Q. Will Challenged America be getting more Martin 16 sailboats or will it be cutting back on its fleet of Martin 16 and other small sailboats?

A. As of today, the answer is No we do not plan to add to the fleet; and, No, we do not plan on cutting back or selling any of our Martin 16 sailboats. Although adding to our fleet of Martin 16s would be nice, and even adding a Sonar, and a 2.4-meter would be exciting. financial support is the barrier, not the need for sailors with and without disabilities who would sail them.

If we do cut back on our small boat fleet, it will be because of a lack of funds to support the small boat program. Challenged America is a participant supported program, and your assistance to help us raise the funds is essential to continue the (small boat) program. Are you now active in any fundraising activity to help support the small and/or big boat program?

Q. How much in expenses are there for salaries and administrative cost to run and operate the Challenged America program and the charity, the Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA)?

A. An often asked question, the answer is that of every dollar donated or gifted to the charity and its Challenged America program, 99-cents goes directly into program operations. Not many public charities can claim that. There are no salaries in any of the DBA programs or the DBA itself … nor are any of the officers or directors, President or Executive Director paid a salary.

Q. Is Challenged America a veterans program?

A. Although Challenged America and the DBA charity were founded by disabled veterans, Challenged America and all the other programs are available to both veterans and non-veterans, and their loved ones. The only exception is the “National Disabled Veterans Business Center” (for military personnel, veterans and their loved ones), which is one of the other DBA’s programs, and the first program of the charity.

Q. Is Challenged America going to do the next Transpac Race to Hawaii in 2013? And how do I get on the crew?

A. We continually receive inquiries from those who wish to do long-distance races with Team Challenged America. So here goes… First we need to receive a donated vessel qualified to do a race such as the Transpac, and assessment must be done to see what modifications will be required, and how such modifications will be paid for.

Next, based on what adaptations might be installed on this vessel, the type and degree of disabilities are assessed. Then from this, the Transpac (as an example) crew candidates are evaluated, based on an in-house scoring system which includes: 1. How much they have contributed (in personal funds or through fundraising) and/or supported the program in volunteering hours, 2. their sailing experience, both in small and large vessels, 3. their medical condition and health, 4. personality, and 5. what benefits or advantages they bring to Team Challenged America. Individuals, who do not live in San Diego, and even California, have raced to Hawaii with Challenged America. So get sailing on as many vessels as you can and document it, and find out how you can help the program, if you don’t live in San Diego.

The final decision of the crew on any offshore race is made by the ship’s captain.

And, we are now searching for the next qualified, offshore racing vessel to do the Transpac and other long-distance races.

Q. Has Challenged America ever worked with hospice care?

A. Yes and No. Hospice care generally does not encourage those under their care to go sailing, but we have worked with family members who, knowing a loved one are nearing the end of his/her life’s voyage, have asked us to provide one last experience on the water for them. Let us know if this applies to you or a loved one and we’ll surely accommodate both your wishes as best we can.

Q. I thought Challenged America was a sailing program. Why is it now including [donated] powerboats in the program?

A. Challenged America is a therapeutic program that offers sailing – as but one resource or tool – to advance one’s rehabilitation, with the intention of helping them better move to a more healthier and productive life. The powerboats in the program will now offer the opportunity for many to have, learn and test newly acquired skills on the water, from educational programs in seamanship, nature, navigation, and healthcare, to being a viewing platform for loved ones and the media, as well as a working vessel for emergencies, committee vessel use, etc

Q. What determines if you will accept a donated vessel into the Challenged America program?

A. With each boat donated (sail or power) we first evaluate if it can be used in the program, and what the cost will be to make the vessel accessible and accommodating to our needs. If the vessel is not “program oriented,” we then assess its value to market the boat (or vehicle), with the proceeds to support financial needs to carry out our mission. Thus, in most instances, if the vessel has market value, we will accept the vessels donation, depending on the donor’s requirements and location of the vessel.

Note: Challenged America has had dozens of vessels donated over the past 34 years, from inflatable dinghies to a 68-foot motor yacht. All vessel donations are entirely in-house, and we do not use any outside fundraisers or agents in the vessel donation program; thus, all revenue (100%) derived from the sale of a vessel goes directly to support the Challenged America Program.

Q. What type or kind of disabilities does Challenged America accept in the program?

A. Where many programs for the disabled only accept those having a specific disability or category of disabilities (e.g. physical impairment), have a minimum or maximum age requirement, or other specific requirement or restriction, Challenged America is one of the few – if not the only one – who has no requirements, whether physical or psychological, age or degree of medical severity, as long as their medical condition is stable and/or manageable and the participant has cognitive abilities and can follow instructions.
However, if the participant is under 18 years of age, a parent or responsible, qualified adult must be in attendance and participate in the program, while the (minor) participant is sailing.
Sailors from 5 years of age to 90+ years of age have sailed with Challenged America.

Q. How do I get into the big boat program?

A. “Good small boat sailors make great big boat sailors.” To get into the Challenged America big boat program, you must first participate in the small boat program at Challenged America.

Q. If I and my family are visiting San Diego from out of town or another country, can we sail at Challenged America?

A. If you or a member of your family has a disability, the person with a disability can sail at Challenged America, with family members also able to participate and sail, dependent upon vessel and volunteer availability. We just request you contact us far enough in advance to assure we can arrange a workable sailing date and time suitable to all.

