Sails Up 4 Cancer Regatta Weekend Rocked!

By Courtney Moore, CMB Creative Group

2023 marks the thirteenth year of Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C). Leading the local charge to assist families and individuals going through the trauma and treatment of cancer, Sails Up 4 Cancer has become synonymous with hope.

The Annual Regatta Weekend at Mystic Shipyard in Mystic, CT started off with a Cornhole tournament on Friday, June 16. Despite inclement weather, 32 teams from across New England came out and threw bags for a great cause. As the Cornhole tournament began, Franco from KHits was on site, and Wooly Mammoth hit the stage for some great tunes with lights by Bill Kelly of Makin’ Waves. With outstanding food from Dogwatch BBQ, hundreds of people were under the tent enjoying the music, dancing, and watching the tournament and ignoring the foreboding forecast for the next day.

Sails Up 4 Cancer founder and president Bob Davis (center, red shirt) with U.S. Navy volunteers who helped make the post-regatta party at Mystic Shipyard a success despite a deluge.   © Lisa Boyle

Coastal Connecticut Cornhole led the charge to sell out the event, and many of these players are Michael Jordan status when it comes to throwing a bag into a hole! It is exciting to watch them play. The winning teams were:

1st Place Navarro Dip & Yamil Dip, Jr.

2nd Place Neil Santos & Kris Wagner

3rd Place Sammy Correia & Colbey Santos

Regatta Day dawned with ominous clouds and thunderstorm predictions. A few boats opted out and the junior circle was cancelled, but ten boats hit the starting line and had every kind of weather possible… from rain to sun, thunder to fog. The brave crews were on everything from a Baltic 39 to a Beneteau Oceanis 45.4. Taking honors in the Non-Spinnaker class were Barnaby Blatch on Cloud Racer (Sirena 38), Toby Halsey and the crew on Patriot (Baltic 39) topped the ORC class, and in PHRF Spinnaker, John Courtney on Salt Song (Baltic 33).

“We all had a good time for a great cause – rain can’t stop Team Patriot,” said Toby Halsey. On Patriot was Elizabeth Phillips, 15; it was her first race and despite getting soaked, it will not be her last.

Among the Non-Spinnaker class was First Light (C&C 27-3), skippered by Chris Cole and placing third. Chris is cancer survivor getting stronger every day and is grateful to Sails Up 4 Cancer for the role they played in his treatment and recovery. He and Bob Davis, president and founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer and a two-time cancer survivor himself, became very close during Chris’ treatment.

“The Board members have all been touched by cancer, as well as many of our volunteers. No one is free from the wrath of cancer and creating Sails Up gave me hope when I was battling cancer myself,” said Davis. “Knowing attendees come to our events because they’re supportive of our cause is heartwarming and very important.”

As the racers braved the pelting rain, the shoreside crew battled a deluge as well. Rain dripped through the tent and a virtual river pooled around the tables and chairs, but Sails Up has an amazing team complete with volunteers from the U.S. Navy plus the amazing Mystic Shipyard staff digging trenches and running sump pumps and – and getting not just a little wet – the team got the party ready for racers to come in.

With a little luck and a lot of hope, the sun came out right as the post-regatta party began and the racers, community members, Sails Up sponsors and volunteers all enjoyed the dark n stormy’, fantastic barbecue and chili from Holly Phelps Miller (SU4C Vice President), a fantastic silent auction plus amazing entertainment from Andre & Friends – the dance floor was packed – all while supporting this amazing charity.

“We could not hold this event without the many volunteers – especially the Navy – who step up and help us annually. It is very touching to see how many people support our cause and believe in our mission,” said Davis.

Sails Up 4 Cancer will hold their next Trivia Night at the German Club in Mystic on October 21. Please visit for further information.

Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) is a 501 c 3 charity organization dedicated to funding education, prevention, care, and cure for all types of cancer through the art and enjoyment of sailing. SU4C has been able to assist many local cancer centers plus individuals and families struggling financially while battling cancer. SU4C looks forward with enthusiasm, optimism, and success in fulfilling its mission.

