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Regatta

Stony Brook University students took a break from drowning in their studies to continue a storied tradition by dumping makeshift vessels made out of cardboard into a campus pond, hoping they could stay afloat.

The Roth Pond Regatta shipped off its 27th consecutive year at the university on Friday as a way for students to blow off steam before finals start next week. Each year, students cram into their homemade boats made of cardboard, duct tape and paint and race across the 200-yard body of water at the center of campus.

More than 3,000 people make their way through the regatta each year, a university spokeswoman said. This year’s special theme for the race was “under the sea and far beyond,” with some of the nearly 40 boats including the S.S. Leaky Leakey, the S.S. Free Willy, and the Titanic itself.

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Port Jefferson Yacht Club hosted its sixth annual Village Cup Regatta on Saturday, raising funds for pancreatic cancer research through the Lustgarten Foundation and for John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s palliative medicine program.

The regatta pits the hospital and Port Jefferson Village against one another in a friendly competition for the Village Cup, a trophy which the hospital has now won two years in a row following a village reign of three years.

Participants raised about $64,000 for the cause through this year’s race, according to yacht club member Chuck Chiaramonte. The sum will be split between the Lustgarten Foundation and the palliative care program, which is focused on improving patients’ quality of life.

Chiaramonte said over the six years of the regatta, the event has raised more than $300,000.

The yacht club — formerly known as the Setauket Yacht Club — supplied the boats and captains for the event, which included a parade of boats, games and face painting for children at the harborfront park, and a trophy presentation at the adjacent Village Center.

Chiaramonte said the club looks forward to the event every year.

“It was really meant to just be a joyous occasion and share the love of the water and boating with our neighbors,” he said.

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A scene from the annual Make-A-Wish Junior Sailors Regatta, hosted by the Northport Yacht Club. Photo by Talia Amorosano

By Talia Amorosano

It was a windy summer morning at the Northport Yacht Club on Monday where more than 100 sailors from age 8 to 17 rigged their own boats and hit the water to race at the 20th Annual Make-A-Wish Junior Sailors Regatta.

Sailors hailed from the Northport Yacht Club, Centerport Yacht Club, Huntington Yacht Club, Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club and Huntington YMCA, and all gathered to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants children with life-threatening illnesses wishes within their lifetimes.

For the Doherty family, which has headed the regatta for nine years, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has a very personal significance: a family friend who died from a heart condition at age 16 was a Make-a-Wish recipient, and was able to take a trip to Walt Disney World Resort thanks to the organization.

Keara Doherty, 17, who has been the top fundraiser all nine years since being involved with the event, said that once she ages out of sailing in the regatta this year, she plans to become more directly involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and help her dad, Bob, who is involved with the club’s Special Event Committee, organize the regatta and recruit fundraisers. This year alone, Keara Doherty has raised $10,000 by writing personal letters to family and friends asking for donations.

According to Peggy Doherty, the teen’s mom, the fundraiser has become increasingly successful over the years. Nine years ago, the event raised $25,000. Last year, the group hit $50,000. She said that this year the fundraiser brought in $46,000.

Northport Yacht Club Rear Commodore Rich Boziwick spoke highly of Bob Doherty’s influence in making the fundraiser a success.

“He’s been an incredible asset to this whole event,” he said. “He coordinates, brings the staff together, and gets the kids together.”

This year’s winners, in order of increasing difficulty levels, were: Joey Zarcone (Opti Green), Connor Burns (Opti White), Aidan Quigley (Opti Blue), Sterling Thompson (Opti Red), Courtney Garrison and Zoe Buscareno (Pixel); Connor, Brandon and Tyler Besendorfer, and Sebastion Blot (Blue Jay); Hallie Simkins and Cormack Murphy (Club 420), and Gavin Anderson (Laser Radial).

It is clear that there is a high level of community involvement with the fundraiser, with bagged lunches donated by a local Stop & Shop and prizes (including baseball tickets and a kayak) for the top fundraisers donated by local shops and members of the yacht club.

The Northport Yacht Club also hosts an annual swim-a-thon that contributes to the total funds raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  This year, there were 120 participants who swam 3,800 laps (53 miles) in total.  Of the group, 16-year-old Bryce Winters came in first place, swimming 304 miles in under 3 hours. Fundraising worked on a kid-by-kid basis, with individuals and sponsors setting rules for how sponsors would donate, sometimes based on number of laps swam or number of hours spent swimming.

Peggy Doherty said that the yacht club plans to continue hosting the fundraiser for years to come and that she and her family plan to stay involved.

“The kids are doing so much better with fundraising [as the years go on],” she said.

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It was sink or swim for scores of Stony Brook students as they broke from studying to blow off steam.

Roth Pond, a 200-yard body of water in the middle of campus, is usually nothing more than a scenic spot to pass between classes. But on Friday, it became a hotbed of activity for the 26th annual Roth Pond Regatta, where students floated themselves along in makeshift boats constructed of nothing more than cardboard, duct tape and paint.

The event started in 1989 on the campus as a means for the students to break from the stress of finals season. Each year since, students have built boats to float anywhere from one to four people across the pond in the high-spirited and festive competition before exams engulf the campus.

This year’s theme was mainstream fantasy, and the floats reflected just that. The floating vessels were made of simple everyday products, but the end products ranged anywhere from nostalgic shout-outs, to mock creatures plucked out of fantasyland. Students crafted boats like the Pirates of the Caribbean’s Black Pearl, the genie from Aladdin and even a Space Jam float with a cardboard Michael Jordan reaching for a long dunk at the watercraft’s front side.

Senior Kareem Ibrahem joined his classmates as he got ready to launch his own sleek ship — a mishmash of duct tape and cardboard with a giraffe’s head dangling atop a long cardboard neck. Friends were asking him the name of his vessel.

“Don’t sink about it,” he said with an ear-to-ear grin.

The event was hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government and included students from various student organizations, administrative departments and alumni.

This version corrects a typo in the description of the Space Jam boat.