by Danielle Forsyth
Preparations are being made for the 11th annual Jack Beatty Hospice Memorial Regatta, which will take place Friday, July 9, and Saturday, July 10, at the Youngstown Yacht Club.
Last year, the event raised $23,000 for Niagara Hospice and continues to grow with guests and supporters every year.
"The great thing is that you don't have to own a boat or be a member of the Yacht Club," says Paul Beatty, chairman of the Memorial Regatta and the late Jack Beatty's nephew. Friday's events are very casual and will include the popular Cruise ‘n Schmooze at 2:30 p.m. where parties of two, four or more are assigned to a power or sailing vessel for a 3-hour scenic cruise of the Niagara River. Neither sailing nor boating experience is necessary. Donated hors d'oeuvres and spirits will be provided on the voyage.
Last July, the cruise had more than 25 boats and 200 cruisers. The Clambake at 5:30 p.m. attracted more than 100 additional people last year, who enjoyed fresh seafood, corn-on-the-cob, and other grilled summer specialties. The Junk Yard Dogs and Soul Committee will provide the musical entertainment for this year.
For the expert sailor or the avid sailing spectator, the National Hospice Regatta Alliance will again join forces with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club to host a qualifier race for the NHRA Championship of 2011 on Saturday, July 10. The winner of the regatta, along with two crewmembers, will represent Niagara Hospice and the region at the NHRA Nationals in Rochester.
Gary Tisdale was the Niagara Hospice Regatta champion in both the 2008 and 2009 and went on to place second in the national regatta last year. Representatives from both sides of the border are working together to plan, organize, and run what they hope will become one of the premier events of the summer racing season. Dinner and awards at the NOTL Sailing Club will follow the race.
The two-day event is in memory of Jack Beatty who grew up on the Niagara River in Youngstown where he gained a passion for sailing. He was known and respected for his abilities as a skipper and as a national-champion water-skier. Beatty was an active member of the Youngstown Yacht Club, sailing his boat named "Perbacco!" and always encouraging new sailors. Paul Beatty recalls his uncle's passion for sailing and kindness toward others, "He was the first to put his boat in the water and one of the last ones to take it out at the end of the season. He would strike up a conversation with strangers and ask ‘Hey! Wanna go for a sail?' That's just the kind of man he was."
Jack Beatty was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2001 and on Aug. 22 of the same year, with the help of his family and friends, he placed third in the White Sail Division at the Hospice Regatta in what would be his final race. Five days later, he passed away while under the care of his family and Niagara Hospice. The event was renamed in his honor.
"Seven years ago when our family took over this event, it was just a regatta," says Paul Beatty, "but then we took it and put a twist on it." The Memorial Regatta is a weekend of boating and sailing fun, offering unique and exciting opportunities for both the serious race enthusiast and those who sail and cruise for fun in support of Hospice.
Cruise ‘n Schmooze tickets are $125 per person and the Clambake is $50 per person. Proceeds from the regatta continue to provide revenue for Niagara Hospice and Niagara Hospice House to use in their work with individuals and families dealing with end-of-life illnesses. Since 1988, Niagara Hospice has provided care to more than 14,000 local residents and their families.For more information on Hospice, visit www.NiagaraHospice.org or call 439-4417. For more information about the Jack Beatty Hospice Memorial Regatta, visit www.NiagaraHospiceRegatta.com.