Blind Students Sail With Challenged America


Imagine eight, nine and ten year old, blind and visually impaired elementary school students steering and trimming a sailboat all by themselves as the navigate they busy and tricky waters of San Diego’s Big Bay.

“We’re not a go-for-a-ride sailing program,” says Dave Meyer, volunteer coordinator of the therapeutic Challenged America program.  “These kids’ first-time experience sailing will be an instant reality happening as they learn to steer and trim the sails, even though they can’t see, with their sailing instructor sitting behind them in the two-person, Martin 16 sailboat.”


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Steve Muse, Victory of Spirit

An inspiring story, I have know Steve Muse for a few years now, I met him and Jennifer as a volunteer and photographer at Challenged America, I did not know the whole story until now, just bits and pieces.

When I was in the hospital a year and a half ago with the real possibility of losing my leg, Steve Muse and other Challenged America participants, Wounded Warriors were the inspiration that helped me keep positive during my stay, through my surgeries and year long recovery.

Steve loaned me one of his wheelchairs, set it up for me and gave me a form of mobility I did not have and I gained a whole new level of admiration for what he had and was achieving and gave me the strength to push my rehabilitation through the pain, through the ups and down.

Watch his story and if you are not inspired, nothing will.

Thanks Steve for everything, you will never know how big a part you played in my recovery, you are an inspiration..

Philippe Gadeyne

Steve Muse, Victory of Spirit

3rd Annual Tom Kirwan DASH to Chula Vista Benefiting Challenged America

In spite of the weather, the 3rd Annual Tom Kirwan DASH to Chula Vista Benefiting Challenged America was another success.

Six boats (12 sailors) raced an alternate 6.5nm course under the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge and back after the first day’s race was cancelled due to high winds.

Sue Taetzsch and John Barba finished first, followed just 17 seconds later by Steve and Jennifer Muse and less than a minute later by Fernanda Castelo and Steve Edenson.

Special thanks to all the sponsors and donors (including Chula Vista Yacht Club and California Yacht Marina – Chula Vista) and especially to the many volunteers who helped make this a successful and fun event

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Reeve Foundation Board Member Rediscovers Her ‘Sea Legs’

When Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation board member Pat Volland was injured in a serious accident five years ago, one of her fears was that she would never be able to sail again. Pat and her husband Bob had long raced a 40-foot yacht out of Annapolis, Maryland; in fact they had spent much of their lives together on the open sea. But due to the nature of her injuries, it was far from certain that she’d ever captain a boat once more.

Then, last November, on a trip out to San Diego, the Vollands became acquainted with Reeve Foundation Quality of Life past grantee Challenged America, a unique organization that has offered adaptive and therapeutic sailing since 1978. Learning that she could actually sail again, and not merely ride as a passenger, Pat got into a boat for the first time since her accident.

“What an incredible feeling to be out on the water again, and in control,” she says.

Pat’s maiden voyage was with Challenged America volunteer Doug Shaw (each boat requires that a person with disability sail with one of the organization’s volunteers, for safety reasons.) Her particular boat was equipped with a Power Assist unit and joystick controller that allowed Pat to steer and also trim the sails. “It was such a confidence booster to be in charge,” she says.

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