April 16, 2024
Annapolis, US 64 F

Wanna sail with Gary Jobson? Here’s how!

Gary Jobson
Gary Jobson

Very few people spend tens, if not hundreds, of hours soliciting funds for a worthy cause in hopes of being rewarded for such philanthropy. When the reward is the opportunity to cruise alongside a legendary sailor on his home waters, however, it just makes sense to enjoy the ride.

Annapolis Yacht Club will serve as the host for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Fantasy Sail with Gary Jobson on Oct. 27-29, 2017, to honor Leukemia Cup Regatta participants who have raised at least $15,000. The site was chosen to honor Jobson, an AYC member, co-founder of Fantasy Sail, and National Chairman of the Leukemia Cup Regatta for the past quarter century.

AYC supports the Annapolis Leukemia Cup annually by putting at least one Race Committee on the water with Eastport Yacht Club.

Jobson, who has been “the driving force behind the (Leukemia Cup) campaign,” according to Corinne Mayers, Senior Campaign Manager for the Maryland Chapter of LLS, is happy to have helped raise $62 million for blood cancer research since 1993.

“The ironic twist of fate for me is I ended up being the recipient of all the research that was funded by our regattas,” said Jobson, who is a 13-year lymphoma survivor. “It does my heart well when you know everybody, and so many people have been touched by one of these cancers.”

On the way to raising $62 million, there have been ups and downs — Jobson’s own battle with lymphoma and an economic downturn beginning in 2008, from which Jobson said it took a few years to recover. However, he said 2017 is looking to be a record-breaking year for Leukemia Cup fundraising.

Mayers estimates 50 to 60 participants and one guest each will attend Fantasy Sail Weekend, which first took place in Newport, Rhode Island in 1998. The deadline to qualify is Oct. 20, but the most updated list of donors has Maryland represented in the top three highest totals ranging from $51,000 to nearly $86,000. Sailors will represent Louisiana, Illinois, Rhode Island, and California among other states.

“We are so excited to get to showcase our town to all these passionate people from around the country,” Mayers said. “They will get to come together, trade stories and fundraising ideas, and have some fun sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a great weekend to celebrate and thank these folks who have made a difference for the mission of LLS.”

Fantasy Sail involvement of Annapolis Yacht Club only begins with Jobson, who is known to do a little “light coaching” during the end-of-year regatta. Past Commodore Peter Gordon will serve as the Principal Race Officer and AYC will host the Fantasy Sail Welcome Reception on Friday,

Oct. 27. AYC has also served the last six years as host for the Leukemia Cup Summer Gala & Auction, which is held the Friday before the June regatta and raises $50,000 annually.

Blood cancer survivor and AYC member John Heintz inspired the club’s Harbor 20 Fleet to raise $60,000 over the past two years. Jobson praised the efforts of the fleet for embracing the fight of one of their own. “I think a lot of people just rallied around (Heintz),” he said.

While the on-the-water portion of Fantasy Sail is a big draw for donors, there is also an educational aspect to the weekend. The event will also feature a seminar on fundraising best practices.

Saturday evening, a tribute to Jobson will be held at Loews Annapolis Hotel in the form of a sit-down dinner with silent auction and presentations regarding LLS research. The event is open to the public and tickets will go on sale in September on the Leukemia Cup website.

Jobson recalled the circumstances surrounding the inaugural Leukemia Cup Regatta in 1993. A press conference was held at Annapolis City Dock with just one local newspaper reporter in attendance. Yet, something special happened during the regatta that perhaps foreshadowed the ensuing two-plus decades.

“Almost 100 boats came out for the regatta,” Jobson said, “and at the end of the weekend we had a check for $30,000 to present to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”

They sure have come a long way.

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