The boat, a customized 40-foot racing yacht named B'Quest, has been outfitted with specially designed equipment including secured cockpit seats engineered by college students at San Diego State University (SDSU). The devices will enable every member of the B'Quest crew to compete with able-bodied crews in a field with 75 other vessels.
The 2005 race is the second Transpac for the Challenged America team. More formally known as the Transpacific Yacht Race, the Transpac is one of the oldest ocean races in the world and it is celebrating its centennial this year.
Led by engineering professors Karen May-Newman and Michael Lambert, the SDSU students are part of a long-running NSF program, the Engineering Senior Design Projects for Persons with Disabilities. The program matches collegiate engineers with individuals in their community who are in need of assistive devices that either do not exist or are prohibitively expensive.
"The primary goal of the senior design projects activity," says NSF program director Gilbert Devey, "is to aid a specific individual and give the engineering student a sense of purpose and pride, while helping engineering schools serve the community."
Since its inception in the late 1980s, the senior design projects have helped some 1,200 people of all ages by providing devices as simple as a customized toy or as complex as an apartment wired as a voice-activated home.
B'Quest is the flagship of San Diego-based Challenged America, an organization founded by disabled Vietnam veterans to provide free sailing education and recreation rehabilitation programs to people with and without disabilities from around the world. A gift from a donor who wanted the vessel to
Contact: Josh Chamot
National Science Foundation