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Boats raise $70K racing off Long Island

Six 12 Meters raced at the Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge in September

Six 12 Meters raced at the Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge in September

The first Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge, which took place Sept. 10 and 11 in Sag Harbor, N.Y., helped raise $70,000 for local charities.

“It was a great time,” says Charity Cup Challenge secretary/treasurer Jeff Sander. “We had phenomenal weather with strong enough winds to get the races going. Really exciting stuff.”

Organizers had set a $100,000 fund-raising goal, but were still pleased with the outcome, says Sander. “It was a tremendous weekend and we’re very pleased with our success.”

Nearly 600 people, including the mayor of Sag Harbor and local politicians, attended the event, Sander says. Organizers even chartered the South Ferry, which normally runs between Sag Harbor and Shelter Island, as a spectator boat.

The main attraction for those in attendance was the opportunity to see six 12 Meter America’s Cup yachts. Two-time Cup winner Intrepid, one-time winners Weatherly and Columbia, American Eagle, Heritage and Nefertiti were the boats featured in the Charity Cup Challenge races.

Twelve teams consisting of 14 sailors each crewed the yachts during the races. Each team competed in a minimum of two races each day on Noyac Bay; six raced the first day, the other six on the second day. The winning teams from each day — the crews of American Eagle and Intrepid — raced Sunday afternoon In Sag Harbor Bay for the Sag Harbor Charity Cup trophy and the cash prize to donate to their charity.

The crew of Intrepid narrowly beat American Eagle to take top honors, Sander says, and won $7,500 for their charity, the Children’s Museum of the East End. Each of the other charities received a smaller amount. Those organizations included the United States Lighthouse Society, which is restoring historic Cedar Point Light; the East End Classic Boat Society, an educational organization dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional marine craftsmanship and design; and the Pierson High School sailing program.

Although organizers are still working out the details for next year’s Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge, they say it will be sometime in September.

“This is all about charity, about everyone benefiting from this,” Sander says. “The challenge was a lot of fun and we’re all looking forward to a bigger and better event next year.”