Hospice Cup is a sailing race in Annapolis that raises funds for hospice programs in Maryland, Washington, DC and northern Virginia. Anyone can race in it and they’ve created a number of heats for specific boat types. At the end of the day, there’s a big party where everyone celebrates the fun of day. Here’s the story of one group that’s been participating for years and trains through the summer for the not so serious event.
What began in 1982, as a race among friends to raise money for hospice, has become not only the standard set on the Chesapeake Bay for fundraising regattas, but around the United States as well – it is the grandmother of all fundraising regattas, and we’re lucky to have it here just outside of Annapolis as a reminder of the value of hospice care. The regatta has now become a traditional event among my sailing friends in the Chesapeake Bay Sabre Association – collectively we have raised over $40,000 since we started participating as a group in the Hospice Class in 2006 – with an average of 4 to 8 participating club members in the race each year.
As of Labor Day weekend 2014, we already have 4 committed Sabre sailboats, and a few fundraisers, after spending a lot of time during over a few glasses of wine during our summer rendezvous anticipating who is racing this year, and who is available to crew. Owners of Sabre sailboats like to bill ourselves as cruisers who like to go fast – no matter what size the boat is – so when it comes time to race, we all look forward to pushing our boats to their limits – and each other.
While members of CBSA choose to compete in the Hospice Class, described as a non-spinnaker class for sailboat owners who do not usually race, we are all probably a bit more serious about doing well than maybe the other participants in the class, because it’s “personal.” We even held a very brief “ceremony” in June for the passing of the official CBSA trophy for “Best Performing Sabre in Hospice Class,” that was the brainchild of one of our members, and designed paid for by the Sabre manufacturer themselves as a way to support our efforts.
Not to brag, but Sabre sailboats generally hog the podium at the Hospice Cup’s trophy time when it comes time to award for the top three positions as well as “Best Performing Boat Hosting a Caregiver” – one of the privileges of racing in Hospice Class is actually being able to give back to the ones who do the work.
And if that wasn’t enough, CBSA is also the three-time winner of the Hospice Cup’s Club Fundraising Award from 2007 – 2009. 2014 will mark the first time my husband Michael and I will be crew on another boat during the race, as we have sailed our Sabre 402 in every race since 2006 – and during that time have had the honor of finishing everywhere from first to middle of the pack. But we’re happy to be crewing on a new member’s boat who was enthusiastic to step in to support the cause.
Overall, racing a sailboat for a cause is all very humbling, because you know that the people you are supporting are having a lot tougher time than you are – despite wind conditions. In the long run, (particularly the windless, downwind kind) we are all more concerned about doing good for hospice than doing well in the race.
That’s what Hospice Cup is all about.