What began as an impossible dream in 1991 (to do the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu), is now a reality at the San Diego-based Challenged America program of sailors with disabilities.
With a crew of six disabled sailors in 2003, aboard their (donated) Tripp 40 sailboat “B’Quest” , Team Challenged America made history in being the first disabled crew to do this legendary 2,225 nautical mile race, and repeated the adventure across the Pacific Ocean again in 2005.
Today, 2013, with more than 30 candidates from around the world vying for a crew position, but due to limited funding to accommodate a full crew and attract a larger, donated sailboat, two disabled veterans, David Hopkins and Urban Miyares, will be racing, double-handed, aboard Team Challenged America’s Tripp 40 sailboat in the Transpac.
Much in modifications and an adaptations are required of “B’Quest” to safely and comfortably accommodate this two-person crew, advancing rehabilitation further in the design and layout for future offshore racing and sailing vessels crewed by sailors with disabilities, or those who become physically impaired while at sea.
Challenged America was created by disabled veterans in 1978 to self-direct and advance one’s own rehabilitation, and today hundreds participate each year in the (no-cost) Challenged America year-round adaptive sailing program.
Challenged America is a therapeutic program of the charitable and educational, volunteer-driven, 501c3, Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA). Your support will help make dreams a reality for thousands of kids, adults and veterans with disabilities, and their loved ones.. All donations, contributions and gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent the law allows.
Challenged America will be in the Transpacific Yacht Race this July 8th, 2013. Urban Miyares, Co-Founder and David Hopkins, Director of Vessel & Gift Donations for the charitable Challenged America program will be double handed racing on a Tripp 40 sailboat called B’Quest. What makes their entry special is that Urban Miyares is blind, has Type 1 diabetes (and a host of other medical issues), and David Hopkins has a hearing impairment. Both of them are disabled veterans … and well seasoned sailboat racers and they intend to win this race.
Why Are They Doing This Race to Hawaii?
Urban and David are dedicated volunteers helping those with physical and hidden impairment through therapeutic sailing and racing programs. They have literally changed the lives of so many. Now they are on a quest to bring attention to Challenged America and the needs of the many fellow disabled veterans, as well as to others with disabilities and their loved ones.
A Life of Sailing After Death
Urban Miyares’ story is well-known in the veteran community. Army infantry platoon Sgt. Miyares was presumed dead during an operation in Viet Nam in 1968 and was placed in a (KIA) body bag when, after two days, a combat medic, assigned to toe-tag the dead soldiers, found him still breathing. From that extraordinary incident and for the next 45 years, Miyares’ has gone on to grow several businesses, become a world class Alpine skier, and has developed his sailing skills to be a competitive offshore racer.
Transpac: The Famous Race Across the Pacific
The Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac) is now into its second century. This legendary race began in 1906 by the request of King David Kalakaua of the Hawaiian Islands. He felt that this race would strengthen the islands’ economic and cultural ties with the mainland. Clarence MacFarlane, a racing sailor from Honolulu, initiated the race with other sailors off the coast of San Pedro. The original starting point was to be San Francisco, but due to the earthquake and fire of 1906, just 27 days prior to the intended starting date, the starting point was changed to Point Fermin in San Pedro, California. The finish line is off the Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu, Hawaii totaling 2,225 nautical miles.
The challenging race course takes competitors through a myriad of unforeseen conditions: from the cold, wet Northeastern Pacific, through doldrums, enormous seas, abundant squalls and scorching heat, to the blustery trade winds of the Molokai Channel near the finish. With their start date of July 8th, Urban & David anticipate an arrival in Honolulu of July 19 – 20, with a podium appearance, with you (hopefully) being at the dock in Hawaii for the traditional Aloha Welcome and following ceremonies. With much media coverage assured, you will also be able to follow this race on both the Challenged America website (www.ChallengedAmerica.org) and on the Transpacific Yacht Club’s race website (www.TranspacRace.com).
Come With Us To Hawaii.
