U.S. Patriot Sailing: Creating Community for Veterans and Their Families

US Patriots
US Patriots

By David Walters Yachts

Nov 11, 2022


This Veterans Day, we're proud to highlight an organization that we, as a veteran-owned company, have immense respect for: U.S. Patriot Sailing. Founded in 2012, the 100% volunteer-run nonprofit has tenaciously pursued its objective of connecting veterans to each other through the sport of sailing, creating supportive communities in which vets take part in racing, training, rest and relaxation initiatives, and more. U.S. Patriot Sailing's determined and successful approach has a life-changing impact on the veteran communities they serve, funded solely by grants and donated vessels. Read on to learn more about how they're accomplishing their mission and how you can be a part of it.

U.S. Patriot Sailing Puts Veterans at the Helm
Since receiving its 501(c)3 status in 2013, the U.S. Patriot Sailing organization has welcomed veterans to the sport of sailing nationally. Entirely operated by volunteers, the programs they facilitate are building a new generation of competitive sailors—in some cases revitalizing the sailing population in areas where the sport has been on the decline. While much of the organization's programming puts veterans on the water in competitive racing teams, they also offer some ASA Certifications, Safety at Sea courses, instructor qualifications, and R&R opportunities. As veterans become skippers, many invite more vets to join them, creating and strengthening supportive veteran communities wherever they dock. Sailing is uniquely suited as a sport where previously deployed veterans can participate regardless of age and ability and reintroduce them into a team environment of healthy stress.

Boots to Boats
A sailboat race is a rollercoaster of activity. In an instant, you can go from the monotony of standing watch to light-your-hair-on-fire excitement and danger—a dramatic swing that combat veterans will find familiar, but in the soul-filling environment of a team on the water. Whether a vet's service ended suddenly with injury or through planned retirement, the transition to civilian life can be rough as they go from working with a tight-knit team day in and day out to lacking support in the civilian world. U.S. Patriot Sailing helps vets navigate that transition by providing boat access and putting a team with individuals with similar military service backgrounds. The impact of this work has been profound. Currently, U.S. Patriot Sailing operates team-based activities in San Diego, Annapolis, Solomons Island, and Seattle, but the ripple effects range far and wide. U.S. Patriot Sailing regularly registers for or places vets on performance team crews in races around the world, and vets represent the organization in high-profile competitions. This past July, U.S. Patriot Sailing took nine disabled veterans and active duty service members to Ireland to compete in the Beaufort Cup in Cork Race Week, bringing home third place. They plan to return in 2024 with three crews. Ronnie Simpson, a combat-wounded Iraq war veteran, and medically retired US Marine, will be sailing the inaugural Global Solo Challenge in 2023-24, representing U.S. Patriot Sailing. Also, in 2023, Peter Gibbons-Neff, Jr. will race the Mini Transat from France to Guadeloupe to raise awareness for the organization. Learn more about both of these incredible sailors and how to support them here: https://ronniesimpsonracing.com/ronnie-simpson-2/ https://www.pgnoceanracing.com/

Cruising for Smoother Transitions
U.S. Patriot Sailing has an exciting new program on the horizon: family reintegration cruising programs for redeploying service members. With divorce rates over 80% in some communities, there is a clear need for more robust support for redeploying service members and their families post-deployment. In any deployment, the disruption to household patterns when a family member returns after a prolonged absence can create strain. In this proposed program, U.S. Patriot Sailing would take these families on three-day sailing cruises, crewed entirely by veteran skippers familiar with their passengers' challenges. Removed from the everyday stressors of work, school, bills, food prep, and electronic distractions, these cruises would help families learn a new skill if they choose, relax together, and reconnect while surrounded by an understanding crew. To launch this new service, U.S. Patriot Sailing is seeking donated cruising vessels to be put into direct operational service for three years before being sold to support their ongoing programs.

Get Involved
As a veteran-owned company of avid sailors who know firsthand the benefits of the sailboat racing environment and who are passionate about sharing the boating lifestyle with our clients and communities, David Walters Yachts is proud to support U.S. Patriot Sailing in its mission to make this incredible sport accessible to our service members and their families and connect them to the healing power of sailing. For those who wish to be involved in this life-changing organization, there are many ways to join their mission:
- Host the team at your club
- Donate your time and expertise at regattas and other events
- Provide racing team lodging, meals, dockage, facilities access, etc.
- Volunteer administrative support
- Donate funds https://www.uspatriotsailing.org/Donate/Sponsor 
- Donate a boat*
- Sponsor a sailor or a team
- and more: https://www.uspatriotsailing.org/Get-Involved 

*U.S. Patriot Sailing does not accept yacht donations for the direct purpose of fundraising. Racing yachts accepted will be maintained and operated for at least three years in direct support of the mission.
Be a Part of U.S. Patriot Sailing's Future
When you're ready to seek your next bluewater adventure, David Walters Yachts can help you find the right vessel to take you there. And when it's time to say goodbye to a beloved boat, we hope you'll consider donating to U.S. Patriot Sailing and allowing more veterans to find peace in their next adventure through the sport of sailing. Contact contact@uspatriotsailing.org to learn more about the opportunity to help them launch family reintegration cruises or other ways to be a part of their mission.
And to our veterans, we thank you for your service on this Veterans Day and every day. See you at the dock.