By Brian Deakyne
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Each year for nearly the past decade, the Ms. Race regatta at Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club has been special.
But this year, in an area that was devastated by Super Storm Sandy last fall, the event is even more important for local participants.
Boasting the slogan “The Ms. Race Sails on,” event co-chairman Diane Kropfl said the event organizers are hoping to raise more money than ever for the 180 Turning Lives Around Foundation.
“In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, demand for the services of the 180 organization has increased dramatically as people’s lives have been uprooted by the storm,” Kropfl said. “Last year, we raised over $12,000 for 180 and this year our target for fundraising has increased to $15,000.”
This year’s race, which will take place on Aug. 17, will mark the ninth annual event that is populated by female crews and is sponsored by a charity for women.
Not only is the race especially important for fundraising measures this year, but it’s also imperative to having a successful event to demonstrate the yacht club – and surrounding areas – have been able to rebuild following the storm.
The Ms. Race event was founded in 2005 by a group of female sailors at Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club (AHYC). The each year the race benefits the 180 Turning Lives Around organization, “a private, nonprofit group dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in our community,” according to the foundation’s website.
“The women participating in the Ms. Race are charting a course for the 180’s clients to help strengthen their families and begin their journey of healing,” 180 Director of Development Connie Heath said. “We are extremely grateful to the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club for organizing this annual event benefiting 180.”
“(Super Storm) Sandy devastated many of the sailing fleets in the Bayshore area including the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club,” Kropfl said. “This year’s race signifies the importance of rebuilding our communities and showing support for 180. In order to achieve our goal, we hope to get more women from the AHYC and local clubs involved, to race their boats and participate in the event.”
In 2012, the race featured 80 women in nine boats.
“The Ms. Race has been beneficial in allowing women and their daughters to expertise and confidence in sailboat racing while fostering camaraderie and supporting a worthwhile charity,” event co-chairman Aleen Colitz said.
“We are looking forward to a successful race that surpasses the outstanding support we received from the local community last year,” Kropfl said.
Parties interested in participating or donating to the race can contact officials at firstname.lastname@example.org.