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Sailing On Arcadia! A 70 Foot Sloop That Heals

Updated: May 28

Sailing on Arcadia

SailAhead has a few new programs in 2024, including sailing on Arcadia; a 70 f00t sloop that was designed for racing and built in 1989.

During our first outing last week we had clear skies, wind up to 15 knots, and a brilliant sunset!

There is just something about sailing that calms the mind, and brings people into the present moment.

Within minutes of slipping off the mooring the veterans on board, previously strangers, got deep into a conversation about complex PTSD, suicide, and how they each deal with struggles every day.

For many veterans, staying on this planet is a fight that renews daily. trying new things and sticking with them is one way that Retired US Army Major Clare "stays alive".

We at SailAhead are proud to have had such a profoundly positive impact on the lives of veterans who were ready to sacrifice everything during their service.

Over the last 10 years of our operations and programming, we have heard enough emotionally charged testimony to know that we are saving lives every year. That's what drives us forward and motivates us to continue creating ever more sailing opportunities for a growing number of veterans.

Sean Duclay and the stirling harbor foundation team up to take veterans Clare Martinez, Pamela Usher, and Trisha Northover sailing on Arcadia
Skipper Ken and Sean Duclay with the first group of veterans on Arcadia this year!

Sailing isn't just about catching the wind and riding the waves; it's also a journey inward. With each breath of salty air, you feel more connected to the rhythm of the ocean. Being crew demands your full attention, leaving no room for worries about yesterday's to-do list or tomorrow's deadlines. It's just you, your crew (comrades), the boat, and the vast expanse of blue. As you trim the sails you become attuned to the subtle nuances of the wind and the water.

There's a peaceful simplicity in this dance with nature that soothes the soul like nothing else. In those moments, you're not just sailing; you're practicing mindfulness, and finding serenity in the present moment. As you glide across the water, any stress or tension you carried with you melts away, replaced by a profound sense of calm and clarity. That's the beauty of sailing—it's not just a sport, it's a therapy session for the mind and spirit.

Sailing with others builds connection and community. For veterans, being able to comfortably share their experiences with people who understand is crucial for the healing process.

Picture of Arcadia from the bow, pointing aft
Arcadia from the bow (front) of the sailboat

Partnership with the Stirling Harbor Foundation

Since 2023 SailAhead and the Stirling Harbor Foundation have partnered in solidarity with United States Veterans. Joining forces, our two organizations will be able to provide sailing opportunities multiple days of every week in the sailing season.

Beginning last year, SailAhead veterans have been participating in a classic race series that takes place in Nassau County, NY. We are deeply thankful to be invited to participate in these races against some boats that are over 100 years old! SailAhead hopes to win more races as our veterans become better sailors over time!

The Stirling Harbor Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the public sailing. They own and maintain many classic boats; sailboats and powerboats that have made their own special contributions to American maritime history.

By partnering with SailAhead, we will be able to give many of these boats new purpose as they contribute to ameliorating the quality of life of veterans suffering from PTSD or depression.

How To Get Involved!

Reach out! During the sailing season we are constantly on the water, if you or a veteran you know could benefit from sailing with us, please reach out!

About Arcadia

Arcadia was built in 1989 by the Concordia yacht yard.  She was an impeccable example of a Classic Cruiser Racer and remains impressive in her ability to both turn heads and win races. Her competitive history is rich: she has won five Bermuda races and thus has a room named after her at the New York Yacht Club in Newport, RI. 

Arcadia’s design is the product of McCurdy and Rhodes.  Her layout meets the demands of cruisers and racers alike: down below, you’ll find comfortable accommodations for six guests and two crew; on deck, she boasts two spacious cockpits.  Her generous galley and main saloon lend themselves to easy gathering at the end of the day.

In her current role with the Stirling Harbor Foundation, Arcadia finds new purpose in both week-long, overnight camps for teens and day trips for veterans and their families.  Her rich pedigree tells an impressive history, but we feel that her best days are yet to come as we use her to inspire, teach, and grow.  And, of course, we still win a few races when our schedule permits.

Arcadia's Other Programs

Other programs that involve Arcadia are run by Amy Lewis. They are


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