hard core

Four years ago, I bought a Moore 24 and was fortunate enough to line up sponsorship from a wounded veteran’s non-profit organization, Quantum Sails and others. After 14 days and 12 hours, I arrived in Kauai with a come from behind class win. Myself a combat-wounded and now disabled veteran of the Iraq war whose life was likely saved by the discovery of sailing, the satisfaction, life fulfillment and inspiration that I gained from that experience was truly life altering. Inspired by a Vietnam vet and sailor who told me to “pay it forward” instead of saying thank you, I wanted to use the sponsorship and exposure of that race to benefit a higher purpose. I wanted to share the life-changing and life-saving gifts that sailing had given me with other wounded veterans. in 2012 and ’13, my close friend Walter – himself a veteran and sailor – and I teamed up to host a series of four wounded-veteran sailing clinics in San Francisco.

Raising almost all of the money (about 42 grand) via yacht club speaking gigs in the SF Bay Area, the program was able to work with 30 veterans and truly impact some lives. Sadly, the program fizzled out immediately after I decided to sail my engineless Cal 2-27 MONGO to New Zealand for the better part of a year. In a nation where 22 vets a day lose their own silent wars, the satisfaction of helping out one of these guys or gals through sailing was simply too compelling for me to stay away from.
Enter CORE. The Coastal and Offshore Recalibration Experience is a new wounded veteran’s non-profit that strives to help reduce the rate of suicide amongst our nation’s veterans by introducing wounded vets to sailing and other coastal and water-based therapeutic activities. With activities ranging from keelboat and adaptive dinghy sailing to surfing, paddle sports, yoga, art, nature experiences, music, and more we aim to promote a continual and holistic healing process. In five weeks, we’ll be having our first wounded-vet’s sailing clinic in San Francisco where 8 more veterans will come into town for a week of of healing through sailing and other activities.
In September, we plan to bring CORE to my new home of Hawaii, and then hold another clinic in San Francisco in October. Long-term goals include branching out to help more veterans in more places, create jobs for a few veterans and form and inshore and offshore racing program. Utilizing small one-designs and a donated TP52 or similar, CORE plans to campaign west coast regattas and offshore classics such as Pacific Cup, Transpac and Sydney- Hobart with an all wounded veteran’s crew. America’s Cup and Olympic veteran sailor Hartwell Jordan has joined the team as a director and I am very much look forward to benefitting and learning from his sailing experience, resource connections and management skills
Can we achieve our goals? I don’t know, but over the years i’ve learned that the SA community can make some pretty amazing things happen and a few very generous boat owners have gotten us off to a nice start with about $15,000 already coming in, so here goes… So please, watch our 4-minute promotional video, check out the site, like us on Facebook and hit us up over email. If you like what you see and want to help out, please consider donating and buy a vet dinner, a hotel room for a night, an entire clinic (about $13k) or whatever you can afford. We have zero paid employees and will have pretty low operating costs; almost all of the money goes directly towards helping vets. Are you, or do you know a veteran that may like to attend? Please, hit up the site and fill out an application. We are actively accepting applications for these first three clinics and for our future planned offshore racing team. Please help us get the word out and build momentum for this new program.
Ronnie Simpson
USMC Lcpl retired
CORE co-founder
Website: http://www.coreveterans.org/#home
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coreveterans
Email: [email protected]