WindCheck-August 2023 – Read magazine

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital accepts gift from Sails Up 4 Cancer

NEW LONDON, CT (May 12, 2023) – Lawrence + Memorial Hospital (L+M) announced today the receipt of a $25,000 grant from Sails Up 4 Cancer to provide high quality, patient-centered care to cancer patients receiving treatment at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Waterford.

The grant will enable the hospital to assist patients through its Patient Assistance Fund with transportation to and from the Smilow Cancer Hospital in Waterford for treatment and physician appointments. 

From left: Kevin Torres, MD, associate chief medical officer, L+M Hospital; Bob Davis, founder and CEO Sails Up 4 Cancer; CT River One Design Regatta chairs Anne Edgley, Ruth Emblin and Carter Gowrie; Patrick Green, president and CEO, L+M Hospital; Alice Soscia, director of development, L+M Hospital; Catherine McCarthy, social work coordinator – Oncology, Smilow Cancer Hospital in Waterford; Mary Ann Nash, administrative director Oncology, L+M Hospital; Shannon Christian, vice president, Nursing,  L+M Hospital.

The fund also assists cancer patients who are facing food insecurity during their treatment. They will have the ability to receive nutritious foods during their cancer journey. In addition, funds are also earmarked for a patient exercise program to help promote optimal health and healing and a complimentary, education cosmetic program that provides cosmetics and wigs to boost self-esteem and confidence for women during and after treatment.

“Our Smilow care team is dedicated to providing patients affected by cancer and blood disease with individualized, innovative, convenient and caring medical treatment,” said Mary Ann Nash, administrative director, Oncology Services. “This generous grant from Sails Up 4 Cancer will give our patients continued access to vital programs that truly make a difference in their cancer journey. This gift will inspire hope in many lives and enables our staff to treat every patient with the greatest of care at all stages of their treatment.”

Sails Up 4 Cancer (SC4U) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, based in Mystic, dedicated to funding research, education, care and prevention for all types of cancer. The organization is responsible for distributing funds raised by the annual Gowrie Group Connecticut River One-Design Regatta on the Connecticut River in support of cancer research and treatment. The regatta is organized by several boating organizations: Essex, Essex Corinthian, Duck Island, Frostbite and Pettipaug Yacht Club.

“Sails Up 4 Cancer is delighted to provide this grant to L+M/Smilow Cancer Hospital,” said Bob Davis, founder and CEO Sails Up 4 Cancer. “I’m incredibly moved by the efforts of the area yacht clubs in our area for raising this money to support cancer patients in our area. It’s absolutely incredible. Sails Up for Cancer is community-centric, which means we support local people who really need help with their care. That’s why the Smilow Cancer Hospital in Waterford is always on our list for support.”

Regatta chair Ruth Emblin of Duck Island/Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, and title sponsor Carter Gowrie of Essex Yacht Club, the club hosting the event, would like to thank all participants, private donors, and corporate sponsors for their support in providing hope to cancer patients and their families.

Spring Boat Show in Essex Raises Money Toward a Good Cause

Sophia Muce, CT Examiner

Bob Davis leaving the marina office to rejoin the boat show (CT Examiner)

ESSEX – Local boaters and vendors overlooked weekend-long wind and rain at the Connecticut Spring Boat Show in hopes of raising $30,000 for Sails Up 4 Cancer.

Boaters from across New England traveled to Safe Harbor Essex Island last weekend for WindCheck Magazine’s seventh annual in-water boat show which, this year, featured local vendors, musicians and maritime and fishing talks.

But for Bob Davis, the founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer, the show was also an opportunity to reconnect with cancer patients and survivors.

Escaping the rain for a moment, he sat inside the marina office on Saturday and told CT Examiner about an old friend he ran into a few moments prior. About a year ago, Davis recalled, he received a call from his friend who told him that he had terminal prostate cancer.

