Our Mates are 219+ veterans and active-duty service members who have taken their lives. They are represented by their name tags and SailAhead makes it their mission to sail with Our Mates wherever they go. To honor their memory by sharing their stories. They will never be forgotten.
Around the time of SailAhead's inception, the US Department of Veterans Affairs declared that at least 22 veterans were killing themselves a day. That translates to nearly one death every hour and 220 deaths every ten days. "219" became our way of symbolizing the one veteran whose life SailAhead, along with our communities, tries to save, by way of sailing and advocacy.
As a way of physically representing this number, we assembled Our Mates, the name-tags of over 219 veterans who have taken their own lives. Besides materially demonstrating how urgent the veteran-suicide crisis is, they also ensure that the memories of those who lose this battle live on. We were once told by the mother of one of Our Mates that the worst thing that could happen would be for her daughter to be forgotten.
With SailAhead, Our Mates are always sailing, traveling, and spreading the word about PTS and veteran-suicide awareness to new communities. Our events serve as spaces for the families and friends of Our Mates to speak about their lives, gain some closure, and offer resources and hope to veterans currently struggling.
Our Mates Around the World
NY to Panama and into the pacific
From New York to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and finally the Galapagos Islands, Our Mates have truly become avid sailors!
Our Mates in France:
Visiting D-Day battle sights
In 2018, Our Mates traveled to France and visited the D-Day beaches in Normandy and Pointe du Hoc. There, SailAhead co-founders Kilian and Sean collected sand from Omaha beach where 2,499 Americans died on the first day of fighting to liberate Europe. They also visited the Point Du Hoc, the 100-foot cliff where the Army Rangers 2nd Battalion had to scale to fight and capture German artillery batteries to protect their countrymen on the beaches. They suffered a 70% casualty rate. Every summer, SailAhead, in partnership with the Tacoma Yacht Club, hosts an event in the state of Washington to remember and in honor of Our Mate SPC Ryan James Day of the second Ranger Battalion and all of his brothers and sisters who lost their lives both at home and abroad.