Join Us for A Summer of Sailing!
Captain Dave McCabe
Message from Our Executive Director
Ahoy Mateys!
Wow, we have completed almost 5 months of 2016! We have received many, many registrations to come enjoy our free nautical adventure and, to date this year, we have happily served more than 500. Similar to last year, we have experienced a great deal of foul weather so our backlog is appreciable. However, for those of you already in the queue, do not despair as we have not forgotten you. And, for those of you who desire to sail this year but have not already registered: Come on!
As a refresher, we provide our unique nautical service free, up to 3 times per day, 360 days per year. Regardless of the severity of health issue, we have never turned away anyone. Thus, all of you with the desire to sail are welcome to find the time and come join us. We serve the following (individuals, families & groups) in our special needs community:
  • Children with physical or mental issues as well as those with chronic illnesses,
  • At-risk children,
  • The military (active & veterans), first responders and their loved ones,
  • Family victims of domestic abuse, and
  • Bereaved families.
All of this charitable 'work' is accomplished by our tremendous team of volunteers and yacht owners -- our Sailing Angels, who donate their time and treasure to create this special experience.
With best regards,
Captain Dave

We were recently invited to present information on our Sailing Angels program and the benefits thereof, to:
  • "Your Health First", am 740 KTRH radio, hosted weekly by Dr. Joseph Galati. This was a great opportunity for us to inform the community of our free 'therapeutic' service and invite the listeners to come. We appreciate their response!  You can listen to the interview on the KTRH iHeart Radio stream for May 15 here.
  • The Texas Rehabilitation Association Annual Conference and their medical professionals from throughout the state. Many had not heard of our service and were outwardly impressed. This was another great opportunity to spread the 'word'!
Sailing Angels Video
Some of you have already seen this neat video, but for those of you who have not ...  Tim Reeves has created a great nautical video in honor of our Sailing Angels Foundation. The accompanying music is the latest rendition of "Sailing Angels", composed and recorded by Shake Russell. Give yourself a treat: turn on your audio and check it out.   
Tim and Shake: We are most appreciative!
Upcoming Events - Summer Sailstice, June 11
Sailing Angels, with the support of the Texas Mariners Cruising Association (TMCA), will celebrate on July 11 (a little beforehand) the beginning of summer. This Summer Sailstice is an annual event that will include many 'special' families, volunteer skippers & crew, with more than 15 volunteer yachts. Last year we hosted more than 75 participants!
'Ocean Has a Healing Effect'
by Michelle Casas Groogan
Editor's Note: This article appeared in The Buzz Magazines.  View the original here.
Donna Carnahan volunteers with Sailing Angels, a non-profit that offers free sailing excursions for children and adults with challenges or serious illnesses. Here she is with a guest sailor.
The ocean has long had a healing effect on our 12-year-old son Garrett. Challenged with autism, there is something about the ocean that gives the perfect amount of therapeutic input his sensory-sensitive body needs, whether he is in or on the water. And there is never any mistaking what he is communicating with his shrieks and giggles. Sheer joy.
That's the power of the sea on many who have disabilities. A non-profit foundation made of local sailors - called Sailing Angels - is harnessing that power, sharing their yachts and their time with families who have loved ones with developmental or physical disabilities.
In sailing and motor vessels ranging from 35 to 71 feet, the volunteers take their guests out on two-hour nautical adventures out of Portofino Harbour in the Kemah area.
Buzz resident Laura Chavez plans a trip every October with Sailing Angels for her 7-year-old son, Carlos. Carlos has metabolic myopathy and mitochondrial disorder. Because of low muscle tone, he uses a wheelchair.
"On the water he seems free. I can just see the joy all over his face when we are sailing. 
Writer Michelle Casas Groogan says the sea has a healing effect on her son Garrett who has autism.
We don't own a boat, and it's never going to happen, but doing it every year gives us something to really look forward to," said Laura.
Dave McCabe is the one who made this happen. He started sailing eight years ago when he was part of another international sailing charity. In 2011, he veered off to start his own non-profit called Sailing Angels. It started with one boat, the Blue Marlin III, and a handful of volunteers.
In the past five years, his group has taken 5,000 folks sailing.
At first, the effort focused on special-needs children. But today, with an available fleet of 37 yachts and 138 volunteers, the foundation is able to include chronically ill children, children at risk, disabled veterans, battered women, and the bereaved and their families.
"There have been critically ill children who have come aboard the boat on stretchers," said Dave. "The therapeutic benefits of a sail have been recognized by the Veterans Affairs and incorporated into their therapy program that helps the wounded, amputees, or those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's just so soothing. Everybody lets their cares go."

