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14 March 2005, 03:18 pm
Sailors Chosen For Challenged America Team
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Transpacific Yacht Race 2005
San Diego, Ca, USA

Six sailors with disabilities will be crossing the Pacific in the adapted Tripp 40, B'Quest for the 43rd biennial Transpacific Yacht Race in July.
The Challenged America 2005 Transpac Team has been selected. From 44 original candidates with disabilities, living throughout the United States and Canada, Mexico, Europe and South Africa, the six Challenged America 'A' Team members are:

· Ryan BAKER - paraplegic (San Diego, CA);
· Jim HALVERSON - leg amputee and cancer survivor (San Juan Capistrano, California);
· Urban MIYARES - total blind, hearing impaired, organ transplant recipient, diabetes (San Diego, California);
· Jeff REINHOLD - quadriplegic (Seattle, Washington):
· Joshua ROSS, skipper (San Diego, California); and,
· Kevin WIXOM - leg amputee (San Diego, California).

The Challenged America Transpac 'B' Team consists of the Transpac veterans from the 2003 Team, and others with disabilities.

Back in 1991 the founders of San Diego-based Challenged America first stated that one day they (sailors with disabilities) would race across the Pacific Ocean in the Transpacific Yacht Race. After two failed attempts (due to funding shortfalls) to enter the race in 1993 and 1995, this became a reality in 2003 when two of the original Challenged America founders (Bob HETTIGER, paraplegic, and Urban MIYARES, total blind; both disabled veterans) realized their dream when with three other sailors with disabilities and one able-bodied crew member they combined to make Team Challenged America. They raced 2,225 nautical miles from Los Angeles, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, in the 2003 Transpac Yacht Race, finishing in a respectable 13-plus days.

Why the Transpac? The Transpacific Yacht Race is that one race every serious offshore racing sailor, and many others, want to do at least once, yet few actually do. And for serious and competitive sailors with disabilities, it's the Mount Everest that needs to be climbed. This demanding race contains all the elements of being challenged by the sea, and who can best meet such challenges. Transpac tests physical ability, stamina, sailing skills and seamanship. Definitely not a race for everyone, and once believed a race much too dangerous and physically demanding for a crew of sailors having significant disabilities to safely accomplish independently...until Team Challenged America achieved the feat in 2003. The Transpac is a 24 hour per day, non-stop race requiring self-sufficiency, as you can be more than 1,000 miles from the nearest emergency medical assistance or other aid. Traditionally having strong 25-35 knot tradewinds and 10 to 14 foot cresting seas, the Transpac is one of the longest, non-stop ocean races between ports in the world, other than an around-the-world race.

The top racing sailors in the world, racing on the largest and fastest of ocean-racing yachts are attracted to the Transpac. And this, the 2005 Transpac, starting on 11 July 2005, is the 100th anniversary of this ocean-racing legend. International media attention and public interest has already begun for this monumental ocean racing classic. 'Making Waves Productions' will be filming Team Challenged America for an independent film documentary on their personal challenges to accomplish such a daunting ocean race, given their extreme physical and medical limitations, along with in-depth stories of sponsors and volunteers who have supported these amazing athletes.

YachtRacing.com (As Amended By ISAF).Image, Team Challenged America:© Janet Daniels/2003 YachtRacing.com
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