What is it about sailing that allows people from so many different backgrounds to benefit in such fundamental ways just by getting on a boat and pulling a piece of fabric up? Is the noise of the wind and the sea channeled straight to your brain? Do the motion of waves somehow repairs neurons? Whatever it is, and despite the world’s perception of sailing as something for old Thurston and his billionaire pals to enjoy, there seem to be new programs popping up – and really helping people of all walks every single day.
Now’s as good as any to give thanks and praise to the Ellen Macarthur Sailing Trust, which for nearly 15 years has been bringing sunshine, breeze, and the motion of the ocean to teenage cancer patients and cancer survivors all over Britain.
More than 125 young people recovering from cancer just completed a round-Britain sailing challenge run by Dame Ellen, with new sailors aged 10 to 30 visiting 58 towns and cities in the UK over 17 relay legs. Cool stuff and read more about that one here.
If there’s one thing that destroys even more lives and families than cancer, it’s drug addiction, and deaths from overdoses are rising in the USA at a rate never seen before – an incredible 65,000 people will die this year in America alone! An Irish rehab community is incorporating sailing into their addiction recovery program with the help of Cork-based Sailing Into Wellness, and the success they’re having with addiction patients is so promising that other pilot programs around Ireland and the UK are launching soon.
With most of the death increase coming from Ohio, Maryland, Florida, and Maine, maybe it’s time to ask the water for its help?