Warrior Sailing program returns to Annapolis
“When service men and women put their time as a warrior behind them, physical and mental wounds from sacrifices made during service can make it very difficult to find purpose and happiness afterward. Warrior Sailing is the first Veteran’s programming I’ve attended where I’ve been introduced to a new activity that I can imagine shaping the future of my life for the better.” - Scott Thomas, Annapolis Basic Training Camp Participant.
The Warrior Sailing Program returned to Annapolis for their seventh Basic Training Camp at the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC). Program Manager Cory Kapes was happy to report that 21 wounded, ill, and injured veterans finished the course and are now part of the sport. Kapes said, “It’s always great to come back. With a strong sailing community and military culture, Annapolis is a perfect fit for us. We are so grateful for the hospitality of AYC at the Sailing Center, Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs, Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters, the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation, and photographer Will Keyworth to make the week memorable for the warriors and seven coaches.”
Under the umbrella of the USMMA Sailing Foundation, Warrior Sailing focuses on sailing skill development for veterans. Coaching techniques accommodate cognitive and mental health challenges and include specialized equipment to compensate for physical difficulties, allowing equal participation for all. More than 650 veterans have graduated from the Basic Training Camp program, many of whom have suffered from TBI and/or PTSD. Remarkably, several hundred of the graduates have gone on to earn various certifications, compete in regattas, and some have even returned as instructors.
Sailing director Ben Poucher introduced sails, rigging, and the new vocabulary of sailing, such as “Duck” during an inadvertent downwind jibe. He conducted two chalkboard trainings daily with two on-the-water sessions that were just as entertaining as they were instructive, and by week’s end all were functioning as a team. You can learn more and/or support Warrior Sailing at WarriorSailing.org. Congratulations to Warrior Sailors!
By Ward Anderson