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Sailing non-profit benefits military veterans

San Francisco-area veterans are finding healing benefits from free sailing excursions designed to help them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Transformational Sailing is a non-profit created to help people suffering from illness find peace on the water, and it is extending that focus to veterans.

“This was my first time out in public in two years, and you know, I really didn’t think I needed something like this,” Navy veteran Rob Geidl said in a statement. “But it was a crystal of thought that I can hold onto. It soothed me as I am going through treatment. It gave me hope that I can be involved in something as peaceful as sailing.”

“We’ve met vets who have gone from feeling withdrawn to feeling calm and enjoying themselves in a relaxed group setting aboard our boats,” Transformational Sailing founder and director Tim Blair said in a statement.

A longtime sailor, Blair grew up with the Sea Scouts and knows about sharing the experience. He’s sailed on the Bay for the past 30 years and is out most Sundays with eight or 10 guests — mostly vets and their families.

The program is raising funds to help maintain its primary boat, a classic 42-foot Sparkman & Stephens-designed fiberglass sloop. The boat is on loan to the program by Blair and he has plans to get at least two boats out there every weekend.

The Transformational Sailing Program serves people who are recovering their health and well-being, including those challenged with PTSD, cancer or other health crises and often lose out on the simple pleasures of life. Their mission is to offer these people a regenerative experience of joy and camaraderie in the natural healing environment of wind, sea and sky.

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