Soldier On offers ‘Amazing’ sailing course

Volunteers and participants in the Soldier On program set sail on Esquimalt Harbour during a week-long sailing camp at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA) Sept. 20 to 24. Soldier On is a support program which offers sports and recreational activities to serving and retired members with psychological illness or injury.

Volunteers and participants in the Soldier On program set sail on Esquimalt Harbour during a week-long sailing camp at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA) Sept. 20 to 24. Soldier On is a support program which offers sports and recreational activities to serving and retired members with psychological illness or injury. Photos by Nicole Wray/Soldier On

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer
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Five serving and retired military members learned to harness the ocean’s winds and waves by skippering a sailboat as part of a sailing course offered by the Soldier On program.

Participants took to the water from Sept. 20 to 24 in 23-foot Sonar Keelboats as part of a competent crew sailing course. The coursing was taught by three instructors from the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA).

Soldier On is a Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services program that provides support for serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have experienced a physical or psychological illness or injury. Soldier On members across BC are provided with opportunities to try different sport, recreation, and creative activities while connecting with others in their communities.

Participants were offered hands-on instruction on the basics of navigating a sailboat including the steps of docking, anchoring, rigging, operating outboard engines, and hoisting sails.

The in-class component covered on-water safety, navigation, radio communications, ocean regulations, recognizing weather patterns, and how to handle emergency situations and equipment.

To get them into the right mindset, CFSA sailing instructor Marisha Schaefer taught daily sailing-specific yoga and mindfulness sessions. 

The goal of the course was to provide the opportunity for participants to advance from an entry-level sailing skill set with instructor supervision, to sailing confidently in a command position with an instructor alongside for support.

Included in the course was the opportunity to sail as a team in the 36-foot Royal Canadian Navy Sail Training Vessel, “Tuna,” to nearby Cole Island. 

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The course drew rave reviews from participants.

“This course included wonderful, positive staff and coaches that were eager to teach us but also to partake in the activities too,” said S3 Sepehr Nademi.

CPO2 (Retired) Dave Mitchell called his time on the water simply amazing.

“When I was injured, I lost a little mobility and self confidence at moving around a boat, but this course helped me get my pre-injury sailing confidence back. So, I am very happy with this amazing program.”

The CFSA was established in 1946 and operates from its Esquimalt Harbour headquarters located at the foot of Maple Bank Road. The club’s mandate is to provide recreational sailing opportunities for military members, their families, DND employees and veterans. For more information about the CFSA visit www.cfsaesq.ca and for more information about Soldier On and its programs visit https://www.soldieron.ca/

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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