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Blind sailor teams up with OCC member to cross the Pacific

by Daria Blackwell 6 Jan 06:02 UTC
Hiro Iwamoto © Daria Blackwell

OCC Associate Member and Skipper Doug Smith and his good friend Hiro Iwamoto are scheduled to sail across the Pacific non-stop from San Diego to Fukushima, Japan with a departure date scheduled for February 24th in Dream Weaver, a 41 foot Island Packet. The interesting component here is that Doug is the novice sailor and Hiro is the experienced skipper, but one who happens to be completely blind. This will be Doug's qualifying ocean voyage for Full Membership in the Ocean Cruising Club. This is not Hiro's first attempt.

Back in 2013, he and another crewmate sailed out of Japan-bound for San Diego, California. Unfortunately, six days into the voyage their 6-ton yacht was taking on water in really rough seas due to unscheduled tussle with a blue whale and an unexpected typhoon 700 nautical miles from land! After radioing in a distress call, the two crewmen were forced to abandon ship into their covered rubber raft where they endured 15 foot waves and 30 knot winds. Sea conditions were so fierce amphibious aircraft were unable to rescue them for eleven hours. Despite this experience, Hiro remains determined to inspire others to overcome adversity and work to achieve their dreams.

Doug, who resided in Japan where he first met Hiro, feels strongly about the power of the organizations the team is supporting to make a real difference in the world. Not surprisingly, the charities they support involve helping those with curable blindness. For more details on how you can contribute, visit their website voyageofinspiration.com.

And on Saturday, January 19th from 4-5 p.m. the Voyage of Inspiration team will be meeting supporters and fellow sailors to offer details about their voyage followed by appetizers and drinks at the Boathouse Restaurant next to the marina.

"But, I will challenge again with my friend, Doug," says Hiro Iwamoto. "We undertake this voyage not only for personal accomplishment, but to send a message that anything is possible when people come together. In this case, a blind (but experienced) sailor and a novice (but sighted) sailor, will each compensate for the other's weaknesses to complete a non¬stop trip across the Pacific that is expected to take 60 days. This Voyage of Inspiration is about taking action and making a difference, the same theme connecting the causes we wish to support including preventable and curable blindness."

Dream Weaver Yacht Showcase Time January 19, 2019 4:00~5:00PM Location Harbour Island West Marina, slip 210, 2040 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 Tel: 619-291-6440 - www.harborislandwest.com

Bon Voyage Party Time January 19, 2019 5:00~8:00PM Location Boathouse Restaurant 2040 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, California 92101 - www.boathouserestaurant.com

We need to know how many people are attending, so please send your RSVP to . Thank you for your cooperation. Details here.

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