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The 12th annual Southern Chesapeake Leukemia Cup Regatta held in Deltaville over the weekend of July 9-11 was a big success with 79 registered yachts and enthusiastic crowds at the auction and gala, which helped to raise over an estimated $130,000 in cash and in-kind donations to support patients with blood cancers.

The total raised came not just from the sailors who competed on the race course but also from 33 local, regional and national commercial sponsors, led by the presenting sponsor SunTrust Bank, and countless individual community supporters of all the Leukemia Cup events that began in the early spring and culminated with the regatta held at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club.

Individual fund raising was especially successful this year.  Four individuals raised over $8,500 each to qualify for a Fantasy Sail in Charleston, South Carolina with Gary Jobson, international sailor, ESPN television commentator, and national chairman of the Leukemia Cup Regattas. The top fundraiser was Rob Whittet from Richmond who hails the Fishing Bay Yacht Club as the home port for his 37-foot racing sloop “Wavelength.”

And this Leukemia Cup Regatta had a special significance for Whittet. This year, he registered for the event as usual, but things changed suddenly and drastically for him in early June following routine blood work. A life-threatening blood platelet level sent him to the hospital where a battery of tests confirmed initial suspicions that he had lymphoma. 

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The crew of “Wavelength” and skipper Rob Whittet of Richmond (back row, far right). The boat is out of Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville. Whittet was the top individual fundraiser for the regatta.

Not only has he been an enthusiastic supporter of the Leukemia Cup mission in the past, but this year he joined the ranks of those afflicted with the disease to become a beneficiary of the cause as well. In spite of the difficult treatments that lay ahead, Whittet mustered his loyal crew and earned a hard-won trophy in his racing division at the regatta in addition to garnering the top fundraiser award. The search for a cure has many facets.

Another racing entry with a poignant story to tell was Alan Bomar of the Hampton Yacht Club. A multiple myeloma survivor diagnosed with the disease in 2008, his J24 sailed to victory in that one-design class. Several other blood cancer survivors held down crew positions on other boats participating in the races.  Such examples serve as testimony to the success of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission.

The two-day racing format in predominantly light winds, but punctuated by a severe squall on Saturday, was officiated by principal race officers Brooks Zerkel on the East Course and Lud Kimbrough on the West Course, supported by a host of on-the-water volunteers. Overall awards for the top boats in each division were presented on Sunday afternoon following the final race.

But the action at this year’s Leukemia Cup was not confined to the race course. Augmented by spacious tents erected on the grounds of the Stingray Point Marina, members of the Stingray Harbour Yacht Club and other volunteers transformed a grassy field into the site for the event’s popular fund-raising auction on Friday night and for the Leukemia Cup Gala celebration with food, beverages, and entertainment on Saturday night. 

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society once again was overwhelmed with the level of enthusiasm from the host yacht clubs and the Deltaville and Middlesex communities.  Laura Boone, campaign coordinator for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thanked everyone involved for their “hard work in successfully putting on another great regatta series!”

Special appreciation was expressed by co-chair Carolyn Schmalenberger to Stingray Point Marina for allowing the regatta’s social events to be staged on their expansive lawn in the shadow of the Stingray Point historic lighthouse replica.

Regatta Results

The results for each class with finishing order, boat name, skippers are as follows:

  • J105: 1st, Inevitable, Karn; 2nd, Lucky Dog, Weisleder; and 3rd, Loose Cannon, Scott.

  • PHRF A: 1st, Double Eagle, Mitchener; 2nd, Voodoo 2, Lissenden; 3rd, Chilcoot, Alvis; and 4th, Wavelength, Whittet.

  • PHRF B: 1st, Shenanigan, Booth; 2nd, Schock Full O’ Nuts, Patterson; 3rd, Juggernaut, Dale; and 4th, Elancer, Hinckle.

  • PHRF C: 1st, Morningtide, Collins; 2nd, Number Two, Drinkwater; thrid, Play It Again, Marshall; and 4th Swamp Rat, Klopf.

  • PHRF Non Spinnaker: 1st, Shockwave, Deese; 2nd, Sweet Liberty, Lakin; and 3rd, Temptress, DeJong.

  • J 24: 1st, Roundabout, Bomar; 2nd Easy to Slip, Cosby; and 3rd High School Musical, Newman.

  • Classic Fleet: 1st, Last Boat III, Murphy; 2nd, Sunrise, Covington; 3rd, Desperado, Bauer; and 4th, Nutcracker, Cole.

  • Leukemia Blue Fleet: 1st, Osprey, Bland; 2nd, Mojito, Dennison; 3rd, Tiki Rose (no skipper listed; and 4th, Survivor, Stephens.

  • Leukemia White Fleet: 1st, Shinola, Petzinger; 2nd Klimax, Baker; 3rd, Bodacious Too, Broaddus; and 4th, Sanctuary, Colof.

posted 07.15.2010

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