Our thoughts and prayers to the families affected in Sunday boating accident

Our thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by Sunday boating accident in San Diego.

The media have been very vague, reporting that the accident happened during “a Sunday afternoon sail for a nonprofit organization for people with disabilities”

We want to insure that there is no confusion, the organization in question is neither affiliated nor connected to Challenged America.

Challenged America’s 30 year old inshore and offshore adaptive and therapeutic sailing program has a perfect safety record.

From The Helm

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2011 will be everything you hope for it to be. We, here at Challenged America, are hoping for a BIG 2011. We have made some New Year’s resolutions:

First (and foremost) to put as many people with disabilities on the water as possible. Last year children with a variety of disabilities including autism, birth defects, blindness, hearing impaired came to Challenged America and experienced sailing for the first time. Adults with a variety of disabilities came and sailed in groups from Sharp Rehab, Braille Institute, City of San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Center. A group of disabled veterans from Sun Valley Adaptive Sports’ “Higher Ground” program came and experienced the joys and freedom of sailing for the first time. The Veterans Administration brought its Summer Sports Clinic to San Diego and we had the privilege of hosting the sailing venue. By our count, the special groups brought 177 children, veterans, and adults with disabilities to our docks in 2010. After adding our regular Thursday and Saturday Martin sailing to the mix, we probably added another 300 sailing experiences. Oh, and let’s not forget the Summer Beer Can races which averaged 6 to 8 people sailing once a week for the series of 10 weeks. And lastly, our own B’Quest II, sailed by both Dennis Conner and Lyle Lundberg throughout the year, took an estimated 21 sailors with disabilities racing on the big boat. Added together we can estimate in excess of 600 children, veterans and adults with disabilities sailing in 2010. Our goal for 2011 is to bring that number to 1,000 or more.

Secondly, it is my intent to bring the US Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing and the appropriate race committee signals to our monthly Martin 16 regattas, and to find the time to occasionally hold a clinic so that we can all continue our Rules education.

Thirdly is to involve as many of you as possible in our fundraising efforts, not just for special events but throughout the year since without fundraising we won’t have the money required to achieve these goals.

The last goal is simple: to see more of all of you here throughout 2011.

Fair Winds, Happy sailing and a very Happy 2011 to you all!

Carolyn Sherman

Program Director