Buzz resident Donna Carnahan has volunteered on more than 50 voyages for kids and adults, helping the participants sail to the best of their abilities.
She knew it was the perfect place to volunteer her time, but she didn't expect to see the immediate therapeutic effects.
"There was one time we had a pretty severe child on board. At the very beginning of the sail he seemed very agitated. He couldn't stop moving and talking, but by the end of the sail, he was calm and more social. He was engaged. There was a remarkable difference in his temperament from the beginning to the time we were pulling into the dock," said Donna.
She was also moved during a sail with disabled veterans. "They had some skipping stones in their pockets, and they were throwing the stones into the bay to release their bad memories. In the beginning they didn't say much, but they seemed to be more relaxed after that. They opened up and started talking. It really can make a big difference in someone's life."
Volunteer Melody Nitzberg lives aboard her 38-foot Morgan 382 in Kemah. She works as an IT-solutions architect for IronEdge Group in west Houston but she escapes home to her yacht and offers it up to Sailing Angels.
"I love sailing. It's calming. All your cares shrink to normal size instead of a giant size," said Melody. "You can feel the tension levels drop so significantly, and it ministers to the whole family."
The sail acts as respite for parents, as the volunteers step in and help the participants sail the boat. Carlos' mom, Laura, says, "I feel really peaceful looking at the waves. We feel really blessed that we're able to have that experience and not have to worry about his disability for that brief time."
I understand, and I know it brings our son joy. On more than one occasion he has come out of his room wearing his sailing cap, saying, "Secure the riggings!" I know then that it's time to call our sailing angels.
Steve Black with young sailor.
A Volunteer's Testimonial to the Sailing Angels Experience
From a Sailing Angels volunteer Captain (and a Veteran):
"It's such a great honor for this former Navy Submarine sailor to give the joy and therapy of sailing to those Veterans who faithfully served and sacrificed for our great nation."
Steve Black, TM2
(Submarine Qualified) (Scuba Diver Qualified)
US Navy
The Scrapbook: Sailing Angels Memories
Visit our Sailing Angels Foundation Facebook page for more memories and updates.

Donors Make our Program Possible

Major Milestone: Since beginning our charitable nautical service in late 2007, sometime in June we will have hosted 10,000 participants. Wow, what a journey!
All of this could not have been accomplished without the stellar support from so many volunteers, yacht owners, and the financial support from individual donors & institutions as well as the special needs community which we lovingly serve.
Let us give a special shout out to those institutions and individuals who have provided the most significant financial support over these many years:
            The Children's Fund
            The Albert & Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation
            Valero Energy  
            The West Endowment
            The Pollack Family Foundation 
            Texas Mariner's Cruising Association
            Houston Assoc. of Professional Landmen
            Kids Developmental Clinic
            The Leturno Family
Significant Donors 2016
We wish to thank the most significant donors for your financial support so far this year. Your outstanding help is what keeps us going, to serve our special needs community!
            The Children's Fund
            City of Houston Employees
            Houston Area Professional Landmen Association
            James & Diana Dinn
            Dave & Marge McCabe
            Donna Carnahan
            Gregory & Jill Businelle
            Pam Silverthorn
            Jim Blanchard
Can You Help?
Although we function with all volunteers and we provide our service free to our patrons, our charity is not inexpensive to operate. We have always (impressively) managed our administrative overhead to less than 4%. But, we do rely on your financial support. (We do not receive government funding; instead, we depend upon the local community which we lovingly serve.)
If you appreciate the value of our charitable service and can help, you may do so by making your tax-free donation in one of these two ways:
1. Go to our website (, or
Donate while shopping!
2. Make your check out to: Sailing Angels Foundation and send to:
            Captain Dave McCabe
            c/o Sailing Angels Foundation
            1714 Festival Drive
               Houston, Texas 77062
Special Thanks

Many of you know of my significant illness earlier this year. I am most appreciative of my loving wife Margie's constant attention, the outstanding medical efforts by Dr. Mukhopadhyay, Dr. Galati and his team, the many on-staff at Methodist Hospital, as well as your prayers, good wishes and visits. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and am most grateful for my complete recovery and ability to continue this charitable Sailing Angels mission.
May each and every one of you savor many blessings,
Captain Dave McCabe, Founder & Executive Director
Sailing Angels Foundation | | |  Facebook: Sailing Angels Foundation
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