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Popular event at Santa Barbara Yacht Club was fundraiser for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care


Regatta Co-Chairs Sarah Berkus Gower and Robyn Parker. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)


By Rochelle Rose, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkSociety | Published on 09.24.2015 2:55 p.m.



The Santa Barbara Yacht Club set sail for an important cause earlier this month: the 11th Annual “Yachts of Love” Charity Regatta that benefited Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, Santa Barbara.

The day-long event on Sept. 12 had something nautical and non-nautical for everyone.

Guests could ride on one of the spectator boats and watch the regatta from the sea while sailors competed in the regatta races.

Everyone joined in for a catered barbecue and cocktails and placed bids at the silent auction tables.

Nearly 100 boats of all shapes and sizes were on the water — from the spectator boats to some of Santa Barbara’s finest racing boats.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Lew Bishop’s “Warrior” had the fastest time in the regatta in the A class, while Fred Rice’s “Sirocco” won the coveted “Yachts of Love” trophy, which was given to the boat that brought in the most donations in relation to its size.

Mary Lee Hopkins with her crew and 28-foot “Allegro non Troppo” had previously won the trophy four years in a row.

Organizers said the event raised over $170,000 this year.

Co-chairs Robyn Parker and Sarah Berkus Gower gathered a small crowd at noon for a special champagne toast and a water canon before the race began at 2:30 p.m.

Parker told Noozhawk, “This is one of the largest Charity Regatta events. We have 350 people participating today!”

Much to the delight of young and old, Harbor Patrol boats performed a ceremonial fireboat display, complete with fire hoses, that sent the racers on their way.

Supporters helped the cause by purchasing raffle tickets for a basket of valuable goodies and bidding on silent auction items, including preferred seating tickets to a Janet Jackson concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl, local zoo and museum VIP packages, wine country getaways and more.

Each year many of the race boats invite celebrity skippers onto their boats. This year, the honorary skippers were composed of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care clinicians, who dedicate countless hours to caring for members of the Santa Barbara community.

“This was the first time my husband and I have attended this event. We went out on one of the spectator boats, and it was great. Now we are enjoying a delicious barbecue dinner on the sand in front of the Yacht Club. Plus it is a great cause to support.” first-time attendee Alice Sykes said.

The Charity Regatta is part of a national movement and has become a signature event in Santa Barbara.

The “Yachts of Love” Charity Regatta is one way SB Yacht Club members give back to the Santa Barbara community. Since its inception in 2005, the Charity Regatta has raised more than $1 million so that Santa Barbara County families have access to compassionate, quality care from Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

The event’s Commodore-level sponsors included the Bank of Santa Barbara and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care’s board of directors. Vice-Commodore sponsors were Impulse Advanced Communications and The Hutton Parker Foundation.

Ice Energy, Schlinger Chrisman Foundation, The Whimsie Fund, Young Constructionand Karen Young were Rear-Commodore sponsors.

Brown & Brown InsuranceByram Healthcare, The Dreier Group, Hollister & Brace,Jack ‘N ToolboxJeffrey Berkus Architects, Mozilo Family Foundation, Schipper Construction Co.Seed Mackall LLP and Susan & Riley Bechtel made up the Staff-Commodore sponsorship level.

Serving the greater Santa Barbara area and Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys, VNHC provides high quality, comprehensive home-health, hospice and related services necessary to promote the health and well-being of all community residents.

For more information on Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, visit or call 805.965.5555.

Founded in 1872, Santa Barbara Yacht Club is the second-oldest yacht club on the west coast of North America.

It is devoted to promoting and managing yachting activities, advancing the art of seamanship, preserving maritime tradition and providing for the social and recreational needs of its members.

For more information on the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, visit, or call 805.965.8112.

— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at[email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk,@NoozhawkSociety@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan ofNoozhawk on Facebook.

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