You can be a part of the (Sponsorship) crew with David Hopkins and Urban Miyares as they make this most-challenging and demanding crossing to Hawaii. Your support will help expand the scope of this 36 year old therapeutic Challenged America adaptive sailing program to reach the lives of thousands of kids, adults, and veterans (wounded warriors) with disabilities.
Click on the link bellow for the information on Sponsoring the Challenged America Program and Urban and David in the 2013 Transpac Race to Hawaii.
2013 Transpac Team Challenged America Campaign Committee
Tom Jarvis, Cpt. Ken Guyer, John Dodge, Dave Myer, Chris Carstens, Philippe Gadeyne
P.S. Challenged America is a therapeutic and rehabilitative program of the charitable and educational (501c3) Disabled Businesspersons Association, a volunteer-driven organization enhancing the lives of thousands with disabilities each year. All support, sponsorship, gifts and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law. Tax-Exempt #)33-0484461, Disabled Businesspersons Association.
P.S.S. You can make your donation by sending a check to “Challenged America<” or by PayPal at www.ChallengedAmerica.org, or talk to someone about Sponsoring Team Challenged America in the 2013 Transpac by either emailing your contact information to Ahoy@ChallengedAmerica.org or call (619) 523-9318.
Very rarely do you get to meet a person as inspiring as Urban Miyares, the current president and co-founder of the adaptive sailing program Challenged America. The story of how, and why, he was inspired to join Challenged America back in the mid 1980s is quite astonishing, and for perspective, bears repeating as often as possible. In 1968 the then 20 year-old Army Sergeant Miyares’ platoon was engaged in a fire fight, when he slipped into a diabetic coma. Left for dead, Miyares was placed into a body bag where he spent 2 days until an alert medic detected a heartbeat. Miyares spent the next six months recovering in a military hospital, but the event left its mark. “I’m totally blind, I have diabetes, several organ transplants, and a whole number of medical issues.” Due to severe nerve damage in his lower extremities, Miyares is considered a walking paraplegic. Miyares doesn’t let any of it slow him down; he has solidly engaged life more than most able-bodied people!
Miyares sailed as a youth, and after his experience in Viet Nam, he never thought that he’d be able to actively sail again. In the late 80s he was invited aboard a Beneteau First Class 10 to race in the Oceanside Race, he remembers, “It was a windy day, we had some problems on the boat, and all of the sudden I started remembering things from years past.” He and his other crew members, who were also disabled vets, began thinking about developing an adaptive sailing program, and Challenged America was born! Through Challenged America, Miyares has reached thousands of disabled vets by getting them aboard sailboats. Challenged America has a small fleet of adaptive sailing boats at their facility in San Diego, and a testimonial from one of their clients says it all, “The phrase ‘leave your disabilities at the dock’ could not be more true! When I’m on the water, at the helm of a sailboat, and enjoying all the sights and sounds of San Diego Bay, I forget about the wheelchair sitting on the dock.”
Challenged America crew after finishing Transpac 2003
This year, Miyares and crew David Hopkins have entered the Transpac, and will race in the double-handed division aboard their Tripp 40 B’Quest. Miyares recalls, “We’ve taken her two times before on Transpac, 2003 and 2005, with a crew with disabilities. We’ve modified the boat quite a bit for the different disabilities; we’ve added quite a bit of weight, and this time we’re going to take the boat again.”
For their needs, a larger boat would be better, and according to Miyares, the Challenged America team has been trying to get a larger boat, “We’ve been close to getting the TP52 Rio, and have had everything from a Rhodes designed boat supposedly being donated to us, to a Santa Cruz 70, but things take time. Rather than waiting and waiting, we decided that with our resources we’d redo the Tripp 40. One reason that we’re looking for a larger boat is when we start adding elevators, like we had in our previous boat, the smaller boats can’t take the weight. We’re a good inch and a half lower in the water than the other Tripp 40 that we’re racing against.” If Challenged America can get something in time to make the necessary modifications, they’ll take it instead of the Tripp 40, but the window is narrow to make it into this years Transpac.
