Star District Championship

The longest day of the year, Father’s Day, and a win at the Star District Championship. That was June 21 for me. Now I am driving up Highway 5 to San Francisco with my son Danny.

Last Thursday, Danny, Allie and I departed San Francisco onboard the TP 52 Flash (formerly Atalanti) and raced to Catalina Island off Long Beach. It was a windy first 20 hours running under fractional gennaker down the California coast. With the wind peaking at 30 knots and boatspeed in excess of 26 knots, it was 20 hours to Point Conception which is 260 nautical miles from SF. Apart from going fast in the pitch black dark, we had more excitement than we needed with the rudder tried to slip out of the top bearing. The rudder dropped down about 3 of the 3.5 inches that it is captive in the bearing. Had the rudder slipped completely out, I don’t think the boat would have been afloat for long. We managed to get it back up to its proper location, and go on to push the boat as normal. We learned a lot about the boat on the trip down and have a fairly long worklist for this week. The Trans-Pac starts in two weeks on July 5th for us on Flash.

So after finishing at Catalina at midnight Saturday morning (all day Friday doing the 100 miles from Conception to Catalina), we motored to Long Beach where we got into a hotel room at 0430. Up at 0830 and down to Newport Beach for the first 4 races of the Star District Championship. Luckily my crew Austin Sperry got there on Friday and rigged the boat so it was an “arrive and go” for me. Yesterday, the wind was light and it was raining. The Catalina Eddy was in effect and the conditions were squirely. Today, (after an awesome night’s sleep!) we woke up to bright So Cal sunshine and a nice westerly wind. We had three nice races where Austin and I managed to cross the finish line first in each. This gave us the win over Eric Doyle in the second, and Eric Lucidius and Mike Marzahl in third.

So there has been a lot of life taking place in the past four days with not a lot of sleep. That’s ok because you can sleep later.

Challenged America Gala

San Diego, CA

I was honored to be the guest speaker at Friday night’s first annual Challenged America Gala dinner sponsored by West Marine. Honored because the mountains I have climbed in sailing are molehillls in comparison to what these disabled sailors do!

President and co-founder of Challenged America Urban Miyares is a Vietnam Vet who lost his eyesight to agent orange. He was bowman when Challenged America fielded an entry in both the 2003 and 2005 Transpacs!! The foundation actively operates ten specially equiped Martin 16’s out of Shelter Island in San Diego. Last year they had 1,000 disabled people out sailing. Disabled people who go sailing often say that it is the most therapeutic activity they do. Challenged America also supports research to develop the mechnism that allows the boats to be sailed by disabled sailors. They have a member who can only use his toungue and lips, and he has sailed solo!!

The stories are fascinating and a true testimony to the human spirit, as well as the will to overcome. I was in awe of these people and just honored to be in their company.

Kudos to West Marine for supporting this very worthy cause and all those individuals who have done so much to build Challenged America over the past 31 years.

There is much more that they do. Check out Challenged America at www.challengedamerica.org

Keynote Speaker at West Marine/ Challenged America Regatta

Paul Cayard will be the keynote speaker at the first West Marine/ Challenged America Regatta, June 12-13, 2009 in San Diego to support sailors with disabilities in the San Diego-based Challenged America program. Cayard will be speaking on Friday, June 12 at the event’s dinner and auction, following the fun race of San Diego commodores competing in Martin 16s. To hear Paul speak, make reservations for the dinner or to enter the regatta, visit http://www.WMCAregatta.com or contact Challenged America at (619) 523-9318 or mailto:Ahoy@ChallengedAmerica.org