Challenged Sailors to race in Dash to Chula Vista

CHULA VISTA — A weekend of sailing is on the horizon for Challenged Sailors San Diego as Chula Vista Yacht Club hosts the fourth annual Dash to Chula Vista.

Scheduled for April 11 and 12, the dash takes racers on an 8 nautical mile course from the east end of Harbor Island to Chula Vista and back.

Challenged Sailors San Diego is driven by the mission to provide therapeutic and recreational adaptive sailing opportunities for people with disabilities to enhance their dignity, well being, and independence.

Racers will sail on the organization’s fleet of eight Martin 16 sailboats specifically designed for adaptive sailing. The vessels have been outfitted with special Power Assist units to enable both steering and trimming of the sails via a small electric joystick or a Sip and Puff mouthpiece, enabling participants with limited or no arm and upper body strength or mobility to sail the boat and be in full control — with an experienced companion sailor aboard for safety and any needed assistance.

“Although physically struggling with pain, I know that the awesome Challenged Sailors of San Diego volunteers will enable me to enjoy a little friendly competition on the water,” said Amelia Opean, a sailor with Challenged Sailors San Diego. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to break free of my daily grind to play in the wind.”

Once at the club, participants will enjoy a barbecue. The boats will then race back to Harbor Island on Sunday, April 12 and enjoy a party and awards ceremony at Sunroad Resort Marina.

A raffle and silent auction will be held at the after-race party to help raise funds for the Challenged Sailors San Diego program.

“These are important events because of the camaraderie they foster within the group but also to get the word out to the community about this program and what it offers,” said Colin Smith, a sailor with Challenged Sailors San Diego. “Learning from each other and improving our skills allows us to become better sailors and to apply those abilities to our day to day lives … it’s about fun friendship and the volunteers who make it all possible.”

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