SEQUIM — Once the premier portion of the annual event, Sequim Bay Yacht Club’s sailing regatta is getting a challenge in popularity from the club’s rowing brethren.
“The rowing aspect of the club has grown by leaps and bounds,” said Sue Sorensen, who again is publicity chair for the yacht club’s annual event to benefit Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County (VHOCC).
The 2019 Reach and Row for Hospice — now a two-day event set for Sept. 28-29 at John Wayne Marina, 2577 W. Sequim Bay Road — was expanded this year thanks to a rise in popularity of the club’s rowers.
Last year, the event added the “ … And Row … ” to the event title after adding rowing races on Sequim Bay.
“We couldn’t do [the races] justice [with just one day],” Sorensen said.
The sailboat regatta starts at noon Sept. 28, while the rowing races start at 9 a.m. Sept. 29.
What isn’t changing is the event’s goal: to raise funds for Volunteer Hospice’s respite care. Those funds look to help caregivers get a break to do errands or some relief as they take care of dying family members.
Sorensen, whose father died from cancer some years ago in New York state, said: “I took care of him; I was his nurse. I wish there had been a hospice organization so I could be a daughter instead of a nurse.”
The Reach for Hospice event has contributed more than $360,000 to VHOCC since its inception more than 25 years ago.
Sorensen, who also emcees the event and whose husband Don races his boat Denali during it each year, said club members have a particular affinity for this annual event.
“This was the No. 1 event they feel can make a difference in the community,” Sorensen said.
She said the club plans to honor former yacht club member Robert “Bob” McClinton, who died April 12.
Throughout the years, McClinton — a U.S. Navy veteran and former rear admiral — contributed more than $100,000 to Reach for Hospice efforts, including $6,680 for last year’s event.
In 2018, the Reach and Row for Hospice event saw about eight sailboats and 22 boats (and 55 participants) in rowing races, and raised $31,114.32.
Sorensen said community members are welcome to enjoy a day watching the races from the John Wayne Marina grounds.
Those who cannot attend but would like to make a contribution to VHOCC’s respite care fund are asked to send their tax-deductible donation to: VHOCC, 540 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles WA 98362, with “Reach and Row for Hospice” in the subject line.
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing compassionate care to the terminally ill, their caregivers and families. VHOCC does not bill any patient, insurance plan or government agency.
“I think people new to the area are amazed Volunteer Hospice doesn’t have a billing department,” Sorensen said.
All services are supported by local donations and grants.
The average monthly census is about 125 clients.
For more about VHOCC, see www.vhocc.org.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.