Hope was the overall winner on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the 2007 Port Washington Yacht Club Charity Cup Regatta as racers, club members and friends gathered to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. The "house that love built" at the Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park provides comfort and shelter to families experiencing the pain of having a sick child in an area hospital. Instead of spending nights in hospital waiting rooms or costly hotels, families seeking medical care far from home can stay in a warm and caring environment at Ronald McDonald House. The "house" does all this, but more. What is less spoken about, but is very real, is the hope the dedicated staff and volunteers dispense every day to families in distress. It is hope that gets parents through yet another day - a day filled with all the challenges of caring for a very sick child. Because of the generosity and hard work of members of PWYC, Ronald McDonald House can continue to offer the highest quality of care and comfort - and hope - to the families who cross their doorstep.
The weather gods must have known what the folks at PWYC were up to, for they provided a picture-perfect day, not only sending good wind to our area, but an abundance of warm weather and sunshine for those who chose to swim in the club's pool, grab a tennis game, or just sit by the waterfront and enjoy a spectacular view of Manhasset Bay while eating a delicious lunch. Kids' activities included a magic show, face painting and photo opportunities with Ronald McDonald. For the racers, Race Committee Chair Gene Brooks, set up about a 2.5 hour race course for the PHRF boats, and another course for the Knickerbocker One Designs (KODs). The good weather, plus great food and drink that awaited the teams as they returned to land, made for very happy sailors as they discussed their triumphs and travails on the race course. The awards ceremony, hosted by William Downey, commodore, Dan Hanley, event chair and PRO Gene Brooks gave trophies to the top boats in each division: Division I - Non -spinnaker: 1. Phantom, John Scagnelli, 2. Wizard, Trevor and Ira Wisdom, and 3. Renric, Harvey Mitch. Division II - Spinnaker: 1. Eagle, Ernie Bivona, 2. Happy Daze, Tom Egan, and 3. Naked Dance, Adam Bliefeld. Division III - Non-spinnaker: 1. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, and 2. Chieftan, Robert Chuda. Division IV - Spinnaker: 1. Georgetown III, George Marks, 2. Out of Reach, Louis Nees, and 3. Free-Fall, Bill McFaul. Division- One Design: 1. Phoenix, Tom Powers, 2. Sonic, Michael Ainhorn, and 3. Knick Knack, Arthur Kass.
An event of this magnitude can't be run by just one person. Dan Hanley, regatta chairman, had many club members to help him make the day not only successful but a ton of fun. Thanks go to: Vicki Cronacher, Theresa Nees, Nancy Downey, event chairpersons; Gene Brooks, PRO and his race committee: Rita Brooks, Peter and Cathy Christie, Todd and Irene Saunders, Tom and Angela Fitzpatrick, Charles and Enid Chrystal, Tom Sullivan, and the Don Wefer family for donating their boat, Fidelity, as the RC boat.
According to Robert Weitzner, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House, "It was a great day - many thanks to Commodore Downey and Dan Hanley and his committee, not just for this year, but for the two previous years that Port Washington YC has chosen the Ronald McDonald House as their charity. I wish them every success in the future." Although the final numbers are not in yet, Dan Hanley, event chair, said, "I know we did better than last year when we made $74,000. The evening auction this year was outstanding - we made about $30,000 on that alone." That will go a long way in offering hope to families desperate to have something to hold onto, as they travel the scary road of caring for a very sick - and possibly terminally ill - child.