Transpacific Yacht Race Sailors Visit Patients at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach

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Isabel Santana, 9, shows off her guitar design with Bretwalda 3 Skipper, Robert Pethick.

Isabel Santana, 9, shows off her guitar design with Bretwalda 3 Skipper, Robert Pethick.

Michigan-based, nonprofit organization, Racing For Kids, brought Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac) sailors to Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach on Wednesday, July 10. The crew of the Bretwalda 3, from Detroit, came to the hospital to share stories and talk about all aspects of sailboat racing with Miller Children’s patients and families.

The sailors began their visit in the hematology/oncology playroom where they met patients and showed a short video about their previous race down the Mexican coast. While there, they played with patients, did arts and crafts, autographed official Racing For Kids hats and shared their adventures.

The Bretwalda 3 crew, who arrived in Long Beach just one day before their visit, was set to embark on a nine-to 10-day long race to Honolulu the next day. Started in 1906, Transpac is one of yachting’s premier offshore races and attracts entrants from all over the world. The race is organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club and occurs every two years. The race, which begins at Point Fermin, San Pedro and ends at Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu, covers a distance of around 2,225 nautical miles (2,560 mi).

Comprised mostly of hobby sailors, the crew of the Bretwalda 3 wanted to make time to give back to the community while on their travels. “Sailboat racing is something that we all get a lot of joy out of,” says Robert Pethick, skipper, Bretwalda 3. “We take time away from our families to do this race, but taking time to visit hospitalized kids on our journey makes it a more balanced and meaningful activity. A lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to get out on the water and away from the protective walls of a hospital or home, so we’re here to brighten their day a little bit.”

Founded in Detroit in 1989, Racing For Kids was designed to use the increasing popularity of motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the health care needs of children. Since then, the organization has grown to include many more forms of racing. Racing For Kids participants visit patients in children’s hospitals wherever they race and spend time with them discussing all aspects of their sport and bring distinctive Racing For kids memorabilia to give to patients.

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