Challenged America Begins 35th Year

Can you believe it?  What started out 35 years ago, with two disabled veterans who just wanted an opportunity to learn how to sail, has resulted in a program – if not a movement – that has touched and changed the lives of thousands. Thank you Bob Hettiger and Don Hyslop.

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Challenged America at the San Diego Sunroad Boat Show

2012 will be a special boat show, as you have probably heard, Challenged America is moving and by the show starts, Sunroad Marina will be our new home.

The show will be a unique opportunity to showcase our program, show and demonstrate our boats and our services to the disabled community.

We need volunteers to help at the booth, welcome visitors, explain and showcase our program

The show covers 4 days:

  • Thursday and Friday Jan 26/27 from noon to 6pm
  • Saturday and Sunday Jan 28/29 from 10am to 6pm

You don’t have to be there all day or everyday, let us know when you are available.  Please make sure that you will be there once you commit to a schedule.

We have an event set up in the Facebook Challenged America group where you can RSVP.




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New Location, Challenged America Is Moving to Sunroad Marina

We’re pleased and excited to announce that the Challenged America program will be returning to Sunroad Marina on Harbor Island, beginning on February 1, 2012. So if you can help us pack and move in January, have a truck or van, we sure can use your help.

Our new address:

Challenged America
Sunroad Marina
955 Harbor Island Drive, Suite 130
San Diego, CA 92101

Our phone number will stay the same: 619-523-9318

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New visa requirements for Mexico

On May 25, 2011 a new immigration law in Mexico was enacted “in
order to create in our country a framework of guarantees to protect the
rights of the individuals in our country, facilitate and manage the
migratory flows to and from Mexico, favoring the protection and
respect of human rights of Mexicans and foreigners, regardless their
origin, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age and immigration status.”
Source INAMI (Mexico’s Immigration Department).

INAMI has informed us that Articles 33, 44, 46, 50, 153, and 154 of the
new immigration law require that all foreigners entering Mexican
territory which includes Mexican territorial waters and contiguous
waters (24 miles) from shore must have a Visa.

There are two primary options provided by INAMI that allow anglers to
apply for a Mexican Visa if they intend to enter the Territorial Waters of

  • Boaters can appear at the Mexican land border points of entry and obtain a Visa through an INAMI designated facility.
  •  Boaters may report to the Port of Ensenada point of entry and contact the IMANI Office at the Port to obtain a Visa.
  •  A third new option for the SAC member vessels is to obtain a Visathrough a program sanctioned by INAMI. This program will permit the application process to be administered through a company approved byINAMI. This company is currently working with the sportfishing landings in San Diego to establish the required infrastructure. Once the process is “live” the feasibility of opening it up to the general boating public willbe evaluated by the San Diego Landings.

The facts:

  •   All US or International tourists traveling to Mexico must have Visa to enter Mexico. This is called an FMM permit. This permit must go through a different process depending on whether one is entering by land or by sea.
  •   INAMI has authorized a 3rd party organization to initiate the water entry Visa process at the 5 San Diego landings for tourists with passage on any SAC member vessel.
  •   The SAC landings will only be facilitating the Visa. All other Visa’s must be obtained in Mexico.
  •   The cost of the Visa will vary depending on the length of the trip and the value of the Peso
  •   INAMI will monitor the border and execute random inspections of all vessels crossing into Mexican territorial waters, including monitoring the private marine recreational sector
  •   If you are boarded by INAMI, they will ask you for a National ID and your Mexican Visa
  •   The Visa must be processed and paid for ahead of time
  •   All FMM Visas are to be returned within 24hrs upon return to the U.S.
  •   Vessels traveling through the territorial waters of Mexico, not engaging in activities, but seeking only “innocent passage” while enroute to international waters, will not be required to have a Visa.
  •   Crew members will be required to have a FM3 which can be obtained through the 3rd party company or in a INAMI office

As of January 1 the costs will be, per person:

  • Three days or less: $28.00
  •  Four to nine days: $33.06
  •  10 plus days: $38.06

As of February 1, the costs will be, per person:

  •  Three days or less: $33.06
  •  Four to nine days: $38.06
  •  10 plus days: $43.06
  •  Crewmembers will have to have a FM3 work visa, which can be obtained through Mex Tour Assist for $250.00.
  •  A  FM3 trumps a FMN visa,” said Williams, so anyone with a FM3 (which is good for one year) will not need a FMN. Anyone getting a FM3 will need a sponsor, which Mex Tour Assist can be for crewmembers.

