Mystic River Yacht Club hosts regatta

The 1885 screw schooner Amazon near the starting line of the Sails Up 4 Cancer Regatta.
The 1885 screw schooner Amazon near the starting line of the Sails Up 4 Cancer Regatta.

It was a fine day for a sailing race as the charitable organization Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) partnered with the Mystic River Yacht Club (MRYC) to stage a premier regatta on Sunday, June 26, in the waters of Fishers Island Sound. Yachts in both Spinnaker and Cruising Canvas classes raced a windward-leeward course under sparkling blue skies and billowing white clouds.

A special and rare sight for both the competitors and spectators alike was the venerable 102-foot screw schooner Amazon, which served as the yacht club commodore's flagship for the event. Amazon, built in 1885 in Southampton, England, by Tankerville Chamberlayne was often used by the Chamberlayne family for viewing yacht races off the south coast of England. So she was very much in her element at the SU4C Regatta.

The imposing, white-hulled ex-steam yacht is owned and skippered by a very active honorary lifetime member of MRYC. The vessel, a familiar sight at Mystic Seaport for the past year and a half, put to sea for the first time in a year especially for the regatta. A severe lightning strike and subsequent lengthy repairs to electronics had kept her in port for far too long.

The post-regatta party, held at MRYC's clubhouse in the Mystic Shipyard on Willow Point, featured an awards ceremony as well as a raffle and silent auction to benefit SU4C. In addition, contributions were raised by the sailors from family, friends and local businesses, all to aid in cancer research. Some yachts in the regatta sailed in honor of someone who has or had cancer, and boats in the "Picnic Fleet" hosted cancer survivors as spectators.

While the event was a rousing success for SU4C, it was rather the swan song for Amazon in our area. The ship will depart in July for its home port in Malta via the North Atlantic route to Ireland and then south into the Mediterranean.

For further information about Sails Up 4 Cancer, go to su4c.org. And for information about Mystic River Yacht Club, visit its website at mysticriveryachtclub.com.