Here’s how it all started:
Along time ago, four sailors started out from Baxters Boathouse in Hyannis to race their sailboats to Nantucket. That race would be the first of the Figawi Race Weekends, and the beginning of what has become a Cape Cod tradition.
It was 1972, a few friends thought a friendly, competitive sail to Nantucket would be a fun way to spend the weekend. Therefore, with wives and a few friends aboard as crew, the skippers headed out to see who had the fastest boat in getting to the island.
What was then organized as a “fun race to Nantucket” soon became an annual trip across Nantucket Sound.
Whether it was the charm of a race to Nantucket, or maybe just the personal appeal of the early founders is really not clear, but Figawi began to grow by leaps and bounds. A lay day was added in 1978 along with a race back to Hyannis, as the race committee, now formerly organized, turned the Figawi from a one-day race into a three-day weekend event.
In the very early eighties some notable skippers from on and off-Cape – names like Kennedy and Koch — began to sail with the fleet and spread the Figawi news all around New England.
In 1987 the Figawi organizers decided they wanted to create a means of giving back to their home communities and what better way than to develop a charity ball. So they invited sailors, local businessmen, and friends to the first Figawi Ball. With around a seven hundred guests, money was raised with the commitment to support only local charities.
Over the last twenty years the Figawi Charity Ball has become the largest single night of fund raising for local charities. Now each year our event attracts 1200 zealous and diverse individuals and is considered to be the premier social event of the season. It is not only famous as a great night out, but thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and proceeds from our raffles and silent auction, Figawi Charities Inc. generates nearly $200,000 each year and has provided over $2.2 million in support to local organizations who would otherwise go without.
The Figawi Race has grown into one of the premier sailboat races on the east coast. For over 40 years, the race created by great friendships has endured the ups and downs of the competitive sailing regatta summer schedule and continues to attract sailors from all over the country.
In 2013, Figawi Charities Inc (a 501c3) and the Figawi Race Inc. merged to become one 501c3 with greater fundraising power to continue to help the many charities that submit grants each year. Our mission is to continue to raise money for Cape Cod and the Islands charities through fun events.