Sailing ex-service organisation sets up in Sydney

Just under 3 years ago, retired major Guy Mewburn set up Sailing On – an association to help former and current ADF personnel improve their mental health by teaching them how to fix boats and sail. 

Guy was motivated to fund the not-for-profit because he was shocked by the high veteran suicide rate. Sailing On gets members bonding through teamwork and sailing education. Sailing On was first set up in Western Australia and boasts 64 members with 6 keelboat yachts. 

‘With 25 years in the Regular Army as a Major, I knew only too well the stresses on service people and the terrible suicide rate,’ Guy says. ‘I wanted to do something to help ease those stresses and came up with the idea by combining the two ingredients of teamwork and mateship through sailing. I got together with a bunch of like-minded mates and we formed Sailing On WA Inc. to help improve mental health.’ 

As of 1 July, Sailing On is setting up base in New South Wales at the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association at Darling Point in the heart of Sydney. They have bought the yacht Gun Runner from the Army. She has previously sailed as the Army entrant in 3 Sydney to Hobart races. Gun Runner will now be available to all services and all veterans to sail.

Sailing On is a tri-service organisation for veterans and serving members of any service, with any level of sailing experience. ‘We have a range of members from beginner sailors to the very experienced,’ says Guy. ‘Gun Runner now gives us the opportunity to start up in NSW as well as provide competitive ocean sailing for our more advanced members. Watch this space for a future Sailing On Sydney to Hobart entry. 

‘We sail every Wednesday afternoon and twilight, as well as Saturdays when skippers are available, and qualified people can sail any time of the week. For only $65 a year for membership, where else could you learn boat repairs, get free training, all the safety gear and a yacht to sail any time you want?’

Guy adds that if you don’t want to get your feet wet, there are plenty of skills to learn on dry land, including boat maintenance, fibre-glassing and rigging. 

Look them up at to join or for more information. Or you can email chair [at] (chair[at]sailingonwa[dot]org[dot]au)