Sails Up 4 Cancer founder and president Bob Davis (center, red shirt) with U.S. Navy volunteers who helped make the post-regatta party at Mystic Shipyard a success despite a deluge.   © Lisa Boyle

By Courtney Moore, CMB Creative Group

2023 marks the thirteenth year of Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C). Leading the local charge to assist families and individuals going through the trauma and treatment of cancer, Sails Up 4 Cancer has become synonymous with hope.

The Annual Regatta Weekend at Mystic Shipyard in Mystic, CT started off with a Cornhole tournament on Friday, June 16. Despite inclement weather, 32 teams from across New England came out and threw bags for a great cause. As the Cornhole tournament began, Franco from KHits was on site, and Wooly Mammoth hit the stage for some great tunes with lights by Bill Kelly of Makin’ Waves. With outstanding food from Dogwatch BBQ, hundreds of people were under the tent enjoying the music, dancing, and watching the tournament and ignoring the foreboding forecast for the next day.

© Lisa Boyle

Coastal Connecticut Cornhole led the charge to sell out the event, and many of these players are Michael Jordan status when it comes to throwing a bag into a hole! It is exciting to watch them play. The winning teams were:

1st Place   Navarro Dip & Yamil Dip, Jr.

2nd Place  Neil Santos & Kris Wagner

3rd Place  Sammy Correia & Colbey Santos 

© Lisa Boyle

Regatta Day dawned with ominous clouds and thunderstorm predictions. A few boats opted out and the junior circle was cancelled, but ten boats hit the starting line and had every kind of weather possible… from rain to sun, thunder to fog. The brave crews were on everything from a Baltic 39 to a Beneteau Oceanis 45.4. Taking honors in the Non-Spinnaker class were Barnaby Blatch on Cloud Racer (Sirena 38), Toby Halsey and the crew on Patriot (Baltic 39) topped the ORC class, and in PHRF Spinnaker, John Courtney on Salt Song (Baltic 33).

Crews competing in this year’s Sails Up 4 Cancer Regatta experienced a full palette of weather conditions.   © Jocelyn Foraker

“We all had a good time for a great cause – rain can’t stop Team Patriot,” said Toby Halsey. On Patriot was Elizabeth Phillips, 15; it was her first race and despite getting soaked, it will not be her last.

Among the Non-Spinnaker class was First Light(C&C 27-3), skippered by Chris Cole and placing third. Chris is cancer survivor getting stronger every day and is grateful to Sails Up 4 Cancer for the role they played in his treatment and recovery. He and Bob Davis, president and founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer and a two-time cancer survivor himself, became very close during Chris’ treatment.

“The Board members have all been touched by cancer, as well as many of our volunteers. No one is free from the wrath of cancer and creating Sails Up gave me hope when I was battling cancer myself,” said Davis. “Knowing attendees come to our events because they’re supportive of our cause is heartwarming and very important.”

As the racers braved the pelting rain, the shoreside crew battled a deluge as well. Rain dripped through the tent and a virtual river pooled around the tables and chairs, but Sails Up has an amazing team complete with volunteers from the U.S. Navy plus the amazing Mystic Shipyard staff digging trenches and running sump pumps and – and getting not just a little wet – the team got the party ready for racers to come in.

With a little luck and a lot of hope, the sun came out right as the post-regatta party began and the racers, community members, Sails Up sponsors and volunteers all enjoyed the dark n stormy’, fantastic barbecue and chili from Holly Phelps Miller (SU4C Vice President), a fantastic silent auction plus amazing entertainment from Andre & Friends – the dance floor was packed – all while supporting this amazing charity.

“We could not hold this event without the many volunteers – especially the Navy – who step up and help us annually. It is very touching to see how many people support our cause and believe in our mission,” said Davis.

Sails Up 4 Cancer will hold their next Trivia Night at the German Club in Mystic on October 21. Please visit for further information.

Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) is a 501 c 3 charity organization dedicated to funding education, prevention, care, and cure for all types of cancer through the art and enjoyment of sailing. SU4C has been able to assist many local cancer centers plus individuals and families struggling financially while battling cancer. SU4C looks forward with enthusiasm, optimism, and success in fulfilling its mission.