SAN DIEGO — A team of military veterans are setting out to sea to compete in the largest ocean sailing race in the world.
The Skeleton Crew team says their mission is about a lot more than sailing. These veterans aren’t just sailing to compete, but to conquer their own battles with Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
They are about to set sail for the 2023 Ocean Globe Race, but still have a lot of hurdles to overcome just to get to the starting line.
The Skeleton Crew may be seen like the underdogs in the 2023 Ocean Globe race, as the smallest and self-funded boat crew. That won’t stop these veterans from sailing ahead.
“This is a huge a moment,” Skeleton Crew Medic and Deckhand Sam Radoff said. “And we’re representing America and we’re representing veterans and raising awareness.”
The race will bring them around the world to navigate treacherous waters from England to South Africa to Australia to New Zealand and back without any technology.
“We just rely on the maps and the stars and navigation and trial and error,” Radoff said.
The Skeleton Crew is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans heal at sea.
“You’re out there on a sailboat where the entire sailboat is moving by the power of nature, from the winds to the energy that’s in the ocean, and you get to tune back into that. I find that resonance to be really healing,” Skeleton Crew Watch Captain Colm Walker said.
Walker knows the wounds of war all too well serving in the Army in Afghanistan.
“Once you exit the service, there’s a little bit of the question of who are you? And as you kind of struggle what your new identity is going to be and who you’re going to be,” Walker said.
That’s a similar feeling for retired Navy Rescue Swimmer Sam Radoff.
“Get out you feel alone, you feel alone. You feel lost. You feel troubled,” Radoff said. “You can save a bunch of people’s lives, but the ones you don’t save will haunt you.”
But through the power of the ocean, these veterans are finding their way.
“Doing that helps people feel a sense of freedom and relief from the troubles and the heartaches that they have in everyday life,” Radoff said.
“So it shows you can find purpose in different ways, besides the uniform,” Walker said.
But the veterans of Skeleton Crew say they need your help. They are still raising $50,000 to get to the starting line. They set for sail from Galveston Texas this weekend.