The Visa Applications may be made through the following locations:

Fisherman’s Landing
2838 Garrison Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 221‐8500

H&M Sportfishing
2803 Emerson Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 222‐1144

Point Loma Sportfishing
1403 Scott Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 223‐1627

Seaforth Sportfishing
1717 Quivira Road
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 224‐3383

Dana Landing
2580 Ingraham Street
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 226‐2929


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Enhance the Quality of Someone’s Life

Dear Friends of the Challenged America Program,

This Holiday Season you can give the gifts of Self-reliance, Independence, Self-Confidence, and enhance the Quality of someone’s life.

Your donation to Challenged America will give a disabled veteran, adult or child with a disability all of these and much more.

“Challenged America is very important to me not just because sailing is my passion, but because of what it has taught me about myself. Prior to being involved in Challenged America I thought sailing was part of my past. Something I could no longer do as a result of Muscular Dystrophy. This program has enabled me to sail again and experience feelings I hadn’t felt for a very long time – feelings like hope, empowerment, and freedom. I have learned that you can be blind and still sail as Urban the founder of the program does, or have a prosthetic leg as Kevin my sailing companion does. I learned that I could leave my disabilities at the dock, sail in a seven boat regatta and win!”
— Colin Smith, Challenged America participant

Colin is but one of hundreds of stories we experience each year at Challenged America, and after 34 years of providing free therapeutic sailing as a rehabilitation activity and tool, you’d think we’ve gotten use to such stories. But it never ceases to touch the heartstrings of all of us volunteers at Challenged America.

Your charitable gifts  go 100% to the program and providing the opportunity to both youth, from 5 years of age, to seniors in their 90′s, as well as to recently injured and disabled veterans, regardless of the disabilities or medical condition; and to their loved ones.

Each dollar you give to Challenged America is spent entirely on and in the program – No Salaries and No Hidden or Other Disguised “Program Expenses” depleting the impact of your gift.

More than 9,000 volunteer hours are “gifted-in-kind” to the charity each year, and in addition to those who generously donate their time and talents, we need your support to help them fulfill their good work in the community.

Where Does 100% of Your Gift Go?

Assures that a sailor with a disability, and their companion instructor/sailor, will have sun screen, water, and sailing gloves for a safe and exciting day of sailing.

Grants a child or adult with a disability the life-experience of sailing on a Martin 16 two-person, fully- adaptable sailboat for the day, with a companion sailor or instructor.

Gives a youth or adult with a disability, and their entire family a day of sailing . . . or, covers 1 year of bottled-water needs.

Supports 10 to 15 individuals to spend a day of Whale Watching or have an Environmental and Marine education experience aboard the motor yacht “Challenged America” . . . or allows a Challenged America exhibit booth to be at a regional trade show or event.

Covers 1 year of costs related to providing equipment, supplies, and insurance for 25 volunteers … or covers 1 year of the office’s local and long-distance phone calls and phone Internet service.

Sponsors a Team Challenged America sailor for 1 year . . . or launches the Companion Sailor and Sailing Instructor “Certification” program . . . or pays for crew and vessel cost on an overnight offshore racing experience . . . or gives all sailing volunteers a new Challenged America t-shirt & hat.

Gives us delivery of a much-needed “Sip n Puff” steering-device for sailors with high-level injuries . . . or covers 1 year of dock and office supplies . . . or allows Challenged America to add spinnaker gear to 7 Martin 16 sailboats.

Subsidizes the working capital to continue the design & development of new and innovative devices, gear and safety equipment for sailors with disabilities . . . or purchase needed mainsail and jib for all 8 Martin 16 sailboats . . . or covers the cost of replacing all standing and running rigging on the fleet of small boats in the program.

Allows us to sponsor 5 different Summer Sailing Camps for kids, seniors, disabled veterans, and special groups supporting the disabled . . . or helps cover our minimum yearly boatyard costs of hull cleaning and bottom paint, maintenance and repairs of boats and engine repairs/maintenance.

Pays for 1 year of rent of slips, office and storage space . . . or covers the basic operating costs for the big boat sailing program, less racing expenses.

Covers costs for 1 year of small boat maintenance, repairs, slip fees, equipment and insurance.

Will offer the unique opportunity for Team Challenged America to compete in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii.

Will cover operating cost for the entire volunteer-driven Challenged America program (less racing) for the entire year.

Supports the big boat program and Team Challenged America training and racing campaign for 1 year . . . or covers the costs of inviting 75 disabled veterans and their families to spend 5 days in San Diego to sail and conduct other therapeutic and educational activities with Challenged America.

$1,000,000 ($1 Million)
Launches the Challenged America Endowment Fund . . . and subsidizes 4 years of operating costs.

We are very grateful for you considering Challenged America in your gift giving this year or next year.

All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Challenged America is a charitable program of the 501(c)3 Disabled Businesspersons Association – tax-exempt (EIN) number 33-0484461.

