September 14, 2022
By Kari MacKay & Dave Scott
All Photos Sharon Green, Ultimate Sailing
Last week in conjunction with the Canada’s Cup, Toronto’s Royal Canadian Yacht Club welcomed competitors, family, and supporters from around the World for the inaugural Warrior Sailing Cup, which hosted six teams from the Netherlands, Australia, USA (2 teams), and Canada (2 teams). The event involved one day of practice, two days of racing in Sonars and a day of spectating the last two races of the Canada’s Cup. The event gave all 18 veterans who participated an opportunity for great competition and front row seat to the IC37s.
This four-day event began with a crash course in sailing for some of the ill and injured veterans (in 18-20 knots of breeze), followed by two days of racing in Toronto Harbour (in less breeze), and culminated in a spectating party out to watch the final day of the historic Canada’s Cup.
The Sonars equipped with adaptive stainless crossbars
Teams of three Warrior veterans were paired with a coach aboard RCYC’s club fleet of Sonars equipped with adaptive stainless crossbars. Each race was approximately 20-25 minutes long and saw many mark roundings two to three boats deep. Although there was one runaway USA winner, the other five teams were separated by only 6 points after 6 races, demonstrative of the extremely tight racing.
More importantly, if there was ever an event where truly “everyone is a winner”, this was it. Warm smiles, support and excitement buzzed on and off the boats and around the Club. Some were first-time sailors; for some, this was their first sailing event since injury, and for others, it was their time leaving home since injury – and the sailing community welcomed them with open arms. The final day on an RCYC member’s 52’ catamaran showed the friendships and bonds of family that had been formed among competitors, coaches and volunteers of the Warrior Sailing Cup.
RCYC is the home of Warrior Sailing Canada. Started in the United States, Warrior Sailing is a program that uses sailing as a platform to positively impact participants’ physical and mental health, while reconnecting them with the camaraderie and teamwork found in military service. This first-ever international Warrior Sailing competition was the collaborative work of Warrior Sailing Canada, RCYC and True Patriot Love, and sponsored by Ultra and the Invictus Games Foundation.
The Warrior Sailing Cup is anticipated to be an annual event, moving to the United States in 2023. In the interim, look into ways you can get ill and injured veterans out sailing – follow: @Warrior_Sailing_Canada, @WarriorSailing, @SaltWaterVeterans.
Left: The Australian Team / Right: A USA team triumphed but everyone won!