The Purpose of Let's take a veteran sailing events is three fold:
The first is to spread awareness for PTSD and veteran suicide.
The second is to spread awareness for SailAhead.
The final reason for this event is to honor and remember Our Mates.
Our Mates are 219 veterans and active duty men and women who have taken their lives. They are represented by these 219 nametags. We take them wherever SailAhead goes, and they are always with us while we sail. We demonstrate they are with us by flying the 219 flag.
The black and white contrasting each other symbolize the colors you see in a storm on the water. The sea is turned white as the waves crest and break, with the frothy spray imitating the feeling of rain. The clouds overhead converge to form a black blanket that blocks out the light. This fight at sea is nothing short of a fight for survival, a fight for your life. It symbolizes the fight we are constantly trying to win. The fight against the 22 veteran suicides and 1 active duty soldier daily. We are trying to do whatever we can to throw a monkey wrench into this saddening cycle.
In 2016, we honored Our local Mate Michael Blanco who was a US Marine and ended his life at almost 19. Michael pushed himself to finish High School sooner so that he could join the Marines. He lived in Commack.
2017 is the year we are honoring Army Ranger Ryan Day, Ryan and Michael were both extraordinary kids before becoming soldiers, at which point they became extraordinary soldiers. After two tours Ryan ended his life at 21 years old. He was based in Tacoma and that is where he ended his life. In honor of Ryan SailAhead launched a Let's Take a veteran Sailing event in Tacoma.
Families of soldiers do not get deployed, they don’t carry heavy bags, they don’t do countless push-ups, they don’t all go abroad, they are never in harm’s way, and hey they don’t even have to eat k-rations or MRE’s, yet they endure extreme sacrifices too. The ultimate sacrifice is to lose a loved one. Our fight is about suicide, but we are also honored to have among our families’ soldiers who have been killed in action. To us a loss of a life linked to military is a loss of life. The sacrifice is the same, and just as hard to endure, whether the death is self-inflicted or inflicted by the enemy. Welcome all families, we welcome all Mates!
If at least 22 veterans commit suicide daily in America, in 10 days there are at least 220 deaths. Our flag says 219, because the one that’s missing symbolizes the one were trying to save.
Thanks to the overwhelming support of our local skippers, our events Let's Take a Veteran Sailing in Centerport, on the Great South Bay and in Tacoma have each become a success and an yearly occurrence.
"Let's Take a Veteran Sailing" - Tacoma
Hosted on Saturday, July 17th, 2017
Thank you to the Tacoma Yacht Club for hosting the event, providing boats, skippers, crew and volunteers, as well as the skippers from the Corinthian Yacht Club, Pointe du Hoc Foundation for your help, the The 75th Regiment for listening to us. A big thank you to all for believing in SailAhead's work!
"Let's Take a Veteran Sailing" - Great South Bay
Hosted on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 and Saturday, August 20th, 2016
Thank you to the South Bay Cruising Club for hosting the event, providing boats, skippers, crew and volunteers. Thank you June for these amazing Popcorn!
"Let's Take a Veteran Sailing" - Centerport
Hosted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 and Saturday, July 30th, 2016 and on Saturday, August 20th, 2015
Thank you to the Centerport Yacht Club for hosting the event, providing boats, skippers, crew and volunteers. Thank you to the skippers that came from 10 other yacht Clubs, the cadets from US Marine Merchant Academy and from US Military Academy!
Call SailAhead at (631) 831-8763 for more information on past and future events.