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Sailing Heals returns to Camden Yacht Club

By Susan Mustapich | Jul 24, 2019
Photo by: John Williams Patients living with cancer and their caregivers join Sailing Heals and Camden Yacht Club boat owners, captains and volunteers for a memorable July afternoon of sailing on Penobscot Bay.

CAMDEN — Sailing Heals, a national group that works with yacht clubs to offer sailing experiences for patients living with cancer and their caregivers, returned to Camden for its second year.

Last August was the first time the Camden Yacht Club hosted Sailing Heals. Before the event ended yacht club members were inviting the organization's executive director, Trisha Boisvert, to return in 2019.

This July, the CYC and Sailing Heals hosted 28 patient and caregiver guests from Maine, according to Boisvert. She said she is happy Sailing Heals was invited back by the CYC. She thanked all of the captains "for the wonderful event," and "the CYC volunteers, under the direction of Johanna Stinson, who were especially helpful."

Before the sail, the group enjoyed a lunch of lobster rolls, chowder, salmon, shrimp and chicken salads, and hamburgers from Mike's Catering at the yacht club overlooking Camden Harbor. All lunch expenses were covered through donations to Sailing Heals.

The CYC was able to host a larger group this year, with seven boat owners and captains welcoming participants for an afternoon cruise on Penobscot Bay.

Richard Anderson, CYC Commodore expressed pride in the efforts of Camden Yacht Club members Stinson and Rockport resident George Haselton for their efforts to engage the club in another community service, and thanked the boat captains Chris Biggart, Dale Dougherty, Robin Lloyd, Caroline Morong, Charles Nethersole, Sharyn and John Cookson and Neale Sweet. "I know they are touched by the experience along with the patients," he said.

During the sail, a special tribute of rose petals scattered on the sea was offered by a woman who sailed at the event last year, on behalf of other members of that group of patients who have since passed away.

Afterwards, those who participate are invited to share comments about the experience. Catherine Athay, oncology social worker with Pen Bay Medical Center, wrote that she heard from many of the people being cared for at the hospital's cancer care center, who "thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to have a nice lunch, meaningful conversation and a lovely sailing experience."

Stinson has had a special interest in bringing Sailing Heals to the Camden Yacht Club for the first time in 2018, and again this year. She has a long connection with sailing, racing and cruising in many seas, working for US Sailing, serving as past president of the Maine Yacht Racing Association, and as an instructor. She has lost close family members, her husband and her son, both sailors, to cancer, and many friends who have enjoyed times spent on the water.

This season, Sailing Heals is traveling along the East Coast, visiting yacht clubs in Massachsetts, Rhode Island, New York and Maryland. Health care facilities coordinate with the organization, arranging the participation of patients in treatment for cancer.

"We'll achieve 4,000 patient/caregiver guests hosted this summer," Boisvert said. "We added Scituate Harbor Yacht Club, in Scituate, Mass., to our program last month and we are adding Bristol, R.I., next month."

Sailing Heals offers special sailing events each year. This year, the fifth annual "Pirates & Princesses" sail for children going through a serious health challenge was a big success, Boisvert said.

In August, Sailing Heals will offer its seventh annual Wicked Strong event for Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

For more information about Sailing Heals, visit the website,, or Facebook page, email, or call 978-914-6609.

During the Sailing Heals visit to the Camden Yacht Club July 11, rose petals were scattered on  Penboscot Bay in memory of those who sailed last year and have since passed away. (Courtesy of: John Williams)
Sailing Heals partnered with the Camden Yacht Club July 11 to offer an afternoon of sailing on breezy Penobscot Bay to people living with cancer and their caregivers. (Courtesy of: John Williams)
Mainers living with cancer and caregivers enjoy a carefree sail on Penobscot Bay with Sailing Heals and host Camden Yacht Club July 11. (Courtesy of: John Williams)
Camden Yacht Club volunteers, from left, Trish Carlton, Jan Taft, Becky Johnson, Mike Smith and Lynne Taylor helped make the Sailing Heals event a carefree afternoon for the guest patients and caregivers. (Courtesy of: Camden Yacht Club)
Johanna Stinson, Camden Yacht Club member, has been instrumental in bringing Sailing Heals to the club this year and for the first time in 2018. (Courtesy of: Johanna Stinson)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 24, 2019 14:23

What a wonderful Christian act. Kudos to Johanna Stinson. Any relation to "The Stinson Fish" factory?

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