Preparations and modifications to make a boat easier to use in an adaptive sailing environment are very similar to what anyone would to customize their boat for a race. Miyares explains, “We’re modifying it for double handed sailing this time, so if for some reason we do get a short- handed crew, the remaining crew is still able to sail the boat. As far as the modifications, it’s going to be similar to one of the Vendee Globe type of boats; we’re going to have roller furling, and asym, etc, so that we can manage the sail plan easily. We have special cockpit seats that we’ll have installed, which we’ve used in the previous Transpacs. Other than that, we’ll add some electronics, like a talking GPS, and modify some of the running rigging to make it easier for the helms-person to use.”
Sailing the Transpac is challenging to even the most able-bodied sailor, a fact that inspires Miyares to push even harder, “Transpac is our Mount Everest! We always try to push the bar higher as far as what we can do safely and competitively.” Challenged America is looking for sponsors and financial support. They are a charitable program of the Disabled Businesspersons Association, which is a 501c3, and all donations are 100% tax deductible.
Planning is underway for the 2nd DASH to Chula Vista – a 2 day regatta hosted by Chula Visa Yacht Club. On Saturday, April 13, our Martin 16s will race 8 miles from Harbor Island to Chula Vista Marina. Then we’ll race back on Sunday.
More details to come, but if you’d like to participate as a sailor, companion or volunteer, please send an email to Doug. We need volunteers to prepare for the event, solicit raffle items, assist at the docks and on chase boats, and be Martin 16 companion sailors.
Sailing is free, donations are welcome and help us keep the program free. To make a secure, tax deductible donation, click here
When Urban Miyares was a young boy, he dreamed of sailing around the world. His entry in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race — a 2,225-mile ocean adventure — puts him just a little closer to accomplishing his goal.
In July, Miyares and David Hopkins will race against some of the world’s most famous sailors — and some of the largest and fastest boats — in a transpacific crossing. The race starts off Point Fermin in Los Angeles and ends off Diamond Head, east of Honolulu.
Together, the vets will shatter the concept that the race is impossible or too challenging for sailors with disabilities to complete. Sailing in the race allows the two to live the mission that Miyares’ organization is founded on: making dreams a reality.
“It’s been one of my dreams to sail around the world, so this is a preliminary for me — to see if I really can do it,” said Miyares, co-founder of Challenged America, a therapeutic sailing organization founded in 1987.
Based at San Diego’s Harbor Island, Challenged America offers year-round no-charge learn-to-sail opportunities for children, adults and veterans with disabilities. The organization uses sailing to help disabled sailors build self-confidence, develop new skills and abilities and stimulate independence.
In 2003 and 2005, Miyares competed in Transpac with Team Challenged America. This will be his first time competing double-handed: a new and welcome challenge for the San Diego resident.
Miyares, a blind and multidisabled Vietnam veteran; and Hopkins, a Navy veteran with a service-related hearing impairment, aim to finish the race in 12 days.
“We’ve been trying to attract a large boat donation for the Transpac for the past few years,” Miyares said. “And although we’ve been close to receiving some large racing vessels from 50 to 70 feet in length, we’ve decided not to wait any longer and do this race now, with our Tripp 40 B’Quest.”
Challenged America sailed on B’Quest during the 2003 and 2005 Transpac, completing the race in 13 days.
B’Quest has been hauled out at Shelter Island Boatyard, where it is undergoing major modifications in preparation for race day. The vessel will be “slimmed down,” with a telescoping bowsprit, and roller-furling and asymmetrical sails and rigging installed.
“With the quickly advancing technology of just the past few years, we will hopefully be including the latest in electronics and other devices, such as sound-output, so Urban can more comfortably handle communications and navigation,” Hopkins said. “But I’m sure Urban will have his Braille compass handy to check on our course.”
Challenged America is attempting to procure a larger vessel donation, so that more disabled sailors can compete in next year’s race. Until then, Miyares and Hopkins serve as inspiration for others.
