Expanding Waterfront Access: Spotlight on Our Partner Organizations

One core element of the Regatta’s mission is to support organizations that provide waterfront access to “a wider audience.” Our community partners work tirelessly to make waterfront activities accessible to everyone. Here are just a few examples of the different and impactful ways they are meeting this challenge:

  • Hudson River Community Sailing has a fabulous adaptive sailing program for people living with disabilities, the only program of its kind in the city (Learn More) and partners with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer the “Soldiers Under Sail” program. (Learn More)
  • Rocking the Boat is now running the model boat concession in Central Park. (Read about it)
  • Gowanus Dredgers offers walk-up paddling sessions in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, along with a full calendar of walking tours, art shows, and poetry readings. (Find events)
  • Soundwaters is offering afternoon and sunset sails on their 80’ Schooner. (Join a sail)

None of these programs would be possible without your support. Your donations to the Regatta become grants to these amazing organizations. Thank you for making a difference and helping us expand waterfront access to a wider audience.

In this newsletter edition, we’re excited to highlight an initiative that addresses accessibility concerns for a unique segment of our community. The Robie Pierce Regattas are a major annual regatta in the adaptive sailing community, accommodating participants with physical, neurological, and visual disabilities. Our President Emeritus, Dan Allen, brings us an insightful report on the 2024 Robie Pierce Regattas.

Greetings from beautiful Rye, New York, home of the American Yacht Club.

In following through on my multiple admonishments to our competitors to get involved with our community partners, we are here to observe and help out at the 15th annual Robie Pierce Regatta, which ran from May 30 to June 2. The 2024 edition, co-hosted by the Larchmont Yacht Club, had 17 boats hit the starting line for the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta (the Open) and four boats raced in the Women’s Invitational. In a great crossover with our community partners, Robert Burke of Hudson River Community Sailing took part as one of the Able-Bodied Sailors

It was skipper Eric Rose (Bennington, VT) along with crew Dalina Delfing (NY, NY) and able-bodied sailor Richard Jaffe (NY, NY) who won the 3-day Robie Open with three bullets in seven races. Dawn Hart (Tampa, FL) sailing with Lin Wei-Lee (Mt. Vernon, NY) as crew and Meg Leary (Rye, NY) as able-bodied, won the Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational.

“The Robie started as a smaller event, not knowing exactly how it was going to develop,” said Event co-chair Ed ‘Buttons’ Padin. “What’s happened is it has become a major annual regatta in the adaptive sailing community and one of the few, if not the only, that blends both physical and neurological disabled sailors with blind sailors. We’ve become a family that keeps growing and that has enhanced the awareness of disabilities and outreach sensitivities of both clubs.”

Eric Rose added, “When I sailed last year, I immediately knew I would come back because the two Clubs do such a great job at running this regatta. To win first place in my second year here is pretty exciting. I don’t win too many regattas, but I enter a lot of them! This whole event is run so smoothly — the American Yacht Club and Larchmont Yacht Club are magnificent places to sail and it’s just an honor for us to come here and race.”

PRO Rich Hulit noted how it was a privilege to be part of this regatta and watch all these sailors come out. “Their commitment to sailing and their dedication is inspiring — they’re strapped into the boats, many of them can’t move around or can’t see, and they’re out there sailing,” observed Hulit.

Your involvement in our event allows the real heroes to do the work that matters. What is so unique about this event is it is a real regatta for people who would have difficulty being involved in competitive racing. It is handled just like every regatta I’ve been in; Skippers meetings, tight racing, and a good party with cocktails for the invariable post-race “If I had only done this I could have done better” excuses. You, our humble competitors, help make this possible. So, when those invariable emails come from Charles or myself to get more donations, think back on these updates. You are making a difference in others’ lives.

Next year’s event will be hosted at Larchmont Yacht Club from May 29 to June 1, 2025.