Making Waves And Wishes


Port Washington Yacht Club hosted their annual Junior Sailor Regatta

Friends sailed the bay together.

For 20 years, the Port Washington Yacht Club has hosted its annual Junior Sailor Regatta to bring young sailors to sea, some for the first time, while helping Make-A-Wish Metro New York grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. This year alone, the event raised over $65,000 to make wishes come true.
This event was conceptualized by former Port Washington Yacht Club Junior Sailor Caitilin Abruzzo. While brainstorming ideas for her high school service project, she decided to combine her personal passion for sailing with the act of service to raise funds for an organization Abruzzo had always known and wanted to make a lasting impact on—Make-A-Wish.

Sail boats preparing.

This Make-A-Wish Regatta has operated with two goals at its center. The first is giving junior sailors the opportunity to get their sea legs. The second is to help them find perspective on how fortunate they are, and to instill the important lesson of giving back. Caitlin felt that children helping other children through this sport would be the opportunity of a lifetime.
And she was right.
Two decades later, The Port Washington Yacht Club continues to host its Regatta, a day of celebrating sailing, community, and charity. As the fleet of enthusiastic young sailors continues to grow each year, the nature of this competition has always remained true. The focus is on good sportsmanship, the chance to race, and raising funds to support children with critical illnesses in their community.

Attendees enjoying the view from the Port Washington Yacht Club.
(Photos from Make-A-Wish Metro New York)

Sal Russo, vice chair of the Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program said that hosting the Regatta hasn’t just helped wish kids, it’s had a distinct impact on the Club itself. “While it is very rewarding to pass on a love of sailing and being on the water to our children, the legacy of charity that we have the opportunity to pass down with this regatta is a very special opportunity”, he said.
It’s also something he hopes members will take with them for years to come, granting wishes and spreading the joy of sailing. “The Port Washington Yacht Club Make-A Wish Regatta has become an institution and we expect this to be an enduring legacy for years to come,” he said. “We expect one day for sailors from our Green Fleet beginners to one day organize and host future Make-A-Wish Regattas.”
We are so incredibly grateful for the vision and diligent work of the Port Washington Yacht Club, and to everyone who has participated in the Regatta and raised funds over the past 20 years. Thank you for having a lasting impact on our wish kids, and for making their life-changing wishes come true.
—Submitted by Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York