This year marked the 50th year of the annual Northeast Regional Nygard Regatta. The name of this event is rather misleading. The term “regatta” implies a boat race, typically with sailboats or motorboats, but this is not the case with Nygard Regatta. The Henry I. Nygard Regatta is a race measuring proficiency in the needed skills for advancement, the time required for the scouts to complete those skills, and the accuracy to which they are done. Essentially, this is a competition of the seamanship skills that sea scouts would encounter in their adventures.
This year’s regatta took place Memorial Day weekend from May 22nd to May 25th, and while that may have been enough time for the competition, the event definitely did not last as long as everyone wanted it to. From the time check-in began May 22nd, to the end of the award ceremony and the tossing of the ceremonial wreath into the river on Memorial Day, every person at the event could safely say that it was definitely worth it. There were two main components to this Regatta that really helped it live up to the name of the Henry I. Nygard Regatta (Henry Nygard was a veteran scouter and is often thought of as a legend in his home council of NCAC). The first of these components, the events in which scouts came from all over the North Eastern Region to compete in. These events range from ones of simple basic knowledge like knots to more difficult ones such as navigation problems or international code flags and even pulling boat. Then there are the basic seamanship skill events such as heaving line, rowing, canoeing, life ring toss, and more. All of these events serve to reflect what a sea scout may need to do whilst out on a cruise or in advancement.
The second and final component is the approach toward the competition that is taken. Nygard Regatta is designed to give sea scouts an opportunity to showcase their abilities and knowledge of seamanship, navigation, and many other areas in an environment that is not only one of competition, but also one of learning. All of the rules for competition are taken very seriously and there is no margin for cheating, but yet, it is still 100 percent focused on learning. To put this into perspective, while at Nygard this year I watched a group of four scouts competing at the knot tying station to see if they could all tie the required four knots in a short amount of time. After they did, the judge looked over all of their knots and declared which ones were correct and which were not. Now he could of just stopped there, this man was not getting paid, he had no incentive to “go the extra mile”, but yet, he did something that completely surprised me. He spent a full fifteen minutes going over the one knot that all four scouts had tied wrong with them and would not let them leave until they had all tied it correctly. This one example really encompasses all that this regatta is. It is about showcasing what you know, and learning to fix what you don’t know in order to benefit yourself, your ship, and any other sea scouts you may meet and sail with. That is something that we can all agree is truly amazing.
This year marked the milestone of the 50th time that this event has gone off successfully, and there is no doubt in the mind of anyone who attended this event this year that it won’t continue for another 50 years. The winner of this year’s regatta was Ship 1942 out of Arlington VA which is one of the ships on the national flagship fleet. This ship teamed up this year with Ship 212 from Stafford VA (one of the other ships on the national flagship fleet) to achieve victory. This event is truly special, and it is with confidence that I can say that in 50 years we will be witnessing the 100th anniversary of this event.
Sea Scout Ship 212
National Social Media Team