Your participation in the 2nd Annual Connecticut River Leukemia Cup Regatta will help save lives!   © Dan Rennie

Four yacht clubs on the Connecticut River in Essex, CT – Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, Essex Yacht Club, Frostbite Yacht Club and Pettipaug Yacht Club – are proud to present the Second Annual Connecticut River Leukemia Cup Regatta, a two-day one-design river regatta scheduled for May 4 and 5.

This event is open to any one-design fleet with five or more registered boats, including Ideal 18s, Etchells, MC Scows, Lasers, JY15s, Club 420s, Sunfish, Force 5s, etc. Boats that do not form a one-design class will race as a handicap class, with the North American Portsmouth tables used to calculate each boat’s corrected time. Adult and junior sailors are welcome, and written permission from parents or guardians required for skippers less than 18 years of age must be received before the start of racing.

“Following the successful first edition of the Connecticut River One-Design Leukemia Cup in 2018, this year’s event is once again bringing together sailors and their friends from all over the lower Connecticut River and Eastern Connecticut shoreline,” said Ruth Emblin, the regatta’s Fundraising Chair and Commodore of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club. “This charity event is designed to generate awareness about blood cancers and raise funds to support life-saving research to bring hope to those who are facing the disease. An estimated 1,300,000 Americans currently battle blood cancers, and someone is diagnosed every three minutes.”

The Honored Skipper is Bear Hovey, a myeloma survivor who’s as tough as his ursine namesake.

Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta series has raised close to $70 million to advance the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission to cure leukemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. At Leukemia Cup Regattas hosted by yacht clubs across North America, skippers register their boats and recruit friends and colleagues to crew and raise funds. Crewmembers seek donations from friends, family, co-workers and employers to sponsor their boats, and local businesses are encouraged to act as event sponsors.

Each Leukemia Cup Regatta features an “Honored Skipper,” usually a survivor or someone who’s currently undergoing treatment. “The 2019 Honored Skipper for the Connecticut River One-Design Leukemia Cup is Theodore “Bear” Hovey, who used to work as a rigger on large sailing yachts,” said Emblin. “Bear was hospitalized last year due to a vertebral collapse caused by multiple myeloma attacking his spine. This type of blood cancer is caused by plasma cells turning cancerous and multiplying. The disease can damage the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count and can lead to fractures and the collapse of bone structure, which is what happened to Bear.”

“Following emergency surgery and the placement of rods in his spine, Bear was paralyzed in his left leg and had minimal feeling in his right leg. With chemotherapy, radiation treatment and intensive physical therapy, he has begun to show significant improvement. I recently met with Bear and he was cheerful and walking quite well, which was truly wonderful to see. Bear is planning to be at the post-race party on Saturday, and will share his experience with the treatments that saved his life.”

The post-race party on the Essex waterfront starts at 5:00 pm Saturday, May 4, with food, drinks, music and a silent auction. “The party is open to the public, and sailors, powerboaters and non-boaters are all welcome to attend!” said Emblin, “and there’s an awards reception on Sunday. Tickets may be purchased online or from the hosting clubs.” For more information on how to participate in the regatta, support the charity by raising funds (even if you’re not sailing you can create a “virtual boat” online to raise funds), or becoming a sponsor, and to purchase party tickets, visit or ■.