-Crucian crew and six top three finishes. Though helmsman Jens Hookanson was born in St. Croix, he has lived in the U.S. since age 16 and had never sailed in the annual SCYC regatta. He liked the race to Christiansted, followed by windward-leeward courses in the Channel. Tactician Carlos Skov is key to the program, according to Hookanson. Skov was especially touched by the win, as his mother was the first hospice patient on St. Croix, and weighed in at eight cases of Cruzan Rum. Armstrong and crew also received an invitation to the National Hospice Regatta Championships, to be sailed in Rochester, NY next June. Chris Stanton and his brothers’ Devil3 took second place, tied for points with Dave West’s Melges 32, Jurakan. Jib & Main competitor Steve Schmidt was awarded the Commodore’s Trophy for Best Visiting Yacht, SC-70 Hotel California, Too, (and best Margaritas), and Tortola’s Peter Haycraft won the Cape Air ticket raffle, as part of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (CORT) series.
Sanders, also director of Continuum Care, Inc., St. Croix’s first hospice, was “stunned at the response” to the regatta and its goals. A significant portion of the island’s residents have inadequate insurance coverage, if any; funds raised by the regatta will ensure that compassionate at-home care is available to all of St. Croix’s terminally ill patients. Pain and comfort medications, oxygen, adjustable beds, wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment can now be provided at no cost. Hospice care also includes education and support for the patient’s family, including grief counseling.
Continuum Care staffed a medical tent at the regatta, and treated sunburn, splinters, hangovers and one child who had a seizure. Supplies were donated by The Medicine Shoppe and Mt. Welcome Pharmacy, and the unused medical essentials will be further donated to Haiti relief.
The St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta is the first leg of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle, which will continue in Palmas Del Mar, PR, March 19, and end in Tortola, April 1.
Results at www.stcroixregatta.com