Many member regattas ofthe National Hospice Regatta Alliancenow have a Memorial Sails program.
Memorial Sails for Hospice Regattas:
The hospice regatta Alliance promotes Memorial Sails among member regattas by making new Optimist sails available at a discount through Haarstick Sailmakers in Rochester NY. The Alliance pays a portion of that cost, as well as a portion of the cost of new or retrofit sails through a sailmaker chosen by a local regatta.
The local hospice regatta in Rochester, New York, originated offering people the opportunity to memorialize their loved ones by signing a special sail. Now other hospice regattas use Memorial Sails.
People who donate are invited to create a permanent memorial by writing the names of deceased loved ones on the sail.
At Rochester’s Friday clambake, Genesee YC member Randy Burr writes the name of his late wife Pat on the 2006 Memorial Sail, while his friends Jan Ziobrowski & Billy Smith wait their turn.
Why Optimists? The “Opti” dinghy is an 8-foot international class boat widely used for teaching sailing to young people. Among world-class sailors, 70% of medalist skippers in the Olympics at Athens learned to sail and race in Optimists. The U.S. class web site ishttp://www.usoda.org
Of course, some sailing areas choose to use boats and sails other than Optimists. Like most Hospice Regatta programs, this fits the concept to the local community.
How are Memorial Sails used?
Each sail is printed with the hospice regatta Alliance logo and the current year. The idea is to add a new Memorial Sail on which people can writememorial messages and names. Each year the number of names and messages to loved ones grows. So grows the Memorial Fleet by one more boat, as junior sailors cruise or race by the pre and post-regatta parties on boats with sails from all prior years.
The Rochester fleet has now grown large enough that they hold a race among juniors, but the message is in the sails, racing or not.
Hospice regattas use the sails in many ways. On boats at a regatta party they are a touching display of caring memories. With each year, a new sail and new signatures.
In addition to displaying them on the water, the sails may be prominently displayed at regatta- and Hospice-related events. They have been used at public outreach events such as at a local mall, at local clubs and marinas, and other occasions where donors and sailors can sign independently of the local regatta.
Like the sailing regattas themselves, the Memorial Sails are eyecatching reminders of the breadth and depth of end-of-life care that hospices provide.
The program raises awareness of Hospice care and what the sailing community does for Hospice -- especially the support offered grieving family, including children. And it provides young sailors the opportunity to participate early in this meaningful regatta.