Four days until the "largest sailing race in the world." Lasers (full rig) have the largest class with over 1,000 boats registered. An unimpressive 21 of those are in the USA. What happened?
Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. We contacted multiple people and the reactions went from 'never heard of it' to 'sounds like a good cause' quickly followed by lots of reasons why it just wasn't feasible.
I had heard about Bart's Bash earlier in the year but didn't quite get the concept. Over a month ago, I started learning more about it and looking for a venue where we could race in it. That's when I learned that it just hadn't caught on in the USA.
There was definitely a widespread awareness problem in the USA. Even though Jimmy Spithill was registered to do his Bart's Bash in an E-Scow regatta at a USA venue, the club where he was registered didn't begin announcing or advertising the Bart's Bash portion of the event until this past month.
Hopefully, this will become an annual event because there is a lot of room for growth.
In the meantime, it's not too late to make a small donation to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (click the link below). Bart's Bash is a fundraiser event to help the Foundation continue Bart's legacy of paying it forward.
In the words of Ian Percy:
"We would have had a hard day’s training in whatever country we were in, and we’d have gone to bed and I would sleep almost immediately. Sometimes, though, I’d wake up and hear the tap, tap, tap of a keyboard and I’d ask Bart what he was up to and why he wasn’t going to sleep, and he would just reply, ‘Yeah, I will in a minute, it’s just that (insert name of young sailor here) is having a couple of problems and he/she just needs a little advice.’
Nothing was too much trouble for Bart – he believed passionately in supporting the next generation and he did it because he cared.’