San Diego, CA (Nov. 7, 2007) — Challenged America, the San Diego-based sailing program for kids and adults with disabilities, unveiled its most recent vessel donation at the start of the first Hot Rum Series race, Nov. 5, 2007) in San Diego. This 1990’s race-winning sailboat, a recently restored Kiwi 35 (re-)named “Lift Off,” was donated by Alan Cohen of Salt Lake City, Utah, and was sailed by a crew of nine, to include skipper Keith Ericson (volunteer) and Challenged America co-founder and blinded sailor Urban Miyares.
“What a fantastic and challenging donation. I’m not sure yet if ‘Lift Off’ received the baptism bathing or we, the crew did on this, our first race,,” Miyares said. “this 35-foot winged racing sailboat, having a beam of 14 feet with the wings down, is like a tennis court at the dock, but on the water it sails like an oversized 49er … all 2,850 pounds of her. We sure got a lesson in the winds of 8 to 14 knots in the race, and learned quite a bit. Definitely a next step-up, a real physical and sailing challenge for sailors with disabilities, mostly those who are ready to test the limits of their disability and sailing abilities. Not a boat for everyone, disabled or able-bodied.”
Challenged America, founded in 1978 by disabled veterans, was created to further the life experiences of individuals with disabilities and enhance rehabilitation through sailing and boating activities. A charitable, 501(c)(3) program of the all-volunteer Disabled Businesspersons Association, the program provides learn-to-sail and advanced sailing opportunities for kids and adults seeking to further their rehabilitation, work activities, and to participate in the mainstream. Funding for this year-round program comes from charitable gifts, corporate sponsorship, donations of quality vessels (both sail and power) and vehicles,and the generous contributions by the general public.
In recent years the Challenged America program has been forced to reef its sails with a rising overhead costs to serve the high demand for its services and inability to find accessible docks in San Diego bay. But with the help of San Diego sponsors, such as Fiddler’s Green restaurant, Koehler Kraft, Sunroad Marina, Bobby and Dan at Cays Show Dock Sales, and others, the Challenged America program is building its board and program structure in making ready to hoist the program’s sails again to meet the growing demand of sailors with disabilities.
For additional information on Challenged America, its donation program (providing. as a “user” charity, a full market value tax-deduction on most vessels and vehicles donated), and how you or your company can help as a board member, supporter, sponsor or contributor, call or email Urban Miyares, Challenged America, at (619) 594-8805, email Port@ChallengedAmerica.org, or visit www.ChallengedAmerica.org.