How sailing helped Shaun Pascoe’s recovery and urged him to set up Turn to Starboard

Shaun began his military career as a Nurse in the RAF and being an Officer commanding RAF Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) onboard an aircraft in highly kinetic zones.

After completing numerous tours around the world, Shaun was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress in 2012. It completely changed his life and he experienced some dark moments. As he approached his last year in service, Shaun decided to spend his resettlement time and money on a Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Offshore course and after sailing for two weeks, he felt in a better place.

Using this qualification, Shaun began showing other members of the Armed Forces Community the therapeutic benefits of sailing with an urge to demonstrate how life after Service did not have to be limited if they were wounded, injured or sick. Seeing his own recovery process mirrored in others spurred him to set up The Forces’ Sailing Charity – Turn to Starboard – in 2013.

In 2016, Shaun led a crew of 37 injured veterans – many with little or no sailing experience – on the 2000-mile Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge. The eight-week epic challenge was planned as a way to help all participants gain new skills, and helping them to re-engage, re-integrate and re- enforce a sense of value and belonging. Due to the incredible success of that venture, a second expedition set sail on August 5, 2017.

As of today, the charity has provided more than 1,200 sailing opportunities to service personnel and veterans with physical or psychological injuries, as well as their families. With these qualifications, veterans have fresh opportunities to find employment in the marine sector. The charity also provides family sailing trips for Service families who have been affected by operations to spend some time together on a skippered yacht.

Earlier this year, thanks to all of his incredible determination and drive to not let his PTSD defeat him, Shaun was awarded the prestigious Henry Worsley Award at The Endeavour Fund Awards 2019. This award is presented to the person who has best inspired others through the demonstration of determination in the face of adversity, whilst endeavouring to support others with their recovery through sport or adventure challenge.

You may also like

We caught up with Sally Orange, Founder and Team Leader of Mind over Matter

How former Royal Marine, Nick, set up outdoor woodland activities to help aid mental and physical recovery

How Amy Klepacz used a 1,000 mile cycling expedition to help rediscover herself