MS Does Not Slow Challenged America Sailors

Another Excellent Sailor at Challenged America, meet Eric!

The son of a salesman and bookkeeper, Eric Brand was born in Tarzana, a suburb of the San Fernando Valley located to the northwest of Los Angeles.  As a teen, he attended Taft High School in neighboring Woodland Hills. Reaching college age Eric matriculated to Cal State University Northridge where he studied a varied of subjects unsure, at the time, of what discipline would pique his interest.  Being a sports enthusiast, however, he did play volleyball.  But like many, Eric always wanted to venture south to surf on San Diego’s pristine beaches, a dream which reached fruition when he came to study in our local colleges.


After arriving in the sunny southland in 1981, Eric attended SDSU. During his sojourn as an undergrad, he took a year to head farther south, where he attended two semesters of classes in Guadalajara, Mexico. There, Eric focused on improving his Spanish fluency.  He then backtracked north, to the land of the gringo, where he worked a year clerking for Michael Dodge, a local bankruptcy attorney.  Having found that the study of law was the subject that stoked Eric’s fires, it was in 1986 that he set his sights on Pepperdine Law School in the sage covered mountains overlooking Malibu.  After graduating from Pepperdine, the new graduate remained local for his first real job, a deputy public defender for the County of Los Angeles.

As 1994 dawned, Eric once again set his sights on a return to America’s Finest City.  Transferring to San Diego as an alternate public defender he was again jazzed to settle in the land of sun and surf.  It was at that time that mild symptoms of a disabling disease began to molest Eric. It was just before his transfer in 1994 that he went to seek medical aid, curious as to what was causing his nascent symptoms. Soon thereafter, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Continue reading

Ryan Porteous, Some champions are Made…

Ryan Porteous and his crew (and Mom) Kristy Porteous are congratulated on winning the 2013 DASH to Chula Vista by Chula Vista Yacht Club Commodore Michael Kirchgestner

Born to a San Diego family, Ryan Porteous was fortunate to grow up in the coastal community of Pacific Beach in a time when P.B. was booming.  His father an environmental consultant and mom a grade school science teacher, Ryan was oriented toward getting an advanced education from an early age.  Beginning at Mission Bay High School, after graduation Ryan matriculated to UC Santa Barbara.


Ryan was introduced to water sports at a young age, firmly rooting his destiny in boating. At Mission Bay Yacht Club, he attended the Junior Summer Sailing Program from age seven to ten. It was there at MBYC that Ryan learned to sail and then eventually race.  “I started out in sabots, progressing from C3 to A fleet, then on to 420s, lasers, and other sailboats, racing at junior regattas and other types of fleet racing.”  Being the ace that he has become Ryan humbly explains, “I have won multiple local regattas in these boats and done well in national regattas, as well.”  Some notable achievements were winning the 2007 Mark Reynolds Perpetual Trophy in the 420 class, and placing third then second in the 2008, then 2009 ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Youth World Qualifiers in Multihulls. 


Things were going well for Ryan when he headed off on a camping trip in October of 2011.  Regrettably, while walking on a dock he slipped and changed his life forever.  I have a C-6 spinal cord injury which caused almost total paralysis.  I broke my neck in a freak accident in which I slipped and fell to the ground, clipping my head on the end of the dock.  I lost control of my body from the neck down.” Continue reading

Last 2013 Martin 16 Regatta of 2013

All eight of Challenged America’s Martin 16 s were out sailing on San Diego Bay Saturday, enjoying the beautiful weather.  Several competed in the last races of the 2013 Loch and Clare Crane Regatta Series and some just day-sailed.  Sue Taetzsch and companion sailor Marshall finished third; Eric Berkey and John were second and future Paralympian Ryan Porteous and Kristy led the fleet with 3 bullets for first place.