CHANNEL ISLANDS — On a sunny Southern California day, more than 80 disabled veterans from all over the southland were treated to a ride off the coast of Channel Islands Harbor on one of 40 boats.
“Including family and friends, we had about 175 people get a boat ride, many going all the way out to Arch Rock at Anacapa Island,” said Bill Brayton, event creator and chair of Channel Islands Yacht Club.
This is the third year that Brayton along with a slew of volunteers from Channel Islands YC and sponsors put together the salute to disabled vets as a thank you for their service.
“The first year, we had about 20 vets,” Brayton said. “Word of mouth has taken this event to a whole new level. I reached out to the other clubs in the area to add to the number of boats, so that we could give everyone that came a ride.”
Sail and powerboats from four yacht clubs—Ventura, Pacific Corinthian, Anacapa and Channel Islands—helped make the popular event a reality.
One boat, the 46 foot motoryacht, Nella, owned by Kim and Dale Morris of Ventura Harbor Boat Yard had three generations of vets aboard.
All attendees were treated to breakfast before the boating event, and then a gourmet lunch prepared by seven chefs from the Ventura Chef’s Association. Cal Vet brought in two busloads of vets and their families; Wounded Warriors donated drinks. Many other sponsors provided support as well.
The day saw more than 250 people, including volunteers, in attendance. Looking toward next year’s event, Brayton plans to make the sail a joint yacht club sponsored event and move shore side activities to the grassy area near Channel Islands YC, to make it more accessible and handle a larger crowd.
“I am so thankful to the volunteers who helped us get everyone out on the water,” he said. “We had vets from four wars — World War II, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea It’s all about the amazing stories these people tell.”