Sail To Prevail participants
•  News & Announcements
•  Videos
•  Video Archive
•  Photos
•  Quotes & Testimonies
•  Comments
•  Support

News & Announcements

Harvard Sailing and Sail
Harvard University Announces Partnership between Harvard Varsity Sailing Team and Sail To Prevail  

After a three-year pilot program, Harvard University announced on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, a formal partnership with Sail To Prevail - The National Disabled Sailing Program. The Harvard Varsity Sailing Team members, in conjunction with the Sail To Prevail certified sailing instructors, teach disabled children and adults sailing skills and associated universal life-skills, including leadership, teamwork and self-confidence. Harvard Coach, Michael O'Connor, has engineered a system whereby the disabled program operates along side the regular Varsity practices, so as to obtain maximum outcomes for both the Harvard Sailors and disabled participants alike. The disabled participants are residents of the metropolitan Boston area, including the Cambridge, Brighton and Allston communities. The program takes place on the Charles River at the Harvard Sailing Center at 45 Memorial Drive, in Cambridge, MA.  

Click here
for the video and full story at Go Crimson:

June 22, 2015

Wounded Warriors WIN FIRST PRIZE in Sail To Prevail Belle Haven Challenge Cup

Greenwich, CT – June 22, 2015 – On Sunday, June 21, disabled Armed Forces veterans from Connecticut and New York served as active crewmembers on two of four vintage America’s Cup 12-meter yachts sailing on Long Island Sound. The memorable day of healing and camaraderie for the 12 veterans fulfilled the mission of Sail To Prevail, which for the third consecutive year had a veterans’ team sponsored by Bank of America. Read More

June 20, 2015

He Prevailed Where Others Failed

By James A. Johnson - Staff writer

PORTSMOUTH When Tyler Fleig of Portsmouth was trying to choose a senior project last summer, he sought advice from Paul Callahan, his boss at Sail to Prevail in Newport.

Fleig has been an instructor for the past two years with the organization, which creates opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to overcome adversity through therapeutic sailing. For two years before that, he was a volunteer for the organization.

Fleig told Callahan that he wanted to combine his work at Sail to Prevail with his experience in robotics that goes back to his years at Portsmouth
Middle School. As an example of his robotics skills, he was one of six New Englanders who qualified as a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Dean’s List World Finalist. His team won the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

Callahan said that Fleig asked him for the most difficult challenge he could think of for his senior project. Callahan suggested adapting a 2.4 meter sailboat for use by quadriplegics.

“People around the world have been trying to crack that for a decade,” Callahan told Fleig. “That will keep you busy over the winter.”

Callahan, a quadriplegic himself who competed in the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, is the chief executive officer of Sail to Prevail, formerly
known as Shake-A-Leg. Paraplegics are able to sail the 2.4 meter, but not quadriplegics. “The way it is rigged and set up, it would be impossible for a quadriplegic to sail it,” Fleig said Wednesday in an interview at Portsmouth High School, where he graduated with honors on June 5. “They
don’t have the range of motion or strength to sail it in its current setup.”

Using his knowledge of robotics, Fleig set out to create electronic and mechanical systems that would allow quadriplegics to have control over the 2.4 meter boat and sail it at a Paralympics level. That included developing power-assisted sail controls so that the sailor can bring the sails in or out by pushing a button.

Fleig said he logged about 45 hours on the project, including about 20 hours with his mentor. He spent about $1,500 on the project, most of that coming from a major robotics company that requested not to be identified publicly.

Fleig took the 2.4 meter with his controls for a test sail two weeks ago.

“It went really well,” Fleig said of the trial. “There are some minor changes I need to make. Right now, the project is in the prototype phase. It’s not to the point where it would be commercially available.”

“This is quite a breakthrough,” Callahan said of what Fleig accomplished. “He basically revolutionized this one-person boat so that hundreds
and even thousands of challenged people around the country and the world will benefit.”

Although he promises to complete the project, Fleig has little time left before his next endeavor. He must report to the U.S. Naval Academy in
Annapolis, Md., for induction day on July 1. Fleig plans to study computer engineering at Annapolis, a choice inspired by his work with robotics.

Callahan said the project is at least two-thirds complete. The tasks that remain, he said, are not nearly as difficult as those Fleig already mastered. Read More

February 1, 2015

Sailing Eliminated from 2020 Paralympic Games

This past weekend, the International Paralympic Committee voted to ELIMINATE SAILING from the 2020 Paralympic Games. Because Sail To Prevail creates opportunities on multiple levels for all people with disabilities, we unequivocally support all Paralympic sailors and all others who assist in this sport.  
Read our reaction on Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Read more on Sail To Prevail's Facebook page
Read more on Scuttlebutt Sailing News  

Veterans Program 2014 Dave Hansen | Newport Daily News Staff photos

Opening Doors on the Water

By Joe Baker | The Newport Daily News, July 24, 2014

NEWPORT — Mike Guilbault looked comfortable as he sat in the green kayak, preparing to head out into Newport Harbor on Wednesday afternoon. He joked with his friends about the adventure.

