| Challenged America |
Chances are, you’ve heard this adage about sailing: 'The most important part is the journey itself…not the destination.' We at Pantaneius America Yacht Insurance agree and commend these three inspiring organizations that prove life is like that, too…
One of the greatest joys of sailing is its ability to nourish the body and soul. There’s something so soothing about a salty breeze caressing your face and the quietness of the water around you…the feel of control when you’re easing out or trimming the sails…and the way the tiller feels in your hands. Gliding through silky glass waterways, time is not measured by crazy schedules and pressing deadlines, but instead by the rise and fall of each passing crest. You are living in the here and now and enjoying life to the fullest. All feels right with the world.
This may be a routine experience to most sailors, but for some (the wheelchair bound and the terminally ill, for example), the chance to enjoy these simple sailing pleasures are nothing short of life changing.
Leave Your Disabilities at the Door
'I thought sailing was part of my past, something I could no longer do as a result of muscular dystrophy. This program has enabled me to sail again and experience feelings I hadn’t felt for a very long time—feelings like empowerment and freedom. I have learned that you can be blind and still sail as Urban, the founder of the program does, or have a prosthetic leg as Kevin, my sailing companion does. I learned that I could leave my disabilities at the dock, sail in a seven-boat regatta and win!' -Colin Smith
In 1978, two disabled veterans in wheelchairs were at San Diego’s Mission Bay watching others sail and said, 'That looks like fun…and all of them are sitting, too. Now that’s something we should be able to do.' Unable to find a sailing program or school able to accommodate their needs and desires to sail a boat themselves, they purchased a Cal 20 sailboat and invited others, with and without disabilities, to learn how to sail with them.
Thus, Challenged America was born with the goal of introducing adaptive sailing as a new life experience to improve health, build self-confidence, develop new skills and abilities and stimulate independence.
Fast forward to 2012, and Challenged America’s fleet has grown to over a dozen boats (the number varies from month to month, depending on donations and sales of program boats). Today, Challenged America also includes racing and not only attracts the disabled and their loved ones, but also professionals in sports therapy and recreational rehabilitation, sailing instructors, yacht designers, educators, researchers, innovators, engineers and adaptive technology developers from around the world. Best of all, thousands with disabilities, both physical and psychological, have enjoyed a true, often first-time sailing experience with the program.
To learn more: Check out Challenged America
Harnessing the Medicinal and Spiritual Powers of the Sea
'It was a carefree day. I didn’t have to think about anything but the wind. It was perfect, totally rejuvenating.' -Bette Corbett
Bette Corbett always loved the ocean, and sailing aboard a classic yacht was high on her bucket list. Two months before losing her 8-year-long battle with ovarian cancer, she spent a glorious day aboard Valiant, the vintage America’s Cup racer, with owner Gary Gregory at the helm and his wife, Andrea, on the foredeck.
This respite came compliments of Sailing Heals, a Massachusetts-based charity founded last year in partnership with luxury Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai, in conjunction with the North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, as a way to give back to the communities who support the annual regattas. Pairing owners of beautiful boats with patients and their caretakers, Sailing Heals also partners with organizations such as Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
The primary goal here is to give cancer patients—as well as the people who care for them—a memorable and uplifting shared experience on the water, while allowing them to enjoy a respite from the realities of their present situation. 'We’ve had an enthusiastic outpouring of support from the sailing community, whose members are eager to give back to others and share their beloved sport,' says Trisha Boisvert, Executive Director of Sailing Heals.
This year, Panerai has expanded their respite sails into South Florida. In the not-too-distant future, Sailing Heals also plans to offer the experience to underprivileged youth and to military veterans suffering from the traumas of war.
To learn more: Check out Sailing Heals
Transferring Peace Found on the Water to Peace on Earth
'To go a mile in someone else’s shoes teaches empathy. Our students sail 1,000 miles together. By the end of this voyage, we are family.' -David Nutt
Every yacht owner knows that one key to smooth sailing is having a crew that works in harmony. Despite varying backgrounds and personalities, all must be able to set aside those differences and work together.
That, in a nutshell, is the premise behind Seas of Peace, a Maine-based sailing program that uses sail learning and the secluded nature of life at sea to foster empathy, teamwork, cultural awareness and intellectual curiosity among youth from Israel, Palestine and the United States.
Seas of Peace operates under the auspices of Seeds of Peace, an international camp on the southern coast of Maine and a world leader in youth conflict resolution. For 21 days each summer, 18 youth leaders—or 'Seeds' as they call themselves—live and work together. The first nine days are spent immersed in leadership and conflict resolution courses, as well as learning the basics of sailing. The remainder of the program is spent living aboard a 110-foot schooner, Spirit of Massachusetts.
While sailing from Portland to New York City then on to Boston, Seeds continue their leadership training in the classroom, but the hands-on experience they take away as crew members is even more valuable. They quickly learn that they can’t accomplish anything individually aboard, and that they need to ask their shipmates for help. More importantly, they find that if they pool their knowledge, they learn more quickly and are more successful overall.
'On a 110-foot schooner, you’ve got to trust that while you’re sleeping, somebody else is running the boat in a safe manner, keeping watch,' says Seas of Peace Co-Founder David Nutt. 'You’ve got to trust that the cooking is going to get done, that the cleaning is going to get done, and if anybody isn’t a member of that big team, the whole thing is going to fall apart.'
Both Nutt and Co-Founder Monica Balanoff grew up sailing, worked as Seeds of Peace counselors and competed circumnavigations in sailboats at early ages. Their Seas of Peace Pilot Program in 2011 was deemed a huge success when participants came away with a renewed hope of peace, which was especially significant given developments in the Middle East that spring.
'Politicians might make treaties, but it is people who make peace,' says Balanoff. 'Seas of Peace offers hope and a sense of possibility for a generation that will soon be leading their respective countries.'
To learn more: Check out Seas of Peace
Pantaenius insures yachts worldwide, provides custom navigation and offers expert claims service 24 hours daily.
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3:00 PM Sun 9 Jun 2013GMT
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