By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,692)
The 35th annual Multiple Schlerosis Regatta entered the record books earlier this evening with 67 skippers at the helm of their 20 to 80 ft. yachts – a slight increase from previous years. For the first time in its history, the after-party was held at 58 Fore Street, in Building l.
In previous years, the after-party was held at Handy Boat Yard, Falmouth – fueling speculation that Handy.under fairly new ownership. was putting their business interests before charity this year in not permitting the Regatta to continue in Falmouth. Merle Hallette, 88, founded the charity at his boatyard Handy Boat.
“I wasn’t the most popular one in my family. I was a rebel, but there were people who gave me a second chance,” said Kitt Watson, grandson of Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM. “There were strict rules in my family and I didn’t obey them. I want to help others get a second chance like others gave me,” Watson said early this evening. He skippered his 80 ft. racing yacht, “Too Elusive,” on which his wife sailed with him as did Merle Hallett, 88, founder of the MS Regatta and his wife, Barbara. They finished fifty (50) minutes ahead of their nearest competitor. There were about twenty (20) aboard, many of them spectators.
Conditions were good for sailing in Casco Bay today. The race started off the Eastern Promenade today at 12:30 pm. Reports were that it got a “little rough” in the main channel and that winds were about 10 – 12 knots. It was also quite foggy, a sailor’s dread. Last night Portland Yacht Services, 58 Fore Street, hosted the auction and tomorrow is the Tug Boat Muster. It can be viewed from the Eastern Promenade as well.
“MS” is a chronic disease that affects people differently. Some go into remission after an attack,” said Steve Sookikian, MS Society VP of Communications today, “Private donations fund basic research at academic institutions. The results of that work are available to the pharmaceutical industry to create treatment possibilities,” said Sookikian this afternoon. These pharmaceutical companies can’t take the risk of doing basic science research without the expectation of a product to sell,”
It was the late founder of the MS Society, Sylvia Laury, who lobbied Congress to create the neurology department at the National Institute of Health, in Maryland. NIH spends more money on research than the national MS Society, said Sookikian. Here in Maine, the Regatta helps to fund research to find a cure. Funds from the Regatta also help people with MS to live more comfortably with the illness. One way that is accomplished is by providing funding for stair lifts for people who don’t have the resources to do so on their own.
Cozy Harbor donated the lobsters for the event. Clare Walden, a principal at Long Horn Steakhouse, SoPo, donated: 60 lbs. of chicken and 90 lbs. of ground beef and lots more! Shipyard Brewery managed the bar. The Community Steel Band, Yarmouth, donated their talents to making the festive occasion more so.