500 Miles to the Abacos and Back by Yamaha PWC - 06/17/2009

Report Highlights:
  • Richard Wolpert goes 500 miles to Bahamas
  • Richard Wolpert raises money for cancer research
  • Yamaha FX HO WaveRunner goes 500 miles
  • Yamaha PWC crosses the Gulf Stream twice

On June 11th, Richard Wolpert completed a 500 mile, 8 day solo personal watercraft adventure through the Bahamas benefiting Crohn’s disease research. The trip began and ended in Florida, with two open ocean crossings of the often treacherous Gulf Stream and a stop on every major island in the Abacos, Bahamas. The ride raised more than $35,000 to battle Crohn’s Disease. He did not have a riding companion or a chase boat.

Richard Wolpert
Media executive Richard Wolpert went 500 miles in 8 days to publicize and raise money to help research cures for Crohn’s disease.

For the ride Mr. Wolpert chose the 2009 Yamaha FX HO WaveRunner.

“The demands of this trip required a certain type of personal watercraft, one that I knew I could count on and one that would make the best use of fuel,” commented Wolpert.

Mr. Wolpert has more than 20 years experience riding personal watercraft and has successfully navigated several solo long distance rides in the past. But this trip far surpassed all other in terms of challenging ocean conditions, unpredictability and duration. Plus the trip was conducted entirely by Mr. Wolpert without a guide, chase boat, or riding companions.

Richard Wolpert

Tougher than Expected

“There were times when the waves were several feet high, limiting my speed and visibility and I was a long way from a safe stopping point,” said Wolpert. “This trip required more endurance and perseverance than I had originally expected, but I was determined to finish what I started and knew I had to keep going.”

Mr. Wolpert, a former president of Disney Online and an executive advisor at RealNetworks, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age. Yet he was able to overcome its many obstacles to lead a long and successful career as a senior executive at leading digital media, entertainment and venture capital firms.

Living with Crohn’s Disease

“Battling Crohn’s disease has taught me a lot about facing challenges head on and emerging stronger as a result of hard work and dedication,” said Wolpert. “It’s a disease that affects half a million people in the US, and I know there are many people out there who feel these challenges are often too hard to overcome. I planned this trip to raise awareness of what’s possible in living with this disease, and I hope the success of my trip inspires others inflicted with the disease to become even stronger in their own lives.”

Richard Wolpert

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.

The Sponsors

Companies that sponsored Mr. Wolpert’s trip include digital media leader RealNetworks, the William Morris Agency, the largest talent agency in the world, and Accel Partners, a leading venture capital firm. All donations are being provided to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Camp Oasis, the Pediatric IBD program at Cedars Sinai Hospital, and the IBD Support Foundation.

Interested donors can still make a contribution. Find more information at www.BahamaChallenge.com

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