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Sometimes, an idea ends up going way further than anyone had imagined. This is very much the case about the spinnaker we had on auction at Boat Show Denmark back in February.

Back then, we auctioned off the Elvstrøm Sails spinnaker built and used in the Danish travel show “Kurs mod Fjerne Kyster” where the Beha family went for a circumnavigation on their boat, S/Y Havana. The show aired on national television in Denmark over four seasons and became a big hit all over the country.

Afterwards, the spinnaker ended up in our warehouse, and then the idea of an auction came along. An auction where all proceeds would go to support Plastic Change. The winning bid ended up at 19.500 DKK or 2700 euros, and now the winners have decided to support a good cause with the spinnaker once more.
The winners from Tempo Bådsalg and Pantaenius Danmark are now supporting S/Y Veteranen with the spinnaker – a project which coincidentally began when frontman Jesper Larsen watched “Kurs mod Fjerne Kyster”.


Full circle

Veteranen is a sailing project for Danish war veterans. Jesper came back after serving the Danish military in Afghanistan and ended up being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During his rehabilitation, he discovered the show and it inspired him a lot during recovery – to an extent where he became a boat owner despite having never sailed a single mile.

-    The show became a way to endure the biggest crisis I’ve ever been in. My friend Kim introduced me to the show and it helped both of us to find a new meaning of life. Watching the show was totally the opposite of where I was in life back then. I had no goals or visions in life at all, and then they were just a happy group exploring the World in a fantastic way. I have no idea what happened, but it ignited a spark when I needed it the most, Jesper explains.


This is in term also the reason why this donation means just that much extra. The spinnaker is going to fly again for a group of people, who saw it being built.

- So one can say we’ve gone full circle when as we were given the spinnaker. I’m lost for words – it’s crazy how much this idea has evolved since we first got it, Jesper says. He adds:

- Kim is not in the frontline of Veteranen anymore, but I can say that the life on and around the yacht still means the world for everyone involved in it. Even on the darkest and toughest of days we manage to get down here to sail, to build or repair – or simply just to have a chat. And this is the whole secret; We get up and we get smiling even when things are difficult – no matter how close the connection is. Just this year alone we’ve had more than a hundred guests with us, so this boat is in constant use.


Making the difference

Veteranen has covered over 9.000 miles since Jesper bought it six years ago. And this year alone, over 100 guests have been with the crew for anything between a short-day cruise to a longer stint around Denmark. And this is indeed where the cookie crumbles for Jesper, Roland and the rest of the crew. No matter what, the boat unites – and this is why sailing becomes makes such a difference.

-    To us, this is so much more than ‘just’ a boat. Post-traumatic stress disorder means that our energy level varies a lot from day to day. And if you have a bad day, you need something to strive for. So, no matter how bad a day it might be, we still get out here to work on the boat, to sail or maybe just to have a cup of coffee and a cigarette. It does not matter how much we get done – but it means the world that we get out in the first place, and as soon as we are out here, we start smiling anyway.


And the same story is actually very relevant when it comes to the sailing. The veterans agree that sailing has offered them an element they did not know they needed:

- It’s hard to explain what sailing does so right in our world, but I think some of it comes down to creating a structure in something that has no structure at all. You can sail for hours and even days on end without anything happening – but when something happens, you must be alert. This is exactly what happens when you are out on guard duty in a war. It goes on for hours without nothing to report – but when something eventually happens, you’d better be on high alert.


The dream

For Jesper Larsen and the crew, Veteranen has big goals lying ahead in the future. The crew has mainly been sailing around Denmark and the Nordics, but further afield is a dream, which Jesper hopes to fulfill someday – sailing to the United States.

-    When the idea for Veteranen was born, I looked around the internet and found US Warrior Sailing. Their focus is more on matchracing whereas we are all about cruising and this is the way we should stay – and it also means that we can dream about the big adventure. I hope some day that we could make it all the way to Hawaii and Pearl Harbor on this. Visiting Pearl Harbor with S/Y Veteranen is my ultimate dream. And who knows? US Warrior Sailing might get a visit from us, too!