Published on Friday, 25th May 2018 - 3:43PM05/25/2018
May 25-28, 2018
Serious fun, camaraderie, sailing, and most of all, charity…
that is what Figawi is all about.
The 47th Annual Figawi Race Weekend is recognized as a top sailing event not only on the east coast, but nationally as well as internationally. Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season. Entries include over 200 sailboats ranging from families promoting the sport of sailing to competitive sailors alike, bringing three thousand sailors & visitors hailing from all over the country including the Caribbean, as well as locals.
The weekend begins with a Kickoff Party at Hyannis Yacht Club on Friday, May 25th, 2018. It is for competitors, friends, family, and Figawi fans. Beginning at 3 pm, there is a cash bar, coveted Figawi merchandise for sale, entertainment, and most importantly, Registration for entrants.
Early Saturday morning, crews begin gathering. Skippers and boat owners prepare their boats, gather their crews, and head out to the start line. The first boat officially begins at 10 am off the Hyannisport Jetty. But beginning around 8 am, the parade of sailboats head out of Lewis Bay, pass by Kalmus Beach, and gather off Hyannisport. The boats start from 10 am until approximately noon, depending on their handicapped start time. Around 200 plus sailboats in 13 divisions compete across Nantucket Sound, in various courses, to be the first one to reach Nantucket.
Depending on the various conditions, etc. the theory of the Pursuit Race format is all competitors should reach the Nantucket MO(A) at around the same time. They finish at the entrance of Nantucket Harbor and parade into Nantucket Boat Basin. Standing on the beach at Brant Point Light is a great spot to watch all the action.
Saturday night Figawi hosts a Competitor Party under the Event Tent on New Whale Street. Our sponsors who provide product for festivities include Mt. Gay Rum, Budweiser, Cisco Brewer of Nantucket, Coca Cola, Boisset Family Estates (wine), Samuel Adams, and Jim Beam. After the day of racing, it is a great place to come and see old friends and make new ones.
Sunday is a day to enjoy Nantucket Island whether visiting local shops, enjoying restaurants, or walking on the docks at Nantucket Boat Basin.
Also on Sunday, we host a regatta called the Figawi Invitational. High school sailing teams from across the Cape and Islands are brought to Nantucket by the Figawi organization to compete for the coveted Figawi Jr. Trophy. The races take place off the docks of Nantucket Boat Basin. The kids race in double handed, one design boats called 420’s. It’s pure competition.
As the day winds down, we start the Prize Giving late afternoon. There, 97 plus trophies are awarded to the High School competitors and all the Figawi Race winners. Sponsors of Figawi generously supply their coveted swag to the winners along with the beautiful Figawi trophy awards. There is the Howard K. Penn Spirit Award awarded to the best display of “Figawi” spirit whether on the race course or on land and the Pamela Trussell Duggan Award given to the volunteer who has surpassed the rest.
After the Award Ceremony, we change gears and prep the tent for the Sunday night party. It is, well, pretty much a repeat of Saturday night. Don’t forget to check out the Figawi “tattoo” table. The very professional crew eagerly applies the coveted tattoos to willing participants with the goal of raising donations for a local Nantucket children’s charity.
Monday morning, it is time to get back to racing. The newly formatted Monday Race dubbed “Redux” has been changed to encourage as many entrants as possible. The race now ends in a neutral location allowing skippers to head north or south towards home. The gathering at HYC later in the afternoon includes entertainment and one last time to enjoy the Figawi camaraderie until next year.
Come check it out! There is something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you.
Here’s how it all started:
Along time ago, four sailors started out from Baxters Boathouse in Hyannis to race their sailboats to Nantucket. That race would be the first of the Figawi Race Weekends, and the beginning of what has become a Cape Cod tradition.
It was 1972, a few friends thought a friendly, competitive sail to Nantucket would be a fun way to spend the weekend. Therefore, with wives and a few friends aboard as crew, the skippers headed out to see who had the fastest boat in getting to the island.
What was then organized as a “fun race to Nantucket” soon became an annual trip across Nantucket Sound.
Whether it was the charm of a race to Nantucket, or maybe just the personal appeal of the early founders is really not clear, but Figawi began to grow by leaps and bounds. A lay day was added in 1978 along with a race back to Hyannis, as the race committee, now formerly organized, turned the Figawi from a one-day race into a three-day weekend event.
In the very early eighties some notable skippers from on and off-Cape – names like Kennedy and Koch — began to sail with the fleet and spread the Figawi news all around New England.
In 1987 the Figawi organizers decided they wanted to create a means of giving back to their home communities and what better way than to develop a charity ball. So they invited sailors, local businessmen, and friends to the first Figawi Ball. With around a seven hundred guests, money was raised with the commitment to support only local charities.
Over the last twenty years the Figawi Charity Ball has become the largest single night of fund raising for local charities. Now each year our event attracts 1200 zealous and diverse individuals and is considered to be the premier social event of the season. It is not only famous as a great night out, but thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and proceeds from our raffles and silent auction, Figawi Charities Inc. generates nearly $200,000 each year and has provided over $2.2 million in support to local organizations who would otherwise go without.
The Figawi Race has grown into one of the premier sailboat races on the east coast. For over 40 years, the race created by great friendships has endured the ups and downs of the competitive sailing regatta summer schedule and continues to attract sailors from all over the country.
In 2013, Figawi Charities Inc (a 501c3) and the Figawi Race Inc. merged to become one 501c3 with greater fundraising power to continue to help the many charities that submit grants each year. Our mission is to continue to raise money for Cape Cod and the Islands charities through fun events.