“This is my first ocean kayaking experience,” he said with a laugh.

Once he hit the water and began paddling, it was impossible to tell that the Attleboro, Mass., resident has no use of his legs. Guilbault served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1981. He lost the use of his legs in a car accident after his military service.

Guilbault was one of 58 veterans with disabilities from all over New England who took part in a two-day adaptive sports program sponsored by the Veterans Administration New England Health Care System. The vets split their time between Newport, where they took part in sailing and kayaking, and Coventry, where they did some cycling and water skiing. The Newport-based Sail to Prevail hosted the sailing-kayaking part of the event.

The VA has been running an adaptive sports program for veterans with disabilities for 18 years, according to Christine Crotteau, deputy network director for the VA New England Health Care System. But this is the first year it has brought the program to Newport. The connection to Sail to Prevail was natural, since its goal also is ensure that people with disabilities understand they can take part in things like sailing and kayaking.

“We are trying to rejuvenate the leadership and teamwork skills they learned in (military service) through sailing,” said Sail to Prevail CEO Paul Callahan. “Sailing is one of the most effective ways of teaching people to overcome adversity.”

Callahan should know. He has used a wheelchair since he broke his neck at age 21. He was working at Goldman Sachs in New York in 1996 when the company asked him to take part in a fundraiser for Sail to Prevail, which was organized in 1983. Callahan came to Newport to check out the program, went sailing for the first time in his life and not only helped with the fundraiser but also got involved in the program itself.

Sailing is effective because you have to battle the always-unexpected variables nature can throw at you, there is a lot of equipment that needs to be operated and coordination between the other three members of the crew is crucial, Callahan said. Honing those skills will translate into improving the quality of life for those with disabilities, he said.

Ralph Marche, director of volunteer and recreational services for VA New England, agreed that the program is about more than just a day of entertainment.

“This is a restorative program,” Marche said. “Going through (physical thearapy) is not a lot of fun. But if I put you out in a kayak ... you’re going to have the exercise and some fun. We are trying to impact lifestyles.”

Family members of the veterans are invited to take part in the program, Marche said, because after it’s over they will continue to be involved as caregivers for the vets.
“This reconnects the vets with their families and those are the perfect things to get you back into life,” Marche said.

The Sail to Prevail program has become a national model, Callahan said. People running similar programs from other parts of the country have come here to learn how it became so successful — the program reaches more than 1,000 people with disabilities a year, he said. It has a Paralympic sports club and every Wednesday night in the summer hosts competitive sailing for mariners with disabilities.

There is a mental aspect to the program beyond the obvious physical component, Callahan said. Proving to a veteran that he or she can do things like sailing and kayaking despite disabilities opens one door, but the hope is that it opens into a corridor containing many more doors that the vets could then step through.

“We want them to say, “I can do that and if I can do that, I can do other things,’” Callahan said. “Why can’t everybody have a chance?”

June 26, 2014

Veterans of America Sail To Prevail  

Sail To Prevail – The National Disabled Sailing Program hosted its sixth Annual New England Paralyzed Veterans of America Sailing Clinic on the weekend of June 21-22. Fourteen participants enjoyed an extraordinary weekend of instruction, competition and recreational sailing aboard Sail To Prevail’s handicap-accessible sailboats.  

“We feel privileged to be in our sixth year of honoring disabled Veterans who have served our country with dignity,” said Sail To Prevail CEO Paul Callahan.  “It is always a privilege to host such an honorable group of people.”  

The sailing days were complemented with much camaraderie at the annual Saturday night banquet where Veterans shared their experiences from not only the weekend but also their days of service.  

Paralyzed Veteran participant, Bob Mazzarella, remarked, “Your dock…gives us a window onto a world which we would otherwise never see…. It took me back to a very long time ago and the excitement and promise of shining youth.”  

