West Marine Supports Hawaii-Bound Sailors with Disabilities

West Marine Supports Hawaii-Bound Sailors with Disabilities

West Marine has donated sailing apparel to the American Institute of Marine Studies (AIMS) Racing Team for their entry in the upcoming Gateway To Hawaii Ocean Race. "Fantastic!" said Ryan Baker, an AIMS Racing Team member with paraplegia. "One of our biggest personal expenses was getting foul weather and other offshore gear. We’re going to be a thousand miles offshore, and quality gear to keep us safe and warm is critical. West Marine has really come through for us, providing top-of-the line merchandise."

The (AIMS) Racing Team, with crew members both with and without disabilities, is currently training for the Gateway To Hawaii Ocean Race from San Diego, California, to Nawiliwili Bay, Kauai, Hawaii. This, the newest and longest of the biennial West Coast to Hawaii races, with a start of June 25, 2002 and covering more than 2,323 nautical miles, is hosted by the Silver Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island in San Diego. "We’re ready mentally and physically," Ryan said. "Having San Diego businesses and national corporations join our team in support helps us tremendously with the financial requirements of competing in this race. What was once just a dream by a few of us with significant disabilities is quickly turning into reality. A challenge we will overcome, thanks to those who believe in our abilities."

A free recreational rehabilitation and educational sailing program based in San Diego, California, the American Institute of Marine Studies, in collaboration with the Disabled Businesspersons Association’s Challenged America program, both charitable tax-exempt organizations, are dedicated to enhancing self-esteem, enriching abilities and life-experiences of individuals with disabilities and their loved ones. Funding for the program comes from boat donations, corporate sponsorship, and bequests.

For additional information on the AIMS program, volunteering, and supporting the AIMS Racing Team in the Race To Hawaii, (www.gatewaytohawaii.org) contact Josh Ross, Program Director, American Institute of Marine Studies, 2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 210, San Diego, CA 92106, (619) 523-9318, or e-mail ahoy@aimssailing.org.