Wounded veterans use sailing as an outlet

Posted at 11:42 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 23:42:44-04

Annapolis is full of sailors and members of the military. The Warrior Sailing Program brings the two together.

The Annapolis Yacht Club hosts the program with a goal: to introduce active military veterans with disabilities to sailing. These veterans aren't letting their medical conditions hold them back; instead, they're experiencing a new challenge through being on the water.

"You can leave your wheelchair or your prosthetic limb behind, and you can go out and sail a boat with the proper adaptations and be just as competitive against an able-bodied person," said Jen French. "And that's why we love it."

After three days of training, the 21 warrior participants had a race.

"Sailing's been a good outlet for me, a nice social activity," said Joan Hill, a participant. "It almost feels like home, family. Everyone's so welcoming and encouraging. Its really helped me progress in finding my new normal."

A three-day training camp was held from Sept. 13-15. After the participants graduated, select students had the opportunity to try out for the Warrior Sailing Team to learn more advanced techniques and compete in racing events around the country.

"When I got hurt, there was a lot of things I couldn't do anymore," said Patrick Horan, a warrior who was shot in the head in Iraq. "But I can come here and they are helping me the whole time. They are showing you how to do all this stuff. I've never done it before, so sailing has been real fun."

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