San Diego, CA (May 8, 2009) — Paul Cayard has joined West Marine and Cortez Racing Association for a benefit to support Challenged America sailors with disabilities in the first West Marine/Challenged America Regatta, June 12 & 13, 2009, in San Diego.

“From being a seven-time World Champion and two-time Olympian, and five-time America’s Cup veteran, to be the first American to win the Whitbread Around The World Race, Paul Cayard’s name and presence is quickly identified and talked about in virtually every yacht club and sailing venue in the world,” said Urban Miyares, blinded Vietnam veteran, sailor, and Challenged America co-founder. “Having Paul take time out of his busy schedule to come to San Diego to help us and do the keynote at our Friday, June 12 dinner and auction is truly a special treat. And once the word gets out, I’m hoping we have enough room at the Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island to accommodate everyone who is looking to meet Paul and hear him speak.”

The inaugural West Marine/Challenged America Regatta is a fundraising event supported by West Marine and San Diego’s Cortez Racing Association (CRA) to help support the charittable Challenged America adaptive sailing program for disabled veterans, kids and adults with disabilities.

Beginning on Friday (June 12) at 4 pm, local yacht club commodores will race in the Challenged America program’s Martin 16, two-person sailboats from the Bali Hai Restaurant’s dock for bragging rights of winning the (perpetual). “Commodores Challenge” trophy — that will be proudly displayed at the West Marine store’s entrance for all to see.

Following the “Commodores Challenge” race, dinner begins at 6 pm in the newly enclosed outdoor pavillion of the Bali Hai Restaurant, with Paul Cayard’s motivational address. The silent auction (with some surprises) follows, and the evening’s festivities ends with an after-dinner social on the waterfront edge, overlooking the scenic lights of downtown San Diego.

On the next day, Saturday, June 13, the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta officially begins with an 11 am first race start of more than 50 sailboats racing on San Diego’s Big Bay. The post-race awards and festive party (with food, drink, prizes, etc.) follows (4 pm) at the Point Loma West Marine store’s parking area, on Rosecrans.

“We are expecting a capacity crowd for the dinner and auction on Friday, and more than 400 racers and volunteers on Saturday, plus countless others on the water in spectator boats and on the shoreline watching the racing. Two races are planned for the day, with many sailors with disabilities also racing,” said Miyares. “Everyone in San Diego will want to be part of this exciting and fun San Diego event on the waterfront, and meet those sailors and celebrities in attendance. We are still seeking sponsors, auction items, and donations … and registration for the Regatta and ticket sales for the Friday event are now being taken.”

The West Marine/Challenged America Regatta is a yearly event to benefit the charitable Challenged America program for kids and adults with disabilities. A therapeutic adaptive sailing program conceived in 1978 by disabled San Diego veterans, hundreds participate in this free, volunteer-driven sailing program each year.

Funds from the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta will go directly towards maintaining the program’s fleet of 12 vessels, providing free learn-to-sail and advanced sailing opportunities for those hospitalized, in therapeutic recovery or rehabilitation programs, and for kids and adults living with disabilities, along with loved ones in the community. Challenged America is a 501(c)(3) charitable program, and all contributions, vessel donations, gifts, and business support and sponsorship are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed.

For additional information to become a sponsor, donor or supporter, or to register your vessel for the regatta or purchased tickets for the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta dinner or other events, visit www.WMCAregatta.com, or contact Kelli Garner at Challenged America, (619) 523-9318, email Ahoy@ChallengedAmerica.org.