After a year that saw fundraising efforts for charities large and small curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, board members of Fighting Chance, the Sag Harbor nonprofit that provides a variety of free services for cancer victims, began casting about for new ways to raise money.
As it turned out, they had to look no farther than out their office windows on Bay Street in the village to the harbor beyond. According to Duncan Darrow, Fighting Chance’s founder and chairman, board member Roman Roth suggested an outdoor event, and soon the idea of enlisting boat owners to take donors on a cruise began to take shape.
The inaugural “Boaters Against Cancer” flotilla will depart from Long Wharf on Saturday, May 22, at 5 p.m. for a cruise to Dering Harbor on Shelter Island and back. A dozen boats, ranging from about 40 feet to 55 feet, will take part. Each will hold from four to six guests, although Mr. Darrow said some additional passengers could likely be accommodated because guidelines for social distancing are being interpreted conservatively.
A limited number of tickets at $250 each are available at Fighting Chance’s website, fightingchance.org. Guests will be served wine and cheese on the cruise and receive a complimentary Fighting Chance cap.
The cruise is expected to last about an hour and a half. In the event of rain, it will be held on May 23
“I’d like to see this become an annual event,” said Mr. Darrow. “It’s not just about boaters against cancer, but it will be a celebration of Sag Harbor and the whole Peconic Bay.”
He said once word got out, a number of boat owners stepped up to offer their vessels to the effort. “There are a lot of people who want to do something on a Saturday, especially if it helps a good cause,” he said.
Mr. Darrow thanked boat owners and marinas that have thrown their support behind the event, including Joe Ialacci of Yacht Hampton, the lead sponsor of the event; Bruce Tait, Tim Davis, Stu Shoener, Charlie Canavan, Brian Brady, Ray Smith, and Mr. Roth.
Besides Yacht Hampton, other sponsors include Port of Egypt Marine, Mill Creek Marina, Brick Cove Marina, Ship Ashore Marina, Tait Yacht Charter, the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, Mariner’s Cove Marina, Prime Marina, Ponquogue Marina, Strong’s Marina, Sunday’s Marina, and White Water Outfitters.
Sag Harbor Village Trustee James Larocca, who is lending his own 39-foot motor yacht to the effort, said in a release he was happy to participate “in this celebration of Sag Harbor’s dazzling waterfront. This is the way our village rallies to help citizens gripped by tragic events like cancer.”
Fighting Chance, founded in 2001, provides a variety of free services for cancer patients, from counseling to transportation to and from treatment and doctors’ appointments.