MOUNT DESERT — Twenty-two years ago, Jim Fernald, sailor and then-board chair of Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County (HVHC), participated in a regatta in Annapolis, Md., that was a fundraiser for a hospice program. He decided this was something that could be done in Hancock County, recruited a team of volunteers and helped host the first Hospice Regatta of Maine in the summer of 1997.
On Friday, skies were gray and the wind was shifty, but organizers and sailors in the 20th annual Hospice Regatta of Maine were undeterred. The Northeast Harbor Fleet and Southwest Harbor Fleet held their regular races Friday and Saturday with special registration fees going to HVHC as part of the Hospice regatta. They also gathered for a special tea Friday at the home of Tom and Ginny Rolfes and a “Rendezvous” cocktail party and award ceremony at Morris Yachts in Northeast Harbor.
The event raised about $35,000 for Hospice, director Jody Wolford-Tucker said Monday. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year, representing about 12 percent of our operating budget, which is a significant amount for an independent program that does not charge for our services. And, just as importantly, the regatta brings together so many supporters from many different groups throughout our community, strengthening our partnerships and helping us reach those in need of our care.”
At the rendezvous after racing Saturday, several sailing award winners spoke about how important hospice care has been for members of their families.
Fernald sailed his Luders to a fifth-place finish of the 13 on the line for the day. He was one of several sailors and sponsors to have participated in all 20 of the annual events since 1997.
Ned Johnston of Bar Harbor was first in Luders racing. Fran and Tucker Charles were second, and Rick Wheeler was third. John Henry and Laura Madeira were the race committee. Lisle Elliman, Scott DuPont and Scott Homer were on mark boat duty in challenging conditions.
The area sailing schools and camps participating in the Great Harbor Dream youth sailing collaboration got in on the Hospice Regatta fun Friday. Alec Fisichella and Aaron Yeiser won the day in 420 racing, with Jamie Slater and Jian Carlo Fasci in second place. Younger sailors competed in Optimists, with Terra Ehrhart leading the pack. Ben Carroll was second, and Daisy Granholm was third.
Many of the youth sailors met again, along with competitors from around New England, at Junior Olympic racing set for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in the Great Harbor of MDI. See story in next week’s Mount Desert Islander.
On Saturday, some early rain ended before International One Design (IOD) racing got underway, and 13 boats were on the line for racing in a very light east wind. John Henry and his crew on Gambler finished second in the first race and won the second race to become this year’s Hospice champions. The crew included Emily Wesson, a nurse, and Chad Thieken. Steve Madeira on Aurora had a bullet in the first race and fifth-place finish in the second, to take second place on the day.
Mike Cook won the cruising class trophy this year in Lynnette. Henry Brauer was runner up in Fleetwing. Joe Weber singlehanded his 49-foot Dreadnought in the race. Sidewinder, Far Out and Scarlett BEE also came out for the race. Sunday’s cruising class racing was canceled due to fog.
Photos of racing and awards by board member Judy Holmes are available from the Hospice office.