Toe in the Water is a tri-service initiative which uses competitive sailing to re-inspire injured service personnel to see beyond their injuries, and perform to their limits regardless of their physical condition. Racing with and against able-bodied crew members, they quickly form part of a team and recognise the immediate challenge of competing in such a fast-paced environment as one unit. This requires a chain of command, defined roles, uniform, discipline, reliability and competitiveness – which of course emulates the regime that has been drilled into them as soldiers, sailors and airmen. This commonality if familiar, structured – and works. The uniqueness of TITW is that it is based on clinical referral of patients who are identified by the rehabilitation team. Each year, up to 70 personnel are referred to the TITW programme, most of whom have never been on a boat before, let alone competed in some of the UK’s most challenging regattas against highly experienced and often professional crews. From the outset, TITW has been fortunate to receive some incredible support, from both the military and sailing communities. This has culminated in the hugely generous donation of a 52-foot high performance race yacht by Tony Hayward, Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray.
“The incredibly generous gift of a Farr 52 has enabled service men and women recovering from serious injuries to participate in some really challenging racing over the past year. It allows them to push themselves to their individual limits and forces them to work together as a team. Their response is terrific and I know they are humbled by the opportunity it has given them. As a yachtsman myself, I am delighted to support this wonderful charity.” Visit the TITW website: