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CHALLENGED AMERICA is a San Diego based non-profit organization that offers free sailing for the disabled.  "Charting A New Course In Rehabilitation" is their motto, and they certainly do accomplish some very amazing goals. Most recently, their team finished 17th in the Transpac Race from California to Hawaii. Urban Miyares is co-founder of Challenged America, and a nationally known business owner, inventor, public speaker and educator, world-class athlete, and recognized authority in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. He has been honored by the White House, US Congress, US Small Business Administration, Governor of California, Inc. Magazine and others. He has won numerous honors including National Disabled Veteran of the Year, Disabled Athlete of the Year by the San Diego Hall of Champions Museum, and other awards.

A 2003 Transpac veteran, Urban was first introduced to sailing in his youth as part of a program in New York City’s ‘Fresh Air Fund.’ He sailed on the East Coast as a junior sailor when he was sighted, and later sailed on the West Coast as an adult blinded sailor. He is recognized in the sailing community as one of the few totally blind foredeck sailors (small and big boat) in the world.

Sailing to Hawaii, and especially doing the Transpac one day, has been a dream ever since he first read sailing magazines as a kid. ‘And now to have done it and learn of all the others with disabilities having the same dream, gives all of us motivation in Challenged America to do Transpac, and do it again so we can open doors for the next crew of sailors having disabilities.’

Tales from the Bilge

‘Tales From The Bilge’ is the title of the exciting, demanding and fascinating first-hand account of the 2005 Transpac, as told by crew members of the Challenged America Transpac Team of sailors with disabilities.

It is a motivational, inspirational and educational presentation that will make you laugh, cry, and be shocked at how these significantly disabled individuals were able to overcome obstacles and barriers presented in racing across the Pacific Ocean. ‘Tales From The Bilge’ leaves audiences spellbound, with a new and refreshing view of the many rewards in life. This special presentation is being offered to yacht clubs, organization, associations, businesses, educational institutions and government agencies.

Surprising everyone by being the 17th boat to finish in a fleet of 75 Transpac competitors, and a fourth place in their division, few know the entire story of what really happened aboard the Challenged America 40-foot sailboat, B'Quest. ‘Tales From The Bilge’ is the behind-the-scene true story about preparation for the challenge of racing 2,225 nautical miles from Los Angeles to Hawaii, against more than 500 non-disabled sailors (many being Transpac veterans, professional and seasoned offshore sailors) as the Challenged America crew faced and overcame personal hardship, combated physical and medical demands, and had to face insurmountable obstacles -- in addition to all the challenges of the sea that other racers experienced -- to compete in this most physically demanding and competitive International yacht race.

How and Why Do They Do It?

‘Every person who has ever sailed in the Transpac has a story to tell,’ said Joshua Ross, Challenged America program director. ‘But for the crew of Challenged America, their story is unique, shocking, humorous, and inspirational as they now answer the questions everyone wants to know. 'How do you do foredeck on a 40-foot ocean-racing sailboat when you're total blind?' 'How can a sailor with only one arm and a hearing impairment handle all the lines for the sails, and also hear the commands from the skipper, while gibing in 25 knots of wind, as the boat is racing at over 16-knots down a 20-foot Pacific roller?' 'What can a person with a spinal cord injury, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, do on a racing sailboat?' 'What type of medications do you have and what is your backup plan if something goes wrong?' 'Was your boat modified or adapted?'‘

‘Tales From The Bilge’ will move you and others, and force you to question your own personal challenges. You'll find the Challenged America crew member's story filled with useful information on the potential and the many resources and opportunities available for kids, adults and seniors with disabilities. You'll be fascinated with the innovative devices, technology and techniques they use to allow them to sail competitively and safely. These amazing individuals will explain how, given insurmountable odds, they are able to get motivated, make a commitment and dedicate themselves to compete in one of the most demanding and longest of offshore racing events in the world, against some of the fastest ocean-racing yachts crewed by more than 500 seasoned sailors without disabilities. After hearing ‘Tales From The Bilge,’ you'll leave with important tips about overcoming barriers and obstacles faced in everyday life, and discover how to come out a ‘winner.’ Valuable lessons you can readily apply to your professional career, management and communication skills, self-improvement goals, relationships, health, success and happiness. ’Tales From The Bilge’ is much more than a sea story. It's a story about uncovering the true gifts of life, and making dreams become a reality.

‘Live long enough and you too will get a disability!’, said Ross. ’We're finding more and more people, including sailors who have become disabled later in their years, now participating in Challenged America as a rewarding life experience, 'Tales From The Bilge' is for everyone, whether or not you have a disability or are even a sailor. It's a story everyone needs to hear. One that will definitely make changes in your outlook and view of life.’

Offered to yacht and community clubs, organizations and associations, professional groups, educational institutions, government agencies, businesses and corporations nationwide, ’Tales From The Bilge’ is a 25- to 45-minute presentation or keynote address, or a 2-hour workshop about how-to beat the odds, overcome challenges, and make dreams a reality. An inspirational, fast-moving and uplifting presentation for all ages and groups, ‘Tales From The Bilge’ demonstrates the value of teamwork and what it takes to overcome the odds and meet the demands and challenges of the open sea...and life. The ideal inspirational and motivational message for membership groups, management, sales staff, team building, and for conferences and conventions.

Challenged America is a charitable, volunteer-based rehabilitation program of the Disabled Businesspersons Association. Founded in the late 1970s by disabled veterans, Challenged America offers free adaptive sailing program for kids, adults and seniors with disabilities year-round from their location on Shelter Island, San Diego, California. Visit for additional information.

To schedule a ’Tales From The Bilge’ presentation by a Challenged America Transpac Team member at your yacht club, organization, association or business, call Challenged America at (619) 523-9318 or email Tax-deductible donations/honorarium to cover travel costs and support the Challenged America program are requested.

by Challenged America

About Urban Miyares:

Born in New York City, Urban Miyares and his wife of 37 years, JoAnn, and their 35-year-old son Urban Paul, have lived in New York, New Jersey and Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to San Diego, California in 1977.

Crew Position: Foredeck, sewer, trimmer, galley
Residence: Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego, California
Marital Status: Married
Employment: President, Disabled Businesspersons Association
Military Service: Disabled Vietnam Veteran
Disability: Blind, hearing impaired, diabetes, stroke survivor, kidney transplant, and other military-related medical conditions
"America's Cup Harbor"
2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 206
San Diego, California 92106
Sailing Office:  (619) 523-9318
Fax:  (619) 523-0368
Email:  Web:

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