You can make your contribution online through the Challenged America website’s PayPal account at, or make your check out to “Challenged America” and mail to

Challenged America Program

2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 108
San Diego, CA 92106
Office: (619) 523-9318


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Word from the Sea: Cup of Joe

Cup of Joe: Navy lore has it that Josephus Daniels (May 18, 1862) – January 15, 1948) was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 and, among his reforms of the Navy inaugurating the practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for entrance into the Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the abolishment of the officers’ wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee; and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as “a cup of Joe.”

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Words from the Sea: Posh

Posh: Suggested as originating from the initials (acronym) from “Port Out Starboard” Home (P O S H), referring to the practice of using the more comfortable accommodations, out of the heat of the sun on ships between England and India during the early 20th century.

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Urban’s Corner

It’s at this time each year where I sit back and reflect on the past, and how lucky I am. After all, I shouldn’t even be here today … believed to be dead in Vietnam, and then at Valley Forge Hospital being told that, at best, I had only 20 years of life remaining. That was 1968. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones, and so thankful for it, and thankful to the combat medic, Brian Leet, who found me still breathing and saved my life.

Even back then, I knew that my service to America and to society was just beginning, as I made a vow then to one day serve other veterans, kids and adults with disabilities. And today, the charitable Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA), and its programs, like Challenged America, is the fulfillment of that promise of more than 40 years ago, as it is for my family, and the hundreds of volunteers who have been involved over the years.

In reflection, I want to thank everyone for their help. Joining together we have touched the lives of thousands, and continue to do so quietly today, and without fanfare. Our only reward being the smiles and “thank you” of those we serve.

Although there are many volunteers and participants who are no longer with us today (having moved away, started new careers and taken on new adventures, or have passed on), I’m comfortable in knowing that their adventures with Challenged America and the other DBA programs, even if only for a short time, was a valuable, life changing and enriching experience.

My only wish is that those who have supported us in other ways – ways such as making a charitable gift, a vessel or vehicle donation, introduction of our free programs and services to a family member or a parent with a child having a disability, telling a recently injured or disabled person and veteran about the DBA and its programs, or passing along a referral to someone just needing a person to talk to and help – were able to be with us when these services were performed, so they too could see the return on their investment, as those who volunteer witness daily.

With this, on behalf of the board of directors and all those involved with the charitable Disabled Businesspersons Association and its programs (e.g., Challenged America, National Disabled Veterans Business Center, Self-Employment of the Disabled, and Special Kids in Business), I want to thank you for your belief and trust in us, and wish you and yours a most joyous and peaceful Christmas and Holiday Season, and may the New Year be filled with good health, everlasting happiness in your continuing of service to others in need.

Urban Miyares, ()
DBA Volunteer President & Challenged America co-founder

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New Testimonial: Karen S.

I came to sail for the first time ever today!  What an incredible experience!  The feeling of controlling that sailboat was amazing!  I feel like it was some type of peaceful work; the entire experience was peaceful and enjoyable, but I also learned that sailing takes a lot of work and concentration.  I like that!  I had never really thought about which way the wind is blowing:  whether it was on my nose, on my right ear, or over my shoulder.  Learning to analyze this, I was able to maneuver the sailboat without continuous “hints” from my “teacher,” John.

John was one of the most gifted teachers I’ve ever met!  He started by explaining and describing every part of the Martin 16, and then as we moved away from the dock, the descriptions became more vivid.  Although I am totally blind, I felt like I was seeing the seals sun bathing on top of the buoys, the birds surrounding a small fishing boat, waiting for something to eat, or the various types of “traffic” that passed us throughout our short voyage.  I learned how to tack, how to move the boat so that it hit the small waves at a 45-degree angle rather than sideways, and how to pull the sail in when it begins to flap in the wind.  John never stopped teaching during those two hours of sailing, and I could have learned from him all day!

From the moment I arrived, I felt very welcome, and enjoyed meeting so many people, who definitely have a passion for sailing.  Thank you for allowing me to participate in this sailing experience and for providing such a gifted volunteer to assist me.  Thank you for keeping this program going, and now that I know what life-changing experiences occur there, I will definitely recommend that my friends and clients come and join the fun and learn how to sail.  I will also spread your mission and goals around in order to find people who will donate to this wonderful organization, so it can continue to thrive.  I am eager to return and sail again–hopefully with John!  Again, thanks just aren’t enough!

Karen S., Challenged America Participant

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Looking for Old Photos and Videos

Did you sail with Challenged America in the 1990′s, the 1980′s, or even as far back as 1978? If so and you have any photos or videos (even VCR tapes), we’d love to borrow them and make duplicates for our archives … and include them in the (now being written) “The History of Challenged America” book. Please contact the Challenged America office if you can help here.

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