For many survivors of strokes, simply rallying for the day and mustering the willpower for a genuine smile can be a challenge greater than anything Superman has faced in the comics. But stroke survivors Steve Shidler and Bill Lee are calling upon their own to help change the world. The duo is seeking to break the all-time speed record from San Francisco to Hawaii with Shidler’s high-performance power catamaran Water-Wizards with an all-stroke-survivor crew.
“We’re trying to give stroke survivors a chance to get better mentally,” says Shidler. “Bill has had eight strokes.“
“Seven,” Lee calmly deflects and chuckles. “I’m a lightweight.”
“That’s right, seven strokes. I’ve had one. We want people to understand that a stroke is not the end of the program,” Shidler explains. The team may actually be the perfect group to accomplish the speed record irregardless of stroke history. Water-Wizards, which at the time of this writing is undergoing upgrades, has been a filmboat for the last three America’s Cups, multiple Volvo Ocean Races, and TP52 races. Shidler has spent his career as a sail and powerboat racer going back to his days at the University of Hawaii on a sailing scholarship and leading through credentials such as a Transpac first overall win in 1987. Lee has been sailing since his teens and is all-in.
Just about everything is coming together, but the duo needs two to four more crewmembers for the ideal team. They are looking for the can-do attitude and a lot of heart more so than experience.
“We need at least two more at the minimum. We really want to emphasize women, for they suffer strokes disproportionately,” says Shidler. When asked if they will have a chaseboat escort, Shidler scoffs. “Who’s going to be able to keep up with us? We chase
the fastest sailboats, nobody chases us.”
If you’re a stroke survivor with a lot of heart and want to take on the world, contact Stever Shidler at 415-279-9278. You can learn more about Water-Wizard at oceanfilmboat.com.