Saturday, August 13, 2016

Doing Good - Panerai

So yesterday saw me hop in the buggy and undertake an arduous journey of 15 minutes to go out to Marblehead (the town right next door).  And it was a trip I would have been willing to make if it was 3 hours, because I had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the charitable work that Panerai is helping make possible through their generous support of Sailing Heals.

So just what is Sailing Heals? Essentially it offers an opportunity for cancer patients and their caregivers to enjoy a day away from their current concerns and enjoy a day on the ocean in a vintage yacht.  And did I mention, it's free?  In their own words -

At Sailing Heals, it is our mission to provide a free day of relaxation and joy for our patient guests— those who are undergoing treatment for cancer or dealing with the effects of a serious illness or injury—as well as their caregivers.

And I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of the patients and her caregiver -

And it was, without a doubt, the highlight of the day for me. Don't get me wrong, free lunch and a ride on a beautiful wooden boat is enough to get just about any watch writer out of bed, but to meet the people directly benefitting from such a wonderful program, and to hear their stories is something I would not have missed.  And I am happy to inform you that there is another fellow-ESL teacher about to join the ranks here in the North East!

And being the cynical sort of fellow that I am, I have to say that I was pretty blown away by the level of organization, support and the amazing atmosphere created by the Sailing Heals team.  But it went even beyond that.  From my own personal experience I can tell you that organization is key, but if you don't have an event to organize, what's the point?  And that was the second great discovery yesterday -

Because let's be honest, to have a boat ride, you need a boat ; )  And let's be very clear, these are no ordinary boats, these are beautiful vintage yachts.  And these are not mere charter captains taking people out for a day of fishing.  These are the people who will be racing some of the boats today in the Regatta.  But you wouldn't have known that yesterday.  You would have been forgiven if you thought you were on some sort of vacation wind-jammer cruise with a kind, warm and friendly captain and crew.

It was fascinating to see the interaction with the crew and the passengers.  Everyone engaging in conversation, guests being encouraged (and sometimes cajoled) to participate in some of the on board "chores".  And a certain well known watch journalist (not yours truly) even steered our ship, Wild Horses, safely and smoothly for quite a stretch of our journey.

I will be the first to admit that I am oftentimes loathe to the extent of waste and expense that gets flushed down the PR toilet of vanity with many brands - Oscar party red carpet shots, a glamorous evening that only VIPs are invited to, air-freighting a press junket to Hawaii for surfing lessons.
And this was SO NOT THAT!  This was genuine, heartfelt, and extremely refreshing to see, and very gratifying to participate in.

One of the things that the luxury industry often forgets is the importance of getting involved for more than just a "Grip and Grin".  And for their support of Sailing Heals, Panerai deserves a HUGE thank you!

For more information on the great work that Sailing Heals is doing, please visit them at -

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