Q. Why don’t you charge for sailing at Challenged America?

A. We do charge. Challenged America is a participant and volunteer supported program. We ask everyone to help in raising funds, program operations, marketing, and public relations. And, if you want to make a cash donation, we will definitely accept your gift. The program’s activities and your being able to sail is directly dependent on how much in time, energy and resources you give back to the program.
Challenged America has: No membership fees or dues. No sailing fees or charges. Yes, most unusual, but something we’ve been doing for 34 years.

Q. What is the largest group you can handle in the Challenged America program?

A. Don’t know. We haven’t yet been able to see where our capacity limits are. We’ve handled groups larger than 100, such as in the recent Department of Veterans Affairs’ 5-day Summer Sports Clinic for recently injured veterans. Come on, test us; bring on your group.

Q. I’d love to be on the Challenged America Board of Directors. How do I apply?

A. Challenged America is a program of the charitable Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA), and the DBA Board of Directors oversees the operations of Challenged America and the charities other four (4) programs.
However, Challenged America is looking to form a Challenged America Volunteer Advisory Committee to offer its observation and offer suggestions to the DBA Board. If interested in the Challenged America Advisory Committee, submit a request, along with your professional background and experience, and reason why you would like to be an Advisory Committee Member to Urban Miyares at Port@ChallengedAmerica.org.

Q. How do I schedule sailing?

A. Just call or email the Challenged America office – at least 4 days prior to your day of request to sail, along with information on your type of disability, so we can meet any special needs/accommodations and schedule a volunteer companion sailor.

Q. How much does sailing cost?

A. It’s free, but we do accept and welcome donations.

Q. What is Open Sailing?

A. Open Sailing days are our primary days for small boat sailing, and adaptive sail training for potential and existing sailing companions and instructors.

Q. Can I only sail on Open Sailing Days?

A. No, you can sail on ANY day you request, provided a qualified companion sailor is available, and the sailing office is open.

Q. Can I learn to sail at Challenged America if I don’t have a disability?

A. Yes, but there is a cost . . . You must be willing to volunteer.

Q. I’m scared of sailing because I can’t swim.

A. You’re not alone. Many famous sailors, past and present, as well as participants in the Challenged America program are unable to swim. Rest assured that “swimming” is not a requirement or even a concern to sail at Challenged America.

Q. How can I include Challenged America in my will?

A. It’s easy and simple. Just tell your attorney or whoever drafted your will or living trust that you’d like to include the Disabled Businesspersons Association – Challenged America in your estate. You can also include DBA-Challenged America as a secondary (or primary) beneficiary on insurance policies. It is strongly recommended that you talk to qualified legal counsel, as well as your accountant, insurance underwriter or financial planner. Thanks for the question.

Q. Can my children volunteer at Challenged America?

A. Yes … but if they are under 18 years of age, you too (or a responsible adult) much pitch in with your children. We’ve had Sea Scouts, At-Risk Youth Groups, high school students, and parents with their children all take on a volunteering activity at Challenged America, and not all activities are at the dock or on the boats. Tell us more about your kids and the how and when they might be able to assist, with you involved.

9 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. I am a veterans case manager working with homeless veterans in a transitional housing program called Interfaith Community Services. We work with different disiabilities when it comes to housing these veterans. I would like to bring a group of these veterans out for a day of sailing in order to provide another acitivity for them to check into doing.

    • Hello Jim, at this point in time, our only facility is in San Diego, although we helped a number of programs get started all over the country and have been approached by several communities to help them start programs like “Challenged America”. Let us know how we can be of help, you can email us, the information is on our “contact” page.

  2. Good Morning!
    I have a 20 year old son with C.P. I am always looking for new life experiences for him. Your program sounds beautiful. Is it possible to come visit your program? Is this a program anyone can partcipate in? I am trying to plan a vacation activity for my son and I know sailing in San Diego would be something so exciting for him. My son uses a walker and a wheelchair.
    Thank you for your time,
    Margie Thomas

    • Absolutely Margie, actually, this past weekend we had a participant coming from Oregon and another from Central California. I forwarded your email to our office, give us a call or email us to schedule the experience, we will match him with one of our companion sailor. Philippe

  3. We would like to donate our 22 foot O’Day Sail Boat.
    Due to bad backs (back surgery) we are NO longer able to sail our beloved boat. We have had 10 wonderful years of sailing with it.
    My husband has taken excellent care of our boat.

    We want it to go to adaptive sailing

    • Dear Sandy – thank you for thinking of Challenged America, regarding the donation of your O’day 22 — a fun boat I’ve sailed before.
      Currently, the Challenged America program is seeking the donation of a larger, offshore vessel of greater than 40 feet to better fulfill our charity’s mission. Twenty-two feet would not meet our needs.
      However, we’ve donated all our smaller Martin 16 sailboats to a new group in San Diego calling themselves Challenged Sailors San Diego and you may discover they would have use of your sailboat and be allowed by the IRS to accept vessel donation — not all nonprofits can do this and also provide you with a full tax deduction. You can contact them at .
      I hope all works out for you and you can once again get back on the water.
      All the best,
      Urban Miyares
      President, Disabled Businesspersons Association Co-Founder, Challenged America Program

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