“I have a passion for helping others understand that just because you have a disability, that doesn’t mean you can’t compete in an able-bodied world,” Miyares said. “Our program is primarily a therapy to help people get back into society, start feeling good about themselves and to show them what they are still capable of doing with their new minds and bodies.”
For more information, or to sponsor Team Challenged America in the 2013 Transpac Race, contact Urban Miyares or David Hopkins at Challenged America, 955 Harbor Island Drive, Suite 130, San Diego; (619) 523-9318; email email@example.com.
Challenged America’s Urban Miyares and David Hopkins will shatter the concept that the Transpac is too challenging for sailors with disabilities, even in the double handed class. Donate and be a part of the Challenged America Tanspac campaign Click on … Continue reading →
Challenged America’s Tripp 40, “B” Quest” will be hauled out of the water on Monday, February 25th, at the Shelter Island Boat Yard, 2330 Shelter Island Drive to begin major modifications to get ready for the 2013 Trans Pacific Race from California to Hawaii, approximately 2,225 nautical miles.
Challenged America is proud to announce that Shelter Island Boat Yard is sponsoring Challenged America for our 2013 Transpac race. Owner Bill Roberts has graciously donated his facility and crew to prepare B’Quest for the race.
Shelter Island Boat Yard will pull the mast; haul B’Quest out of the water, hydrowash and paint the bottom. SIBY is a full service boat yard, they have both an 80 & 30 ton travel lift, 25 ton crane and a full array of yacht maintenance services.
SIBY is located at 2330 Shelter Island Dr. The overhaul will take about two weeks and a lot of the work will be done by volunteers.
Challenged America is proud to announce Jeff Jakus will be heading our fundraising program for the 2013 Transpac race. Jeff is an expert in social fundraising and is a great asset to Challenged America. Here’s Jeff’s Bio:
Jeff Jakus is a retired business owner and executive from the Hospitality Software Industry which focused on the development and distribution of Point of Sale and Wine Club Management business applications. Jeff and his wife Bev are residents of Coronado, California and are actively engaged in yachting as members of the Coronado Yacht Club. Jeff is the Fleet Captain and Bev is a member of the Board of Directors and together they took 1st place at the 2011 Beneteau Cup in the Cruising Class. Jeff attended Junior and Senior High School in Point Loma before heading onto Mesa Junior College and San Diego State University.
Jeff now spends his free time Giving Back to the community in and around the San Diego area using his varied business experiences and extensive background in sales and marketing to help make a difference. Bev joins in as time allows sharing her ‘boatload’ of knowledge in the funding and financing arenas.
Give Back San Diego was created as a conduit for Jeff to provide sales and marketing services to local businesses with a fee structure that is based on what they can afford to pay. Every revenue dollar generated from for profit businesses produces a donation to local charities and most consulting for non-profits is provided pro bono.
Jeff is currently the Chairman of the “5th Annual Amazing Race for Children’s Wishes” with the 2013 goal to raise $100,000 for the benefit of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego. He is also the Co-Chair of Fundraising and Sponsorships for another Make-A-Wish event called “Roll Out the Barrel” that produces more than $100,000 annually. Other charitable endeavors have included active participation with Honor Flight San Diego, “Traveler’s Aid San Diego” and several industry Board of Directors, various fund raising efforts and volunteering
Challenged America is proud to announce that Soft Deck will be a product sponsor for our 2013 Transpac campaign. They will be providing our decking solutions for B’Quest. Check them out at soft-deck.com
Providing superior Shock Mitigating, Non-Skid, and Custom products for everyone from Sabot Sailors to the US Navy.
Soft Deck High-Performance, Energy-Absorbing Flooring System (HPEAFS) is a revolutionary ultra light weight product that protects crews, passengers, and cargo of High Speed Craft by reducing the impact and vibration transmitted through the hull. And it can be removed and re-installed in minutes.
Soft Deck traction products are soft which makes them barefoot and bare skin friendly while providing traction that just can’t be beat in wet or dry conditions.