Club News


Wounded Veterans Take to the Waters of San Diego

By Emily Willhoft | May 31, 2017
Warrior Sailing Program Armed Services YMCA

Twenty-one wounded veterans will be taking on a new challenge, sailing, right here in the waters of San Diego, June 13-15, 2017. They won’t just be going for a boat ride, these men and women will be participating in an intense three-day course to learn how to sail on their own, despite their injuries.

Through a partnership with the Armed Services YMCA and the San Diego Yacht Cub, the Warrior Sailing Program returns to San Diego, a beautiful setting to learn how to sail. The program was founded with a mission to introduce active military and veterans with disabilities to the sport of sailing, with opportunities ranging from introductory level sailing to world championship competition.

The program offers the Basic Training Camp at no cost to participants. They come from all branches of the military and have varying injuries that range from limb loss, traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to name a few.

“We value our continuing partnership with San Diego Yacht Club and are excited about our new relationship with the Armed Services YMCA,” says Ben Poucher, Warrior Sailing Director. “It is only by working together can we provide an unbelievable experience for the wounded service members who have given so much to us.”

Participants will sail together in teams of three on J-22 sailboats, with an on-board professional coach accompanying each team. The sailboats and facilities are provided by SDYC. “We are proud to host the Warrior Sailing Program at our club for the third year,” affirms John Reiter, SDYC’s 2017 Commodore. “We love to share our resources and love of sailing with a community that has served our country and sacrificed so much. These individuals continue to impress us with their courage, leadership skills, and self-determination both on and off the water.”  

Sailing is the platform to help these wounded veterans reunite with their fellow service members, feel the camaraderie, and help with integration into civilian life.  

“The Warrior Sailing Program is an amazing way to support our warriors from the Naval Medical Center – Balboa and across our nation,” says Tim Ney, Executive Director of the Armed Services YMCA. “We are very excited to be a partner with two great organizations.”

Graduates from the Basic Training Camp will learn about local sailing opportunities and those in their hometowns. Graduates may continue training to earn a keelboat certification, advanced racing skills and compete in open and disabled racing events both across the country and around the world. More information on the Warrior Sailing Program can be found online at www.warriorsailing.org.

For more information, media inquiries, coverage requests or to arrange interviews with WSP participants, please contact Emily Willhoft.