“He told me he wanted to live long enough to see his daughter get married,” Davis said.. “And so I talked to him, gave him some advice about second opinions.”

Davis said he also reminded his friend, Chris, that his only job was to take care of himself, and suggested holistic approaches like meditation and yoga. When he saw Chris on Saturday, Davis said, they embraced and caught up.

“Basically, he just had his tests done two weeks ago, and the doctors say he’s a miracle. They can’t see any cancer,” Davis smiled. “And he said, ‘Bob, I can’t thank you enough.’”

A two-time cancer survivor himself, Davis founded Sails Up 4 Cancer in 2011 to help fund cancer education, prevention and care. He said the organization used to donate to cancer research, but recently shifted his focus to holistic solutions.

“We can only make a small dent in research, as opposed to what the billionaires do,” he said. “It’s really about education, prevention and cancer care.”

Davis said the organization holds sailing events to fundraise for programs like the Spinnaker Fund, which donates money to those with cancer who may be struggling to pay for their bills, groceries or medicine. 

A spinnaker, Davis explained, is a sail made to travel in the same direction as the wind.

“When the wind’s behind your back, you have to have all sails out or you’re gonna go nowhere,” Davis said. “The Spinnaker Fund metaphor is ‘we have your back when all else fails.’”

He said it is important that Sails Up 4 Cancer works to improve cancer patients’ quality of life, as he believes stress and uncertainty destroy immune systems.

In addition to the Spinnaker Fund, the organization also hosted an event for seven years with Sunshine Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Davis chartered a sailboat for the children and traveled down the Mystic River to watch the Sails Up 4 Cancer Regatta, eat pizza and paint. Later in the day, the group would go out for ice cream and visit Mystic Aquarium.

“I’m talking about 40 kids,” Davis said. “…A lot of kids had to back out at the last minute because they became sick with their chemo. A lot of the kids, I found out later, didn’t make it.”

Davis teared up as he recounted his time with the children, which he said came to a halt because of the pandemic. Sarah Wadle, the owner of First Position Media, sat beside Davis. She asked him what the organization needed to restore the Sunshine Kids event. 

Volunteers and donations, Davis responded.

Wadle told CT Examiner that when the Connecticut Spring Boat Show first began, admission was free and a small percentage of the food sales went towards Sails Up 4 Cancer.

“We really wanted to double down on raising more money for Sails Up 4 Cancer… They do tremendous work,” Wadle explained. “So we implemented a charge, and now we donate 50 percent of the ticket sales.”

Wadle said she got involved in the event about six years ago, as Windcheck Magazine, a monthly editorial for Northeast sailors and boaters, was looking for a local agency to help promote the show.

“[The show] was really to bring together the boat industry in Connecticut,” Wadle said. “Instead of having boat brokers have their own individual mini shows, it was to get a group and really support the industry.”

She said the staff implemented the maritime talks and live performances to attract a variety of people to the show. Each year, the event generally brought in anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people.

This year, Wadle said, the show was sponsored by businesses like Hoffman Audi of New London, Essex Boat Works, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, The Griswold Inn and Avelo Airlines, who donated three pairs of round-trip tickets to raffle off. She also highlighted the many vendors that attended the event.

“We have some really unique vendors, too, this year,” Wadle said. “There’s just kind of a nice variety.”

One vendor, Melissa Kalicin, sat beside colorful bags and cushions. She told CT Examiner that her company, Oceanum Vela, launched only six months ago. It was her first time at the show. 

Kalicin repurposes authenticated race sails – akin to the spinnakers that inspired Davis’s successful fund – and lines to create the ocean-friendly bags.

“A percent of proceeds do go to ocean conservation,” she said. “I’m very mission driven.”

Displays ranged from Kalicin’s eco-friendly bags to wood-burnt signs to local, draft beer, and vendors sat beneath tents to avoid the rain. While attendance was lower than they’d hoped, they all said the same of the boat show – “it’s for a good cause.”

