Hiro Iwamoto is a blind sailor who endeavors to cross the Pacific Ocean from San Diego, where he lives, to Japan, where he was born, as a message to all that blindness and other disadvantages can be overcome. His first attempt to sail from Japan to San Diego in 2013 ended when his boat struck a whale approximately 600 nautical miles off the coast of Japan and sank.
Hiro became fully blind at the age of 16. His condition is total blindness- the complete lack of any light perception. After battling depression and contemplating suicide, Hiro found meaning for himself in helping and inspiring others. Hiro never gives up and is always ready for a challenge. He is a member of the Blind Stokers tandem bicycling club of San Diego and recently completed the IRONMAN competition in Arizona. Hiro’s story
Having lost all of his equipment when the boat sank on the last challenge, Hiro is raising funds to replace lost equipment and to cover personal expenses to undertake this voyage. Any money raised above those needs will all be donated, pro rata, to the charities above in addition to the $10,000 the team is donating. Details can be found here.
Doug Smith moved to Japan from the United States in 1990 where he started a career in real estate, met his wife, Naomi, and made a new life, including having two daughters, Rachael and Hana. Feeling fortunate for the opportunities he has had, he is looking for ways to help others and support causes he cares about.
Doug feels strongly about the power of the organizations the team is supporting to make a real difference in the world. No miracle breakthrough is needed to keep people from going blind and returning sight to those blinded by cataracts, just awareness and relatively modest resources. The impact on those individuals is obvious. As importantly, by preventing and curing blindness, we free those who would otherwise be supporting the blind, usually young children, to pursue their own dreams.
“Dream Weaver” is a 40-foot cutter berthed in San Diego. The name “Dream Weaver” derives from a couple of strands of thought: First, the interconnectedness of life: each interaction/deed/action, while shared, is simultaneously a separate thread in the stories of the lives of those involved and propagates, like a wave (a weaving), through time and space so that none of us will ever fully comprehend our contributions to the tapestry of life. Second, a simple acknowledgement that in sailing, as in life, there is no straight line to the goal. Rather, we set off pursuing a dream and weave- “tack” in sailing terms – to our destination.