#071: Sailahead: Healing Wounded Veterans Through Sailing

There’s solace in being on the water. met. Sailahead is a Veteran Service Organization that’s changing lives. For this episode Fran Racioppi traveled to Centerport Yacht Club for Sailahead’s annual event of over 150 people, almost 40 boats and Veterans spanning every conflict from WWII to today. 

Fran sat down with Kilian, Sean and Jenny Duclay who started Sailahead to bring Veterans the healing power of the water, bring awareness to PTS and Veteran Suicide, and to honor our mates.

He also shared a moment with the The Day Family, who’s son Ryan served as an Army Ranger, deployed multiple times to Afghanistan, and died by suicide as he struggled with the emotional toll endless conflict takes on us. 

Finally, Fran talked the oath we have to each other with a group of Army Rangers who never sailed before joining Sailahead.

It’s time to stop Veteran suicide. It’s time to accept and acknowledge that it's ok to not be ok. 

Learn more about Sailahead at sailahead.org and on social media @sailahead. 

Read the full episode transcription here and learn more on The Jedburgh Podcast Website. Check out our video versions on YouTube.


-Sailahead was started by 16 year-old Kilian and 14 year-old Sean after taking a Vietnam veteran sailing in the winter. (5:30)

-Sailahead operates under three pillars: using the ocean as a healing power, raising awareness for Veterans’ Mental Health, and to honoring Our Mates. (8:30)

-Sailing provides Veterans an outlet to build and work on a team, learn new skills, and regain some of the competitive atmosphere lost when they leave service. (29:30)  

-Fran and Jim, Linda & Justin Day share their memories of Ryan, his legacy and why Veterans struggle with being able to turn off. (31:23)

-Jim shares the importance of the phrase “we live with it” and how we must accept what has happened to be able to move forward. (40:26)

-Linda explains how the concept of “it’s ok to not be ok” allows for respect and perspective in finding and accepting help. (42:25)

-Fran sits down with Ron, James and Mike; three former Army Rangers, to discuss the importance of community both in the military and post-service. (50:46)


-”For 20 years he’d been going to therapy to treat his PTSD and that was the best therapy that he’d ever had.” (7:06)

-”If 22 lives are lost a day, there’s not just 22 people who are suffering.” (10:36)

-”An immediate goal is spreading that awareness and making sure people understand that they are not alone.” (25:35) 

-”We don’t just want to take someone for a boat ride. We want them to gain a new perspective on life.” (28:15) 

-”To see this happen because of some part of his being, not being satisfied, and not be able to turn off the energy that was put into him by the military is a travesty,” (34:00)

-”This never ends…as time goes on what you have to do is learn to live with it. There Is no other choice.” (40:35)

-”It’s easy to fall into the pit of emotion that comes with loss. It’s what you do with it after it happens.” (41:30)

-”It’s ok not to be ok…but it’s not ok to keep it to yourself.” (1:05:32) 

This episode is brought to you by Jersey Mike’s, 18A Fitness, and Analytix Solutions