Each spring, the College of Charleston’s Sailing Program partners with the Warrior Sailing Program to stage an advanced racing clinic for injured veterans and active service personnel from the military. That clinic, which runs from Tuesday, March 7 through Thursday, March 9, has attracted 16 participants from across the U.S.
These sailors are honing their competitive skills under the tutelage of several coaches, including a member of the College’s Varsity Sailing Team.
“We’re really pleased to have sophomore Annabel Carrington among our coaches this time around,” says Ben Poucher ’05, who directs the Warrior Sailing Program. “Getting college sailors to teach the warriors is a valuable aspect of our initiative with this program. We are dedicated to introducing warriors to the sport of sailing and having young energetic sailors on board gives our program an even more powerful impact on the participants.”
Greg Fisher, the director of the College’s sailing program is equally enthusiastic about this partnership.
“There’s nothing that could excite us more than the opportunity to support these veterans,” he says. “They’ve each given so much and made it possible for us to have the freedom to focus on a top-notch sailing program. So, we want to give back any way that we can.”
Fisher added that the College’s fleet of J/22 sailboats offer the perfect platform for this clinic.
“Due to the generous support we’ve gotten from the local community, we now have adaptive seats for our boats that make it possible for sailors with physical challenges to use the boats safely.”
This is the third year in a row that the Warrior Sailing Program has staged its advanced racing clinic at the College’s sailing center. Last year, the College also assisted the Warrior Sailing Team (an outgrowth of the program) in preparing for the J/22 World Championships.
“Those guys performed really well at that event,” says Fisher. “We played a small part in their success by providing some coaching and the use of our boats beforehand, but they’re really talented sailors and the fact that they did so well at the worlds doesn’t surprise any of us.”
Among the veterans participating in this clinic is an employee from the College’s sailing center, Josh Agritino.
“Josh was a participant in the clinic last year,” explained Fisher, and then he decided that he’d like to work for our program. “That simply underscores the strong connection that exists between our sailing center and the Warrior Sailing Program. It means a lot to us to be able to offer this opportunity to these veterans, and we hope that in the future, we can do more.”