Challenged America is joining forces with a new disabled veterans organization in Australia to assemble crew candidates consisting of experienced offshore racing sailors who are also (severely) disabled veterans to race a 50+ foot offshore racer (with a crew of 15) in the 2014 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race
Interested? Do you qualify?
Commitment to train in Australia required; fundraising now going on.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (sometimes referred to as the Bluewater Classic in the Australian media) is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.
August 17, five frequent Challenged America sailors were joined by two guests from Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) in San Francisco for this month’s Martin 16 mini-regatta and PLYC Big Bay Charity Race. Special thanks to Point Loma Yacht Club for adding an additional start for the Martins to their Big Bay Charity Race on San Diego Bay and for the after-race party.
Tammy Airhart and companion sailor Brook Wilson led the fleet over the finish line after 3.25 nm. Amelia Opean and Marshall Lubin took second
B-QUEST RETIRES FROM TRANSPAC 2013 RACE, QUESTIONS TPYC
San Diego, Monday, 15 July 2013; Transpac competitor B’Quest arrived back in San Diego On Wednesday, July 10. Having had their entry unilaterally revoked at roughly 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening, the double-handed team of disabled veterans decided to return to San Diego Tuesday, July 9th. After sailing for roughly 16 hours and reflecting on their status, Urban Miyares and David Hopkins decided to return to San Diego in part because their participation was clearly unwanted despite earlier congratulations and support by Transpacific Yacht Club (TPYC). The B’Quest crew now wants to clear the record concerning their status as an entry. Continue reading →
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