Blackbaud Newsroom

Honoring our Military and Veterans with the Charleston Ocean Racing Association’s Inaugural Military Salute Regatta

Photo credit: Daniel Bergey Photography 

Last weekend, 120 veterans and active military members took to the sea in the Charleston Ocean Racing Association (CORA) Inaugural Military Salute Regatta, presented by Blackbaud. CORA organized the event, in partnership with Veterans on Deck, to engage local veterans and members of the armed forces, and to celebrate and honor their service.  

A total of 28 boats participated in the regatta, which included three races in the Charleston Harbor. Veteran and military participants were paired with skippers and were able to crew, even with no prior sailing experience. The event, hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club, drew more than 350 participants in total. 

In addition, spectators were able to board the Charleston Princess excursion vessel, donated by Charleston Harbor Tours. Over 150 spectators viewed the regatta from the Princess, including 20 veterans and the family members of military participants who were able to board free of charge.  

“The inaugural military salute regatta was such a success,” said Margaret Hekker, CORA Commodore. “We were thrilled to partner with Blackbaud and Veterans on Deck—a nonprofit organization committed to bringing veterans together through the sport of sailing. Members of the armed forces do so much for us, and this is one small way for us to give back. We’re already looking forward to hosting the event again next year.”  

“Blackbaud’s mission is to help good take over,” said Mike Gianoni, president and CEO, Blackbaud. “Our veterans and active-duty military represent that mission every day and play such an important role in our country and in our communities. We were proud to sponsor CORA’s Military Salute Regatta to honor veterans and military locally in Charleston, where our company is headquartered.”


Photo credit: Daniel Bergey Photography 

Awards were given to the top three finishing skippers and military crew in each class (Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker). Congratulations to the winners: 

  • Top three finishers with corrected time in Class Non-Spinnaker were: Easterly, skippered by Will Cramer; Cheers, skippered by Tom Mackin; and Havoc, skippered by Jim O’Connor  
  • Top three finishers with corrected time in Class Spinnaker were: Fearless, skippered by John Lucas; Illyria, skippered by John Keenan; and Mutiny, skippered by Katrina Fjording  

Thank you to the other event sponsors and to the 35+ volunteers from the local sailing community, Charleston Ocean Racing Association, and Charleston Yacht Club who helped make the event a success.  

And to the veterans and active-duty military who have sacrificed so much and who continue to help good take over every day, we salute you. 


Photo credit: Peter Finger Photography