Congratulations to the Port Washington YC - they've have done it again! For seven years now, this club has hosted the Leukemia Cup Regatta, and this year was the best one ever. It was a day of mixed emotions, for this year's regatta was dedicated to Captain Norman Geller, who was a good friend to the local sailing community surrounding Manhasset Bay. Norm, after working for years to help raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in April of this year, and succumbed to the disease in August. He would have been proud of his club, for they raised $70,000, a 50 percent increase over last year, to help fight this dreaded disease and at the same time, everyone had a great time. Norm was the kind of person who found fun in everything he did, and if you happened to meet him while you were doing errands, or more likely, on the waterfront, he always had a great story to tell, something that kept you smiling for the rest of the day. Yes, it was a great time over at the Port Washington YC - just the kind of day that Norm would have loved.
Rear Commodore Bill Downey on board Growler opening a bottle of refreshment for the spectators.
It was a full day of activities at this year's Leukemia Cup. There were tennis matches in the morning, carnival games for the children, the heated pool was open all day, and "Charlie Magic" made an appearance in the late afternoon to the delight of the children. By the time sailors and spectators returned to shore, a delicious BBQ dinner was awaiting them, followed by the Awards Ceremony and live auction. Ed Wassmer, Commodore of the club, reflected on this year's event, "this is the seventh year, and every year we make the event bigger and bigger. This year it is a YRA event, there's lots of sponsorship. There's good wind, good food, and we're very proud as a club to support a charity - we don't mind putting in a lot to time for a good cause. And tomorrow we start all over again planning for next year."
An event this large takes a lot of people to make it a success. According to Bill Downey, Rear Commodore, "So many people helped. This club exists to help members have fun. We are raising money and having fun at the same time." The Co-chairs of the event were Jay Campbell and Dominick Capolarello, and together they assembled a great team of volunteers who made this year's event so very special. On Race Committee: Peter Christie (who was also on the Event Committee) and Dave DeBaun, Race Committee Co-chairs and PROs (Principal Race Officers) with Bill Geller and Jeff Robbins, Bill McIntosh, Gene Brooks, Susan DeBaun, Tom Steele and Tom Sullivan. Dan Hanley played a dual role as he was on the Marketing Committee plus the Event Committee. Linda Hickey was the club's photographer, and Betsy Alison, who donated her time and travel expenses, was crew on Robert Hodson's Kestrel, as they placed the highest bid to have this sailing "rock star" aboard.
Midshipmen from U.S. Merchant Marine Academy gave up a three-day holiday weekend to bring their 65-foot tug, Growler, to Manhasset Bay to accommodate spectators as they enjoyed an afternoon on the water watching PHRF and one design racing. Skipper Tormod Engvig shed some light on why the Midshipmen came to the Leukemia Cup, "I spoke to last year's crew on Growler and they had a great time, so I signed up and got the rest of the crew (Jason Lake, McClain Isom, Carl Erickson) to come along. It's good to get the name of the Academy out in the community, and we can work and play at the same time." Simon Billig, a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was onboard Growler and thoroughly enjoyed meeting spectators and telling them about the society. He's been to about four fund-raising events so far this year. "I assist in any way I can. I'm really enjoying myself, it's a sunny day, the food is good."
Dominick Capolarello, who was responsible for getting sponsors this year, and his committee must have been a very busy for the past year, as this year's regatta had a tremendous amount of sponsors. The long dock leading to the club's launches was filled with sponsor banners - not a space was available for one more banner. This truly was a community affair, as evidenced by the many people who got their companies involved in such a worthy cause. The 2004 Leukemia Cup Regatta sponsors: Acordia, Acordia New York, Astoria Federal, Arista, Australian United States Services, Brooks Waterburn, Chubb Group Insurance, Cigna Group Insurance, City Underwriting, Davis Vision, First National Administrators, Foxbrook/CB Planning Corp, Geller Marzanno & Company, Graham & Company, Grassi & Company, Highmark Life, HNW, Horizon New Jersey, HSBC, Intercity Agency, HIP of New York, Keevily Spiro Whitelaw, KVA Communication, Lennox Advisors, LiDAC, Macys - Manhasset, MetLife, Mount Gay, Nassau Agency, Northeastern Technologies, OHAL Group, Oxford Health, Penn Mutual, Port Washington YC, Prime, SCS Agency, Standard Security, Sterling & Sterling, Total Dollar Management, TZELL Travel, United HealthCare, Unum/Provident, Vincent Toscano, WindCheck Magazine, Youngs Liquor, and Zurich-American.
Congratulations to Alexander Bidwell, on Flamingo Quest, who won the Leukemia Cup Award for raising the most money by a single boat ($5,371). Second and third place in this category go to Louis Potters on Star Watch, and Lauretta Abbott, Quee Queg. But everyone who came to Port Washington YC on Saturday, October 9th was a winner, whether or not they captured first place on the water, won the very prize they wanted in the Silent Auction, or were one of the lucky raffle winners. Saturday was an especially beautiful day on the water, with good winds and cool air. It was a time that friends and neighbors - our sailing community - got together to raise money for a terrific cause, and to remember one of our own. It was just a perfect day - and a great tribute to our friend Norm Geller.
The Leukemia Cup got its start at the Eastport YC in Annapolis, MD in June of 1993 when the club raised $30,000 for the Maryland Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Enthusiasm for the event has spread across the country after Gary Jobson, ESPN commentator, who serves as the national chairman of the Regatta, spoke at the Society's 1993 Annual Leadership Conference. In 2000, the sailing community raised more than $1.8 million at 41 Leukemia Cup Regattas, and more than 15,000 sailors participated that year. In 2003 the chapters of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society participated in over 65 regattas across the country. It is sad to note that an estimated 110,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma in 2005, and every ten minutes another child or adult dies from this disease. On the bright side, research that is funded by events like the one at the Port Washington YC has helped to triple the survival rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the past 38 years, and Hodgkins disease is now considered to be one of the most curable forms of cancer.
Division I: 1. Cabaret, Bob Limoggio, Little Neck, 2. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, and 3. Free Fall, Bill McFaul. Division II: 1. Happy Daze II, Tom Egan, 2. Shooting Star, Michael Bergmann, and 3. Kestral, Robert Hodson. Division 3: 1. Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum, 2. Arcadia, Thomas Quentin, and 3. Chieftan, Robert Chuda. Division 4: 1. Java Jive, Ted Civetta, 2. Quee Queg, Lauretta Abbott, and 3. Second Wind, Anthony Viola. The top in the Sonar class: 1. Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, 2. Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon/Einar Haukeland, and 3. Housemartin, Beth and Greg Danilek. The Knickerbocker One Designs (KODs): 1. Second Chance, Perry Lengton, 2. Phoenix, Donna and Tom Powers, and 3. Knick Knack, Arthur Kass.