Sail To Prevail will host another National Disabled Veterans Clinic during the week of July 21-25. For more information, contact Paul Callahan,  

Sail To Prevail creates opportunities for disabled children and adults to overcome adversity through therapeutic sailing. Over a 30-year history, the non-profit organization has served more than 15,000 disabled individuals. For more information, visit

Veterans of America sail with Sail To Prevail

CEO Paul Callahan with Jim Clark

Jim Clark and Paul Callahan

April 3, 2013

Jim Clark and Sail To Prevail

Jim Clark, the founder of Netscape, donated $800,000 to Sail To Prevail, The National Disabled Sailing Program in Newport, RI. Clark, a keen and focused philanthropist, announced the largest gift in the history of Sail To Prevail after captaining his J-boat Hanuman, to a dominant victory with four unprecedented first-place finishes in four races this past weekend at the St. Barth’s Bucket Regatta.

Clark has publicly committed to “donate to an ocean-based charity an amount equal to the amount I had spent racing.” Further, Clark publicly challenged his competitors at the Awards Ceremony by saying, “All of us with multi-million dollar boats should try to do something to give back to the ocean and provide opportunities for others.”

Sail To Prevail CEO and two-time Paralympian, Paul Callahan, gratefully remarked, “This extraordinarily generous gift from Jim is a key component in our strategy to seed the funding for our endowment to ensure the success of our cutting-edge programs for as long as there are people with disabilities.”

Sail To Prevail, The National Disabled Sailing Program, creates opportunities for children, adults and Veterans with disabilities to overcome adversity in their daily lives through therapeutic sailing. The organization has served more than 15,000 disabled participants in its three decades of operation. For more information, browse this website or contact Paul Callahan at

Eight Bells - Charlie Leighton

We regret the passing of Charlie Leighton, our Chairman of the Board of Advisors – a truly remarkable person. Charlie's passion, to enable all people to enjoy sailing as much as he did, will live forever.

Please see Charlie's most recent personal initiative, Bi-Annual Campaign.

According to Charlie's family's wishes, in lieu of flowers, you may make a contribution in his memory by clicking the "Donate" button (top right). Once in PayPal, you can add a note to your donation after you click on the "Review" button. Look for the box labeled "Add special instructions to the seller."

Yachtsman of the Year - Paul Callahan

CEO Paul Callahan receives "Yachtsman of the Year 2012" award at New York Yacht Club

CEO Paul Callahan is named "2012 YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR" by The New York Yacht Club. One of the most prestigious awards in sailing is presented by Commodore Robert C. Towse, Jr. Paul's hope is that it inspires many of the Sail To Prevail participants to overcome any adversity with creating the opportunity and matching the corresponding desire.

CEO Paul Callahan competes for the Paralympic Gold in London
– August 2012

Paul Callahan's blog

August 23, 2012 - RI article - (PDF)

August 23, 2012 - CNN article by Sheena McKenzie - (PDF)

August 20, 2012 - Providence Journal (PDF)

August 18, 2012 - Palm Beach Daily News - (PDF)

August 18, 2012 - AP in the Newport Daily News and nationwide - (PDF)

August 17, 2012 - NBC Nonstop, TV interview/video link, Friday evening

August 17, 2012 - Boston Globe article in Q & A style - (PDF)

August 15, 2012 - NECN TV interview VIDEO link

August 15, 2012 - Newport Daily News - For Sailors, Disabilities No Barrier (PDF)

August 14, 2012 - Newport Daily News - Still Sailing, Still Prevailing (PDF)

August 12, 2012 - Boston Globe and elsewhere nationwide including The Boston Herald, Sacramento Bee, ABC6 News, Miami Herald, WCHS (Portland, ME), Fox 29 (West Palm Beach), Idaho Press Tribune - (PDF)

August 5, 2012 - CNN article

August 3, 2012_ Falmouth Enterprise article

August 2012 - Southwinds article by Richard Shrubb (PDF)

August 2012 - Nantucket Today - Sail to Prevail. Sail to Win (PDF)

July 2012 - Newport Life - Sail to Prevail Feature Article (PDF)

Earlier Posts (or Older News)

February 2011 - St. Petersburg, Florida: Sail to Prevail Paralympic Regatta


July 2010 - Inquirer & Mirror: Sail To Prevail Encourages Disabled to Live Their Lives

July 2010 - Nantucket Magazine: Sail To Prevail: Gaining Confidence At Sea

November 2008 - SHAKE-A-LEG Newport Announces Breakthrough Advancement for Sailing Newport, R.I., USA

Spring 2008 - SHAKE-A-LEG and JOURNEY FORWARD to Collaborate on Disabled Programs

April 2007 - SHAKE-A-LEG's Expanded Program Highlights 25th Summer of Service

April 2007 - SHAKE-A-LEG Expands its Confidence Is Cool Summer Camp Program to Include Teens

July 2007 - Corporations Support SHAKE-A-LEG - Wall Street Corporate Challenge Cup