The Connecticut Spring Boat Show is raising funds for a good cause

ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) — Poor weather won’t stop the Connecticut Spring Boat show from returning to Essex in the last weekend of April. 

The seventh annual Connecticut Spring Boat Show is happening this weekend at Safe Harbor Essex Island and they are partnering with Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) to make this year’s boat show help more people than ever. 

SU4C is a non-profit founded by lifelong sailor and Leukemia survivor Bob Davis that supports cancer care, education, prevention and research. They’ve been partners in the boat show since its start and they hope to top last year’s $23,000 in donations. 

The event’s media representative, Sarah Wadle, says that the rain won’t stop any of the festivities that they have planned. The seminars from fishing experts and bands will be moved indoors or under tents. 

For those unable to attend the boat show but would still like to support, tickets are available online at Everyone who purchases a ticket is entered into a raffle to receive a pair of free roundtrip tickets to a chosen destination with Avelo Airlines, according to Wadle. Half of all proceeds go to SU4C.

Watch the video:

Holmgren Subaru Awards Over $12k to Sails Up 4 Cancer

Sails Up 4 Cancer is ecstatic to be the beneficiary of over $12,000 from Holmgren Subaru. Holmgren Subaru is a community-minded dealership. Because of this incredible gift from the Holmgren Subaru Share the Love campaign, Sails Up 4 Cancer can continue uninterrupted grant funding through the Spinnaker fund. Financially-stressed cancer patients can apply for the Spinnaker fund to assist with day-to-day needs like groceries, rent and medical expenses. The collaboration with Holmgren Subaru and the annual Share the Love Campaign allows SU4C to provide funding for families and patients. Holmgren Subaru has been integral in the success of the Spinnaker Fund which SU4C is extremely proud of. This Fund has been specifically tailored to individuals and families suffering financial hardship as a result of the loss of income due to their struggles with cancer. Sails Up realizes that the last thing a cancer patient needs is additional stress. There are not many places to go for assistance and Sails Up, with Share the Love revenue fills this void.

“The Holmgren team and family have long been supporters of Sails Up 4 Cancer. We appreciate the organization for its unique niche in bringing much needed financial support directly to cancer patients and not through a third party,” said Eric Holmgren, president of Holmgren Subaru. Eric Holmgren is an avid boater and dear friend to Bob Davis, President and founder of SU4C. Davis is a two-time cancer survivor and has an intimate relationship with cancer and cancer patients. Eric, and his wife Dawn, along with the Holmgren Family and the staff at Holmgren Subaru, believes that because of Davis’ experience with two cancers and his personal empathy with the agony that patients endure, he is the perfect person to address their needs. Having lived through the stress of cancer and loss of income, Davis is in a formidable position to support those suffering with the hidden effects and stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

Tom Holmgren was also presented with a Golden Jubilee award in recognition for fifty years of service to Subaru. His years of dedication are part of what makes Holmgren Subaru a special and community-oriented dealership.

“We cannot just provide lip service to those in need of financial assistance. We must heed the call and respond effectively and efficiently in sending financial relief ,” explained Davis, “Imagine receiving a check from Sails Up 4 Cancer. Not a check large enough to cure your cancer or pay off your mortgage or satisfy all your bills. But maybe just enough to alleviate some financial stress – maybe just enough to know there is an organization that identifies with your issues and is here to help. Some people feel forgotten, helpless and lose all hope. Sails Up 4 Cancer is here and cares deeply.


For Further information: Bob Davis, Sails Up 4 Cancer • •

The Importance of the Breast Biopsy

Annual mammograms and any recommended biopsies are crucial to identifying breast cancer early, and early detection can lead to better outcomes.

Middlesex Health uses a special breast biopsy system to perform stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI-guided biopsies at its Radiology locations. These image-guided biopsies allow the radiologist to obtain a small tissue sample for laboratory testing and are less invasive than  a surgical biopsy. 

