An organization founded by disabled veterans, Challenged America is San Diego’s answer for people from all walks of life with disabilities of all kinds. Challenged America’s goal since 1978 has been to inject excitement and the love for life by giving the sightless, those with lost or non-functioning legs and arms, and many others the chance to take control of a sailboat and feel the thrill and independence of making their own way on the water. The challenges and camaraderie that comes from working as a crew member aboard one of Challenged America’s fleet of specially adapted sailboats helps make life fresh and worth living.
The Challenged America staff of primarily volunteer instructors is there to provide the support and coaching necessary to create a feeling of independence and competence in the sport of sailing. Headquartered on Shelter Island overlooking San Diego’s harbor, Challenged America owns and maintains a fleet of sailboats that meets the needs and skill levels of those it’s there to serve, by providing free instructions and classes aboard sailboats such as:
- The “Martin 16” fleet, stable and safe yet swift sailboats specifically designed with disabled sailors in mind and steered by a “Joy Stick” that delivers the “feel” of the helm in a straight foreword manner for sailors with a range of challenges. The Martins seat two giving room for both sailor and instructor.
- A Santana 525 in which sailors can take the next step into team sailing. The Capri sails generally with a 3 to 4 person crew. Whether sailing for a day, or racing in local regattas, the Santana 525 is the perfect boat for Challenged America participants and their family or friends.
- Then there was the queen of Challenged America’s fleet, B’QUEST II, a 43′ Nelson Marek racing sloop, donated to the fleet and used in the program for more than two years. B’QUEST II has been raced by disabled sailors of every description, both in San Diego’s harbor and in longer distance races in the Pacific Ocean. It’s not unusual to find a crew of a dozen or more working together to cross the finish line in many of the local races, experiencing a sense of accomplishment and joy that comes directly from the warmth and generosity of Challenged America’s donors. B’Quest is now owned by Dennis Connor and races under the name Menace XXIV and won the 2011 Cabrillo series.
Funds to maintain such boats are raised with events like the CHALLENGED AMERICA REGATTA. It is with your support that Challenged America can continue to provide activities such as the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic (SSC).
The Challenged America program is supported by tax-deductible donations from the general public, businesses, grants and public-speaking honorariums. All vessels used in its programs are donated. Challenged America is a charitable 501 (c) (3) operation.
2240 Shelter Island Dr. #108
San Diego, CA 92106
Sailing Office: (619) 523-9318