In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania in 2001, a few Newport, R.I., sailing enthusiasts organized a regatta to honor and support those affected by the tragedy.
The first Sail for Pride regatta rallied more than 180 boats and raised $110,000 designated for charities to support the New York firefighters, police, and the victims of the attacks and their families.
After the inaugural year, the organizers retired the name Sail for Pride, but continued the event as Sail for Hope aimed at supporting local charities. Over the years the event has supported the Rhode Island Red Cross, Seamen’s Church Institute, Newport Harbormaster’s Emergency Equipment Fund, local public high school sailing teams, U.S. Olympic Sailing Trials and many more, including a huge fund-raising year in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. To date more than $800,000 has been raised.
Marking this year’s event, the organizers have returned to the name Sail for Pride and hosted a regatta with Sail Newport as the organizing authority. Two courses were featured this year — one 18-mile course around Conanicut Island the other a one-design buoy course for J/22s and other one designs.
A total of 83 boats crossed the finish line following a day of great racing to support the 2011 charities: the Wounded Warrior Project, a Virginia-based non-profit organization aimed at empowering and honoring wounded servicemen and women, and the R.I. Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Fund assisting servicemen, servicewomen and their families.