Using computer guidance, these biopsies can pinpoint the exact location of a breast abnormality, are less invasive than a surgical biopsy and leave little scarring and require minimal recovery time. In addition, image-guided biopsies can be performed in less than an hour, and a small marker is left in place to easily identify the previously biopsied areas on future mammograms.

“Image-guided biopsies are a crucial part of breast cancer screening and diagnosis,” says Dr. Sarah O’Connell, a radiologist and chief of breast imaging at Middlesex Health. “Biopsies identify whether cancer is present and help ensure that appropriate treatment begins as soon as possible.”   

At Middlesex Health’s Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook, a component of the breast biopsy system was at the end of its life and no longer supported by its manufacturer. It needed to be replaced, and that’s where Sails Up 4 Cancer came in. 

Sails Up 4 Cancer is a nonprofit organization based in Connecticut that is dedicated to funding research in the education, prevention, care and cure for all types of cancer through the art and enjoyment of sailing. It generously covered the $20,000 cost, which paid for Middlesex’s new breast biopsy system, as well as the needles that are needed to use it. 

Sails Up 4 Cancer raised the money during a charity regatta on the Connecticut River that was organized by five local sailing organizations: Essex, Essex Corinthian, Duck Island, Frostbite and Pettipaug Yacht Club. It also raised money at the Connecticut Spring Boat Show in Essex.

Bob Davis, CEO and founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer, is a two-time cancer survivor and thanks Ruth Emblin and Carter Gowrie for helping to raise money for this project. They played significant roles in the 2022 Gowrie Group Connecticut River One-Design Regatta, and their dedication and fundraising skills enabled them to help Sails Up 4 Cancer support Middlesex Health in this way. Overall, the collective efforts of the participating yacht clubs, the Sails Up 4 Cancer Board of Directors and the Connecticut Spring Boat Show in Essex made this grant possible.

Davis applauds Middlesex Health for earmarking this donation to enhance the health system’s ability to diagnose breast cancer with the image-guided biopsy system.

Middlesex Health performs about 130 image-guided breast biopsies at its Shoreline Medical Center each year and is grateful to Sails Up 4 Cancer for its support.

“Identifying, treating and beating cancer is a collaborative effort,” says Ryann Nocereto, director of Middlesex Health Cancer Center. “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, and Sails Up 4 Cancer’s support will go a long way in ensuring that Middlesex Health patients get the care they need when they need it for many more years to come.”

More About Mammograms and Breast Biopsies

It is recommended that all women 40 and older get routine mammograms. If you have a high risk of breast cancer, a medical provider may recommend that screening begin at a younger age.

It is important to note that the state of Connecticut recently expanded insurance coverage for follow-up testing recommended after a mammogram, including breast biopsies. In the past, additional testing often resulted in out-of-pocket costs for patients. Beginning in January, this changed. Commercial insurance carriers can no longer impose cost-sharing measures on certain services. Please check with your insurance provider if you have specific questions about your coverage. 

Holmgren Subaru chooses SU4C for Share the Love Partner for Hometown Charity

Sails Up 4 Cancer is proud to part of the Subaru America Share the Love campaign in conjunction with Holmgren Subaru, 3 New Park Ave, N. Franklin, CT.

This year, sharing the love is more important than ever.

Over the last 14 years, the Subaru Share the Love Event, Subaru of America Inc. & its participating retailers have donated more than $227 million to charity, with customers choosing between four national charities and over 1,700 hometown charities. Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 17, 2022 through January 3, 2023, to the purchaser’s choice of four national charities designated by the purchaser: ASPCA®, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America®, Meals On Wheels Association of America®, and the National Park Foundation, and at certain participating retailers, purchasers have an additional choice of a Hometown Charity (“Subaru Donation”).

