There seems to always be controversy when it comes to people with disabilities and sailing safety. The “What happens if …?” and “How can they do it?” doubters abound, and our answer is always: “Prepare, Prevent and Practice, Practice, Practice!”, according to Challenged America co-founder and the charity’s volunteer president Urban Miyares, a sailor with more than five-decades of sailing experience.
Sailors at the San Diego-based Challenged America Program come from around the nation and the world; of all ages, they have both hidden and obvious medical conditions. Sailing on San Diego’s Big Bay, as well as offshore, , these sailors with disabilities, along with their loved ones, as well as professional sailing instructors, therapists and rehabilitation specialists, participate in the 36-year-old, year-round, no-cost, volunteer-driven, therapeutic adaptive sailing program.
The barque “Star of India” (the oldest active sailing ship in the world) is celebrating her 150th birthday this year and was moored out in San Diego Bay for a special gala dinner on Saturday. Challenged America’s Martin 16s got to view it up close from all sides on a beautiful fall day.
Challenged America’s fleet of Martin 16s has design features that make sailing accessible to all sailors with mobility impairments. Stability, adjustable seating and specialized control systems make it user friendly for sailors with any level of physical ability.
We offer optional automated systems for steering, sail sheeting and bilge pumping. By incorporating the needs of high quadriplegic sailing, our Martin 16 are the most accessible One-Designs on the market, providing high quads with ‘sip and puff’ options, enabling them to race competitively or just spend the day sailing on the bay.
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 . 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