Belhaven once again hosts Pirates on the Pungo Regatta on May 17-19. Attracted by Belhaven’s picturesque waterfront community, participants from Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, DC, and Maryland come to enjoy shoreside activities, sailboat and dinghy racing and the Buccaneer Bash dinner/dance.
Volunteers from two local groups, the Belhaven Yacht Club and the River Rat Yacht Club organize the regatta each year to benefit Pungo District Hospital Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to support Vidant Pungo Hospital, located in Belhaven.
G.K. Pippin, President of the Pungo District Hospital, said, “We’re very grateful to the yacht clubs for organizing the regatta for us.” Many local businesses and individuals are either sponsors or donate merchandise and services to ensure the success of the event.
“Vidant Pungo Hospital means a lot to this area,” Pippin continued. “The community really gets behind anything that supports the hospital. We couldn’t do nearly as much for Vidant Pungo Hospital without the support of the Pirates on the Pungo Regatta and all the great volunteers who make it happen.”
Diana Lambeth, who is chairing the regatta committee for the second year, said organizers have been pleased with the response each year. “We’ve had great participation, and not just in the sailing community. Pirates on the Pungo is designed to offer something for everyone, so we attract just as many non-sailors as sailors,” she said.
“Our real goal is to support the Pungo District Hospital. We feel the best way to do that is to make sure everybody has a good time. Pirates on the Pungo is run by volunteers, so the regatta doesn’t have any administrative costs. All proceeds go directly to the hospital foundation and all donations are tax-deductible,” Lambeth noted that with the purchase of a $40 shoreside pass, participants can attend all land-based activities. “It’s a great deal, especially when you consider that beer, wine and soft drinks are included.” On Friday night, the Pungo District Hospital Foundation holds a Captain’s reception for sailors and those holding shoreside passes. As Lambeth stated, “They really know how to put on a spread.” Also included is a breakfast buffet prepared by yacht club volunteers and the hospital foundation members on Saturday, a continental breakfast provided by the hospital foundation on Sunday, and the Buccaneer Bash dinner/dance on Saturday night. “The whole town and the sailors turn out for the Buccaneer Bash,” she said.
Arden Root, Executive Director of the Pungo District Hospital Foundation, said that the Pirates on the Pungo Regatta has donated over $84,500 since 2007. She said that proceeds from past regattas have been used to help fund such things as a stress test system, heart monitoring, physical therapy and radiology equipment, new stretchers for the ER, patient room furniture, updated computer systems and training in the use of new software. The foundation also funds allied health scholarships for students wanting to enter the healthcare profession.
“This year, we helped with a renovation project in the lobby and main hallways by donating artwork. We wanted to make the hospital more cheerful and welcoming,” she said.
For information, registration and tickets, visit the website at www.PiratesOnPungo.org or call Diana Lambeth at 252-964-3555.