SU4C, founded in 2011, is a 501(c)3 non profit corporation based in Mystic. Over the years SU4C has donated over $250,000 to a variety of research centers, hospitals, hospice care, and individuals dealing with all types of cancer.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Holmgren team has educated their customers about Sails Up. Customers have a variety of options as far as where the donations go but has chosen Sails Up 4 Cancer to keep their gift local within the community and supports the Sails Up mission,” explained Ken Scanzio, Subaru District Sales Manager.

Bob Davis, CEO of SU4C has partnered with the Holmgren team for numerous years on a variety of projects. “Bob has been a personal friend and he is passionate about Sails Up, it is impossible not to get involved and be supportive when the leader is someone who has not only survived two cancers but works incredibly hard to raise funds for future research and individual cancer care. I am proud to be a part of such a great organization,” said Eric Holmgren.

“No one plans to get cancer; and everyone is affected by it,” said Scanzio. “Subaru is proud to give to an organization helping people suffering from cancer.”

Over $58,000 Raised for Sails Up 4 Cancer at the Gowrie Group CT River One-Design Regatta presented by Cooper Specialty Salvage

Over $80,000 was raised in conjunction with the CT Spring Boat Show at Safe Harbor Essex Island the same weekend.

Essex, CT (June 30, 2022) – The fund raising tally is in for the 2022 Gowrie Group CT River Regatta One Design Regatta, held this year on April 30th. $58,000.00 was raised through sailing team’s, entry fees, the fundraising party and the silent and live auctions. This event was put on by five area Club’s, the Essex, Essex Corinthian, Duck Island, Frostbite and Pettipaug Yacht Clubs in conjunction with over 38 corporate or individual sponsors.

Anne Edgley of Duck Island YC, Event Treasurer, Bob Davis, Sails Up for Cancer and Ruth Emblin, of Duck Island and Essex Corinthian YC and Event Chair do the “Big Check” presentation. Photo Credit: WindCheck Magazine

The 6th Connecticut Spring Boat Show, held the same weekend, raised an additional $23,000 through Show ticket sales and Exhibitors from the Show contributing products and services to the Regatta’s auctions. Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C), is a non-profit organization supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research.

“Sails Up 4 Cancer would like to thank everyone for their support and generosity. It was a stellar weekend for us. All of our events for 2020 had to be canceled and in 2021 we were just crawling back. We are so excited to be the beneficiary of the Regatta and the Show. And as we promised, the funds raised will go to help regional organizations in their efforts to beat cancer.” said Bob Davis, President and Founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer.

Ruth Emblin, Chair of the Regatta and Vice Commodore of the Duck Island Yacht Club, said “The outpouring of support in terms of numbers of people and organizations is truly gratifying. And while we probably can’t top the gorgeous spring weather we had this year, next year we think we can keep building on this success. Thanks to all volunteers and to the sponsors who made the event happen!”


For Further information: Bob Davis, Sails Up 4 Cancer: •

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital accepts gift from Sails Up 4 Cancer

NEW LONDON, CT (Jan. 18, 2021) Lawrence + Memorial Hospital (L+M) announced today the receipt of a $10,000 grant from Sails Up 4 Cancer that will provide high quality patient-centered care to cancer patients.

Specifically the grant will enable the hospital to assist patients by providing access to transportation to and from the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center in Waterford for treatment and physician appointments.

The grant will also provide vouchers to cancer patients who are facing food insecurity during their treatment. They will have the ability to receive nutritious foods during their cancer journey.

Funds are also earmarked for a patient exercise program to help promote optimal health and healing and a beauty boosters program that provides cosmetics and wigs to boost self-esteem and confidence for women during and after treatment.

“Our Smilow care team is dedicated to providing patients affected by cancer and blood disease with individualized, innovative, convenient and caring medical treatment,” said Christine Meola, vice president, Development at L+M. “This generous grant from Sails Up 4 Cancer will give our patients continued access to vital programs that truly make a difference in their cancer journey. This gift will inspire hope in many lives.”

Based in Mystic, Sails Up 4 Cancer is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research, education, care and prevention for all types of cancer.