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.
Challenged America volunteer sails to Tahiti, French Polynesia. Challenged America volunteer Marshall Lubin takes a break to sail to French Polynesia, a six week journey taking him from San Diego to Tahiti.
Voyaging thousands of nautical miles on a Beneteau 50, Marshall visits the Marquesas and the Tuamotu Archipelagos and the Society Islands. The names alone bring out dream images of turquoise water, lush islands and magical lagoons with names like Tahiti, Moorea, Rangiroa, Bora Bora.
Part 3 The Marquesas
As the paucity of wind continued, our last day on the ocean was powered by Tutto Bene’s motor bringing us to Nuku Hiva on the morning of May 29th. We were now members of the Pacific Puddle Jumpers, an informal group of sailors that had departed the west coast of the Americas to travel nearly three thousand miles to the Marquesas.
We entered the island’s main bay and anchored the boat. Needing to clear customs at the gendarmes, Bronte went ashore with our passports and associated paperwork so that we could properly enter French Polynesia.
Urban and David (Team Challenged America crew in the 2013 Transpac) have returned, under jib, to San Diego safe, and B’Quest is sound. More to come at an upcoming Press Conference (yet to be scheduled) at Fiddler’s Green Restaurant.