Reach, Row for Hospice to set sail this weekend

Annual fundraiser to be conducted on Sequim Bay

Wind Child, skippered by Rudy Heessels, one of the perennial participants in the annual Reach and Row for Hospice, competes in a Duck Dodge race in August. Heessels’ crew in this race included Charlie Roberts, Mylo Hauptli and Leon Skerbeck. (Fran Thompson)

Wind Child, skippered by Rudy Heessels, one of the perennial participants in the annual Reach and Row for Hospice, competes in a Duck Dodge race in August. Heessels’ crew in this race included Charlie Roberts, Mylo Hauptli and Leon Skerbeck. (Fran Thompson)

SEQUIM — Sequim Bay Yacht Club’s annual fundraiser is ready to hit the bay this weekend.

The annual Reach and Row for Hospice is set for Saturday and Sunday on Sequim Bay. Since the inaugural race in 1991, the event has raised $433,866 for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County (VHOCC).

Rowing competitions will start at 9 a.m. and finish by 11 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, sailboat races will start at about noon and finish at about 4 p.m.

Community members are invited to John Wayne Marina, 2577 W. Sequim Bay Road, to watch the competition from numerous vantage points.

Those who cannot attend but want to make a contribution to the respite care fund can send their tax-deductible donations to VHOCC, 829 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles WA 98362, with “Reach and Row for Hospice” in the check’s subject line.

Reach for Hospice was developed by Mike Crim and fellow sailor Scott Ogilvie, along with other sailors, since a number of local sailors had family members who received hospice services.

The original course for that first race was a 35- to 40-mile course to Smith Island and back. But with winds gusting up to 35 knots and an-inch-an-hour rain pouring from darkened skies, the first race was rather difficult. The race was eventually shortened to be within the friendly confines of Sequim Bay.

That first year’s race raised $1,700 for Volunteer Hospice, with the stipulation that it be used directly for patient care and no overhead costs, he said.

“We generated a lot of interest that first year,” Crim noted in an June interview.

The event, now dubbed the Reach and Row For Hospice, raises tens of thousands of dollars each year from competitors, yacht club members, local businesses and community members. It raised a record $31,114 in 2018 and last year’s total of $30,863 was second.

“It’s generated a life of its own,” Crim said. “That’s a lot of money for a small yacht club in a small town.”

Susan Sorensen, a Sequim Bay Yacht Club member and an organizer and publicity chair for the annual event, said this is the only fundraiser the club does and it’s one members look forward to eagerly each summer.

“I think some of us realize we might need hospice [at some point],” Sorensen said. “We have seen some of our fellow club members need the services of hospice; it becomes more meaningful.”

For more about the event, go to sequimbayyacht.club; click on the “Hospice Fundraiser” tab.

For more information about the event, contact Sorensen at starlady@olypen.com.

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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 editor@sequimgazette.com.

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